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London’s biggest and best new restaurant openings of 2020 include Kol by Santiago Lastra, which serves Mexican dishes like this cured lamb leg tostada with fermented gooseberries and guajillo chilli

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The Biggest London Restaurant Openings to Watch in 2020

A big-ticket Mexican restaurant in Marylebone, second albums for two of the most respected restaurants in the city, and more wine bars

Laura L.P./HdG Photography/Kol Restaurant

Restaurants announce new restaurants all the time, but London’s early starters are already making serious moves for 2020. With a clutch of wine bar / bakeries from redoubtable operators, some serious debuts, and what might be difficult second albums for firmly established operators, the first year of the new decade is already looking like a bumper crop. Given it’s the restaurant business, many of these dates might slide, but in order of when they are expected to open, here is Eater London’s edit of the most anticipated openings of 2020.


A new wine bar decade

Oklava Bakery and Wine

Address: 64 Grafton Way, Bloomsbury W1T 5DN
Key people: Selin Kiazim, Laura Christie
What to expect: Kiazim and Christie’s closure of Kyseri came first as a shock, and then as excitement, with news of a tantalising wine bar and Turkish bakery project that does something so many London chefs fail to do: engage with the city’s most firmly established diaspora communities and cuisines in a way that both evolves and respects heritage — Eater contributor Jonathan Nunn’s dining grievance of 2019. This wine bar will also be a bakery, cafe, and breakfast destination, spinning two of last year’s key trends into a new yarn.
Opened: 21 January

Oklava’s Selin Kiazim with her partner Laura Christie will open a new Turkish bakery in Fitzrovia
Oklava’s Selin Kiazim with her partner Laura Christie will open a new Turkish bakery in Fitzrovia
Oklava Bakery [Official Photo]

Violet Corner (working title)

Address: 121-123 Mare Street, London Fields E8 3RH
Key people: Violet’s Clare Ptak
What to expect: Cakes and pastries piled high on the counter, quiches, toasties and salads for lunch, and aperitivo hour from 5 p.m onwards, featuring a largely natural wine list and some god-tier fried snacks. There will be no dinner because, Ptak says, “I didn’t want to open a restaurant.” She talks about creating a place, the like of which can be found all over Paris, that she would want to go to herself — a place that could even more firmly establish this corner of London Fields as an unmissable dining micro-neighbourhood.
Projected opening: Spring

Violet Cakes
violetcakeslondon/Instagram

Little Kudu

Address: 117 Queen’s Road, Peckham SE15 2EZ
Key people: Amy Corbin, Patrick Williams
What to expect: Kudu opened in January 2018 and really came into its stride last year, earning rave reviews for its signature bread, steak and enoki mushrooms, and genuine hospitality. Now owners Amy Corbin and Patrick Williams are carving out their own Peckham group — this tapas-style wine bar next door, and a cocktail bar at Queen’s Road station. Commendably affordable and using South African cooking traditions as a bass line from which to improvise, their approach is set to bring something fresh to London’s wine bar scene.
Projected opening: March

Kudu restaurant in Peckham, famous for its bread, will open Little Kudu and Smokey Kudu restaurant and cocktail bar
Kudu restaurant in Peckham, famous for its bread, will open Little Kudu and Smokey Kudu restaurant and cocktail bar
Kudu [Official Photo]

Permanent London debuts

Kol

Address: 9 Seymour Street, Marylebone W1H 5BT
Key people: Santiago Lastra, formerly Noma Mexico and Mugaritz
What to expect: Kol was on this list for 2019, which is a testament to both the vicissitudes of the London restaurant industry and the depth of Santiago Lastra’s debut project. London restaurant people love to complain about London’s dearth of excellent Mexican restaurants, and Lastra is set to put this to bed from a high-end perspective. An Acton test kitchen and supper clubs in Borough Market have shown his hand: roasted skate wing with achiote, Yucatán xnipec, and fresh tortillas; oxtail and rose hip mole; chocolate and mezcal tamales with corn husk ice cream and sea buckthorn.
Projected opening: March

Santiago Lastra is opening his first modern Mexican London restaurant in Marylebone next year
Santiago Lastra is opening his first modern Mexican London restaurant in Marylebone next year
lomejordelagastronomia/Instagram

Chuku’s

Address: 274 High Road, Tottenham N15 4RR
Key people: Ifeyinwa and Emeka Frederick
What to expect: The sibling duo behind one of 2019’s most popular roving residencies finally have a restaurant to call their own, positioning their approach to Nigerian cuisine and culture between the rooted West African diaspora’s community restaurants and the city’s dining landscape at large. “Tapas” in spirit, not in cultural crosshatching, the scope of the duo’s ambition and playful respect for the spectrum of Nigerian food in London makes this one of the most compelling openings out there.
Opened: 13 February

Chuku’s honey suya prawns
Chuku’s [Official Photo]

Second albums and thriving groups

Padella

Address: 1 Phipp Street, Shoreditch EC2A 4PS
Key people: Chef Tim Siadatan and front-of-house Jordan Frieda
What to expect: On the surface, a nailed-on success. The fresh pasta counter that walked so about 100 other restaurants could run, Padella’s Borough Market hub is permanently thronged, pretty affordable, and serves pasta notches above “but I could do it at home!”; Shoreditch is arguably London’s new dining nexus and the excellent Burro e Salvia on Redchurch Street could do with some competition. And yet: Padella’s brand and renown is so anchored to Borough Market that a new opening presents challenges — something close to identikit would likely be full, but is that creatively fulfilling? Offering a new approach would likely be compelling, but is that too far from the identity that makes the original all that it is? Questions to answer, but expect it to be buzzing from day one.
Opened: 13 February

Tomato and basil pasta at Padella, in London Bridge. The restaurant run by Tim Siadatan will open on Phipp Street in Shoreditch
Tomato and basil pasta at Padella, in London Bridge. The restaurant run by Tim Siadatan will open on Phipp Street in Shoreditch
Ola Smit/EaterLondon

Hoppers / Bao King’s Cross

Address: Pancras Square, King’s Cross N1C 4AG
Key people: JKS Restaurants
What to expect: JKS Restaurants’ portfolio is the envy of any restaurateur, but its latest move might be its biggest flex yet: stacking two of its casual-but-cool winners on top of each other at a prime King’s Cross location. There’s no real through line between Hoppers and Bao, so the amplitude of each restaurant’s particular strengths will be what makes or breaks this, but the scale of the ambition and sheer chutzpah of saying “no, we will open two restaurants on top of each other” makes this one to look out for.
Projected opening: Hoppers opened on 11 February; Bao later in 2020

Bao at Bao and hoppers at Hoppers
Bao at Bao and hoppers at Hoppers
Bao: Tomas Jivanda/Eater London; Hoppers: [Official Photo]; Composite: Eater London

Noble Rot Soho

Address: 2 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 4NB
Key people: Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew of Noble Rot
What to expect: Speaking of flexes: what if one of London’s essentially, unilaterally adored wine-bar restaurants, known for its tightrope walk between hedonism and elegance, decided to take over one of Soho’s most iconic buildings and revive it in the same spirit? There is perhaps no other restaurant in the city that has it like the Bloomsbury original, but early indicators are that Keeling, Andrew, and head chef Paul Weaver — supported by Michelin-starred The Sportsman’s Stephen Harris — will deliver something utterly idiosyncratic.
Projected opening: Spring

Guinea fowl at Noble Rot, one of London’s best fireplace restaurants
Guinea fowl at Noble Rot, one of London’s best restaurants
@noblerotbar/Instagram

Big Mamma Covent Garden

Address: 29-30 Maiden Lane; 15 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden WC2E 7JS
Key people: Victor Lugger, Tigrane Seydoux
What to expect: The most extra of London’s most extra restaurants. Gloria, in Shoreditch, and Circolo Popolare, in Fitzrovia, took the city’s dining scene by a very particular kind of storm last year, drawing queues and swooning reviews from several of the city’s critics. Somewhere between food that ranges between “crap” — in one of those critic’s words — and decent, a deep commitment to abbondanza, and a kitschy escapism in design, Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux found something of a magic bullet. Will the third time have as much charm?
Projected opening: TBD, planning permission pending

Big Mamma’s Italian pizza will land in Fitzrovia, London via Paris
Big Mamma’s Italian pizza will land in Fitzrovia, London via Paris
Big Mamma/Behance

Manzi’s

Location: 1 — 8 Bateman’s Buildings; 55 Greek Street, Soho W1D 3EN
Key people: Jeremy King, Chris Corbin
What to expect: The restaurateurs with the magic touch are heading to Soho with a palatial seafood restaurant, minus the palace prices and starch. Named for the Leicester Square restaurant that closed in 2012, it will seat over 250, and, according to King, bring the group’s sense of affordable luxury to bear on fish; oysters; caviar? Expect care, warm hospitality, and a bustling effortlessness, all the hallmarks of a restaurant group that is London to its core.
Projected opening: “Well into 2020,” according to Jeremy King.

Wolseley Restaurant owners Corbin and King restaurant group will open a huge London seafood restaurant in Soho
A seafood platter at Corbin and King’s The Wolseley — expect to find similar at Manzi’s
The Wolseley [Official Photo]

A resurrection

Gymkhana

Location: 42 Albemarle Street, Mayfair W1S 4JH
Key people: JKS Restaurants
What to expect: When a fire ripped through the Mayfair restaurant in summer 2019, London lost one of its most illustrious and era-defining dining rooms. This February, Gymkhana returns, with the same menu of outstanding biryanis, grilled meats, and game, and a new, “upgraded” colour palette, a revitalised bar area, and, most crucially, all of its staff.
Opened: 18 February

One of London’s best restaurant openings for 2020 is Gymkhana in Mayfair
Muntjac biryani at Gymkhana
Gymkhana [Official Photo]

Kiln

58 Brewer Street, , England W1F 9TL Visit Website

BAO

590 Valencia Street, , CA 94110 (415) 658-7453 Visit Website

Kudu

119 Queen's Road, , England SE15 2EZ 020 3950 0226 Visit Website

Violet

47 Wilton Way, , England E8 3ED 020 7275 8360 Visit Website

Hoppers

77 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 1QE Visit Website

Kyseri

64 Grafton Way, , England W1T 5DN 020 7383 3717 Visit Website

Noble Rot

51 Lamb’s Conduit St, London, Greater London WC1N 3NB +44 20 7242 8963 Visit Website

Oklava

74 Luke St, , England EC2A 4PY 020 7729 3032 Visit Website

Padella

6 Southwark Street, , England SE1 1TQ Visit Website

Bright

1 Westgate Street, , England E8 3RL 020 3095 9407 Visit Website

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