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Two tattooed arms — one with a black smart watch — of a baker remove lardy buns from a baking tray at  Flor’s new bakery in Bermondsey, south London
Lardy buns at Flor’s new bakery in Bermondsey, south London
Michaël Protin

The Hottest New Restaurants in London, January 2022

Where to eat in the capital right now

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Lardy buns at Flor’s new bakery in Bermondsey, south London
| Michaël Protin

More often than not, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? Restaurant obsessives want to know what's new, what's hot, which favourite chef just launched their follow-up effort: the “it” places of the moment. Despite the resumption of indoor dining being months old, this moment remains quite different to when those questions were previously asked, and places that are opening for the first time are still doing so in an unstable present, facing an unknown future — both as a result of the pandemic but also Brexit. Still, there’s serious heat to match the chill in the air, as the city heads into winter. Here’s where’s hot in London this January.

Added January 2022: Flor Bakery, Roketsu, Willy’s Pies

Added December 2021: Manteca Shoreditch, Popeyes, Hawker’s Kitchen, Sarap

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Nusr-Et Steakhouse London

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THE PARK TOWER KNIGHTSBRIDGE HOTEL, 101
London SW1X 7EZ, UK

The truth about Salt Bae is simple: restaurant critics, newspapers, and indeed this writer have less to say about the phenomenon worth listening to than the fact that his restaurants are always full, always ridiculous, and always making an absolute wad of cash. London is no exception, the gold-covered steaks are flying out, and the best thing of all is that it’s possible to just watch it happen on Instagram if all of this leads to existential dread.

Salt Bae doing his signature salt-dashing move over a sliced steak
Salt Bae doing his signature salt-dashing move over a sliced steak
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater

2. Roketsu Restaurant

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12 New Quebec St
London W1H 7RF, UK

This new Marylebone kaiseki (Japanese multi-course, tasting menu) restaurant

comes from Daisuke Hayashi, a chef who brings to London the experience of two decades’ training at one of the world’s foremost kaiseki restaurants, Kikunoi Honten, in Kyoto. The small, serene restaurant, which was designed in Japan, serves just one menu — at dinner — priced at £190 per person. Currently one of the hottest tickets in town.

A dish from Roketsu’s kaiseki residency at Brown’s Hotel Mayfair Roketsu/Brown’s Hotel

3. Sarap Bistro

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10 Heddon St
London W1B 4BX, UK

Chef Budgie Montoya is the reigning champion of lechon in London. This, the chef’s second restaurant-proper, having made his name on the pop-up and supperclub circuit, arrives on the borderlands between Mayfair and Soho. It is, naturally, organised around lechon, the crisp-skinned, meltingly tender Filipino pork dish for which Montoya has become so well known. Here served whole alongside truffled adobo pork rice, with which the young pig has been stuffed. While the chef’s other restaurant in Brixton is a little more informal, the “bistro” wants to further support Montoya’s cooking philosophy. That is: having a “Filipino soul and a London heart.”

Filipino lechon at Sarap restaurant in Brixton Village Lateef Photography/Sarape

4. Rita's

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49 Lexington St, Carnaby
London W1F 9AP, UK

Missy Flynn and Gabe Pryce’s latest iteration of Rita’s sees them put down roots in Soho. The listed building on Lexington Street’s limitations have been turned to advantages, with an unfussed-with design and an opportunity to more fully develop Pryce’s version of Americana cooking and Flynn’s approach to exactingly fun drinks. This is a place for lunch and dinner, not for bits and bobs on small plates: a barbecue beef tartare with herbs; quail and grits; sharing steaks, potatoes, and greens. It’s a Proper Restaurant, with the vibe of cool dinner party.

The exterior of Soho restaurant Rita’s, with two counters in the windows, either side of a central black door. People sit at the windows eating.
Outside Rita’s Soho on Lexington Street.
Ben McMahon

5. Vasco & Piero's Pavilion Italian Restaurant

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11 D'Arblay St
London W1F 8DT, UK
020 7437 8774

There are probably few restaurants in London less concerned with the business of hype and the attention economy than Vasco and Piero’s, the Umbrian institution best known for quality fresh pasta in Soho before quality fresh pasta in Soho became the thing every landlord wanted. But come 2020, attention came: when the restaurant, resident on Greek Street for 50 years, was relieved of its premises over a rent dispute. After the turmoil, it’s now back on D’Arblay Street doing what it always did: white tablecloths, good wine, good pasta, no faff.

Fresh pasta with broad beans and peas on a white plate.
Fresh pasta with broad beans and peas.
Vasco & Piero’s/Instagram

6. Hawker's Kitchen

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64 Caledonian Rd
London N1 9DP, UK

Roti King’s roti king may no longer be central London’s standard bearer for roti prata (canai). The best version of the rich, flaky bread used to mop up good dhal or even better sour fish curries might now be found in this newish Malaysian spot by King’s Cross on Caledonian road. Word is that it’s truly elite when fresh, merely very good when reheated. Elsewhere there are outstanding plates of kway toew goreng (char kway teow), flat noodles which hold onto an umami-heavy, perfectly balanced seasoning, with bamboo shoots, chilli, crispy onions, and scallions; protein is more or less irrelevant. Make sure to order a side pot of sambal and be prepared to compete with the c.millions of delivery orders flying in and out throughout a sit-down meal. This restaurant is definitely hot on delivery.

7. Balady

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39-41 Leather Ln
London EC1N 7UY, UK

Walking into one of the busiest street food markets in London with three of its most popular offerings — falafel; wraps; and falafel in wraps — is a flex most people would never dare. But Balady’s Sabbo brothers are not most people, and their arrival on Leather Lane from Temple Fortune has drawn queues for its impeccable sabich, hummus, and, yes, falafel from day one. It’s a kind of coming home for Oz Sabbo, who worked on the street before opening in Temple Fortune, and his infectious hospitality suits the buzz to a tee.

Pita is filled at Balady in north London Michaël Protin

8. Sessions Arts Club

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24 Clerkenwell Green Old Sessions House
London EC1R 0NA, UK

London’s best new dining room sits somewhere between an elegantly distressed Tuscan villa / decrepit British stately home / and fancy art collector London townhouse. It is stunning. On the plate, chef Florence Knight’s food is as clever as it is delicious; the menu a masterclass in variety and composition. The best thing about a dish of fried potato and eel must be kept as a surprise; a squid and tomato calamarata is playful and brilliant; a lonesome crab croquette is a small flavour bomb and textural triumph. Go.

Inside chef Florence Knight’s spectacular new Clerkenwell restaurant, Sessions Arts Club Michaël Protin

9. Trattoria Brutto

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35-37 Greenhill Rents
London EC1M 6BN, UK

An adult, winking Florentine trattoria is Russell Norman’s next contribution to the London restaurant world. There’s a risotto of the day to come shortly, and a bar to be propped up from 11 a.m.; bistecca alla Fiorentina, tonnato with caperberries, and pasta alla vodka are all present and correct. But maybe the smartest thing about this nostalgia-edged restaurant in Farringdon is that it has the know-how and the character to evade any thought of pastiche.

A diner sits over a plate of pasta, holding a fork, with salad to its left. Everything is on white plates, with white tablecloths, and a half-drunk glass of red wine sits in the centre. Michaêl Protin

10. manteca

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49-51 Curtain Rd
London EC2A 3PT, UK

Chef Chris Leach’s Manteca — the chef’s “Britalian” pasta and home-cured meats restaurant he co-owns with Smokestak’s David Carter — has done a tour of London since first arriving on the scene in Heddon Street in 2019. Blushing, coarse home-made mortadella and pasta dishes equal parts inventive, delicious, and aesthetically pleasing (think tortellini in brodo, London 2020) later enjoyed great success on Great Marlborough Street in Soho. It now resides on Shoreditch’s Curtain Road, and based on the early buzz and reception, feels like it could be its home for many years.

Bowls of fresh pasta at Manteca Soho Manteca [Official Photo]

11. Planque

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322-324 Acton Mews
London E8 4EA, UK

Though Haggerston’s Planque is a wine club, its restaurant — and arched, atmospheric dining room — is open to the public. In the kitchen is Seb Myers, whose elegantly fun approach to cooking loosely modern French food is a perfect foil for a place that is devoted to high quality wines and their cellaring but is also in an east London railway arch. When on the hobs at venerable wine bar P. Franco, Myers reconnected it to the Parisian caves à manger that it long touted as inspiration, and brings that sensibility to Planque with the likes of red mullet tartine; grilled leeks vinaigrette with Tunworth cheese; a duck offal choux farcis; and mackerel with coco beans and greens, as well as a stunning caramel tart with blue cheese.

A selection of wines and French dishes in white dinnerware at Planque, which has opened in Haggerston Anton Rodriguez

12. Flor Bakery Spa Terminus

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Voyager Estate South 6, Spa Rd
London SE16 4RP, UK

At the end of 2021 Flor’s original premises lost its head chef and baker Pam Yung, who has moved back to America. In the same month, it began its slow expansion, with the opening of a bakery unit in Spa Terminus, Bermondsey — home to the wholesale premises of some of London’s most celebrated food brands, such as Neal’s Yard, St. John, Monmouth, and Natoora. Flor Bakery will be offering its signature breads, Viennoiserie, lardy buns, brown butter cakes, and more for collection and sit-in with plans to expand the offering in the coming months.

Blackcurrant danishes and pains aux chocolat at Flor, one of London’s best bakeries Flor/Instagram

13. Cafe Cecilia

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32 Andrews Rd
London E8 4RL, UK

Max Rocha’s deceptively simple, unfussy cooking belongs alongside that of the Anna Tobias, 40 Maltby Street, Rochelle Canteen, the River Cafe, and Quo Vadis, with a Continental accent. Modern modern British? Fried potato with cod’s roe and radishes, rare grilled onglet with peppercorn sauce and chips, or, at the weekend a whole roast chicken with chips and salad to share. There will be seasonal salads and tarts and wee snacks like fritters containing an anchovy and a single sage leaf. There are hints of Scandinavia in its look-and-feel, occupying as it does a new build location on the edge of the Regent’s Canal close to the trendy Broadway Market. Cafe Cecilia is cool, it is breezy, and it happens to also be very friendly.

14. Willy’s Pies, London Fields

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Westgate St
London E8 3RL, UK

Outstanding savoury pies from lockdown success story and nostalgic pie master Will Lewis (formerly St. John, Rochelle Canteen, and BRAT.) Lewis is occupying an arch for takeaway in London Fields and serving at lunchtimes from Wednesday to Sunday for now. Highlights include the rabbit, bacon, and cider; simple steak; and sausage rolls. Pies can be ordered with mash and gravy. But the greatest thing about Willy’s pies is the truly brilliant buttery pastry.

15. Popeyes

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Westfield stratford city, Montfichet Rd
London E15 1AZ, UK

A hyped London fast food restaurant opening which sits alongside Jollibee and Shake Shack — in the 12 days since this Louisianan fried chicken and sandwich concession opened in Westfield Stratford, the queues have seldom down. This is fast food to compete with the best in the city: Proper, shatteringly crisp, rich edging on the poultry’s exterior, while the meat is strikingly tender and juicy; it is all judiciously seasoned. Take or leave the sides and expect teething problems while the operations are ironed out. But do order a sundae.

The service counter at Popeyes’ new London restaurant Michaël Protin

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1. Nusr-Et Steakhouse London

THE PARK TOWER KNIGHTSBRIDGE HOTEL, 101, London SW1X 7EZ, UK
Salt Bae doing his signature salt-dashing move over a sliced steak
Salt Bae doing his signature salt-dashing move over a sliced steak
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater

The truth about Salt Bae is simple: restaurant critics, newspapers, and indeed this writer have less to say about the phenomenon worth listening to than the fact that his restaurants are always full, always ridiculous, and always making an absolute wad of cash. London is no exception, the gold-covered steaks are flying out, and the best thing of all is that it’s possible to just watch it happen on Instagram if all of this leads to existential dread.

THE PARK TOWER KNIGHTSBRIDGE HOTEL, 101
London SW1X 7EZ, UK

2. Roketsu Restaurant

12 New Quebec St, London W1H 7RF, UK
A dish from Roketsu’s kaiseki residency at Brown’s Hotel Mayfair Roketsu/Brown’s Hotel

This new Marylebone kaiseki (Japanese multi-course, tasting menu) restaurant

comes from Daisuke Hayashi, a chef who brings to London the experience of two decades’ training at one of the world’s foremost kaiseki restaurants, Kikunoi Honten, in Kyoto. The small, serene restaurant, which was designed in Japan, serves just one menu — at dinner — priced at £190 per person. Currently one of the hottest tickets in town.

12 New Quebec St
London W1H 7RF, UK

3. Sarap Bistro

10 Heddon St, London W1B 4BX, UK
Filipino lechon at Sarap restaurant in Brixton Village Lateef Photography/Sarape

Chef Budgie Montoya is the reigning champion of lechon in London. This, the chef’s second restaurant-proper, having made his name on the pop-up and supperclub circuit, arrives on the borderlands between Mayfair and Soho. It is, naturally, organised around lechon, the crisp-skinned, meltingly tender Filipino pork dish for which Montoya has become so well known. Here served whole alongside truffled adobo pork rice, with which the young pig has been stuffed. While the chef’s other restaurant in Brixton is a little more informal, the “bistro” wants to further support Montoya’s cooking philosophy. That is: having a “Filipino soul and a London heart.”

10 Heddon St
London W1B 4BX, UK

4. Rita's

49 Lexington St, Carnaby, London W1F 9AP, UK
The exterior of Soho restaurant Rita’s, with two counters in the windows, either side of a central black door. People sit at the windows eating.
Outside Rita’s Soho on Lexington Street.
Ben McMahon

Missy Flynn and Gabe Pryce’s latest iteration of Rita’s sees them put down roots in Soho. The listed building on Lexington Street’s limitations have been turned to advantages, with an unfussed-with design and an opportunity to more fully develop Pryce’s version of Americana cooking and Flynn’s approach to exactingly fun drinks. This is a place for lunch and dinner, not for bits and bobs on small plates: a barbecue beef tartare with herbs; quail and grits; sharing steaks, potatoes, and greens. It’s a Proper Restaurant, with the vibe of cool dinner party.

49 Lexington St, Carnaby
London W1F 9AP, UK

5. Vasco & Piero's Pavilion Italian Restaurant

11 D'Arblay St, London W1F 8DT, UK
Fresh pasta with broad beans and peas on a white plate.
Fresh pasta with broad beans and peas.
Vasco & Piero’s/Instagram

There are probably few restaurants in London less concerned with the business of hype and the attention economy than Vasco and Piero’s, the Umbrian institution best known for quality fresh pasta in Soho before quality fresh pasta in Soho became the thing every landlord wanted. But come 2020, attention came: when the restaurant, resident on Greek Street for 50 years, was relieved of its premises over a rent dispute. After the turmoil, it’s now back on D’Arblay Street doing what it always did: white tablecloths, good wine, good pasta, no faff.

11 D'Arblay St
London W1F 8DT, UK

6. Hawker's Kitchen

64 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DP, UK

Roti King’s roti king may no longer be central London’s standard bearer for roti prata (canai). The best version of the rich, flaky bread used to mop up good dhal or even better sour fish curries might now be found in this newish Malaysian spot by King’s Cross on Caledonian road. Word is that it’s truly elite when fresh, merely very good when reheated. Elsewhere there are outstanding plates of kway toew goreng (char kway teow), flat noodles which hold onto an umami-heavy, perfectly balanced seasoning, with bamboo shoots, chilli, crispy onions, and scallions; protein is more or less irrelevant. Make sure to order a side pot of sambal and be prepared to compete with the c.millions of delivery orders flying in and out throughout a sit-down meal. This restaurant is definitely hot on delivery.

64 Caledonian Rd
London N1 9DP, UK

7. Balady

39-41 Leather Ln, London EC1N 7UY, UK
Pita is filled at Balady in north London Michaël Protin

Walking into one of the busiest street food markets in London with three of its most popular offerings — falafel; wraps; and falafel in wraps — is a flex most people would never dare. But Balady’s Sabbo brothers are not most people, and their arrival on Leather Lane from Temple Fortune has drawn queues for its impeccable sabich, hummus, and, yes, falafel from day one. It’s a kind of coming home for Oz Sabbo, who worked on the street before opening in Temple Fortune, and his infectious hospitality suits the buzz to a tee.

39-41 Leather Ln
London EC1N 7UY, UK

8. Sessions Arts Club

24 Clerkenwell Green Old Sessions House, London EC1R 0NA, UK
Inside chef Florence Knight’s spectacular new Clerkenwell restaurant, Sessions Arts Club Michaël Protin

London’s best new dining room sits somewhere between an elegantly distressed Tuscan villa / decrepit British stately home / and fancy art collector London townhouse. It is stunning. On the plate, chef Florence Knight’s food is as clever as it is delicious; the menu a masterclass in variety and composition. The best thing about a dish of fried potato and eel must be kept as a surprise; a squid and tomato calamarata is playful and brilliant; a lonesome crab croquette is a small flavour bomb and textural triumph. Go.

24 Clerkenwell Green Old Sessions House
London EC1R 0NA, UK

9. Trattoria Brutto

35-37 Greenhill Rents, London EC1M 6BN, UK
A diner sits over a plate of pasta, holding a fork, with salad to its left. Everything is on white plates, with white tablecloths, and a half-drunk glass of red wine sits in the centre. Michaêl Protin

An adult, winking Florentine trattoria is Russell Norman’s next contribution to the London restaurant world. There’s a risotto of the day to come shortly, and a bar to be propped up from 11 a.m.; bistecca alla Fiorentina, tonnato with caperberries, and pasta alla vodka are all present and correct. But maybe the smartest thing about this nostalgia-edged restaurant in Farringdon is that it has the know-how and the character to evade any thought of pastiche.

35-37 Greenhill Rents
London EC1M 6BN, UK

10. manteca

49-51 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3PT, UK
Bowls of fresh pasta at Manteca Soho Manteca [Official Photo]

Chef Chris Leach’s Manteca — the chef’s “Britalian” pasta and home-cured meats restaurant he co-owns with Smokestak’s David Carter — has done a tour of London since first arriving on the scene in Heddon Street in 2019. Blushing, coarse home-made mortadella and pasta dishes equal parts inventive, delicious, and aesthetically pleasing (think tortellini in brodo, London 2020) later enjoyed great success on Great Marlborough Street in Soho. It now resides on Shoreditch’s Curtain Road, and based on the early buzz and reception, feels like it could be its home for many years.

49-51 Curtain Rd
London EC2A 3PT, UK

11. Planque

322-324 Acton Mews, London E8 4EA, UK
A selection of wines and French dishes in white dinnerware at Planque, which has opened in Haggerston Anton Rodriguez

Though Haggerston’s Planque is a wine club, its restaurant — and arched, atmospheric dining room — is open to the public. In the kitchen is Seb Myers, whose elegantly fun approach to cooking loosely modern French food is a perfect foil for a place that is devoted to high quality wines and their cellaring but is also in an east London railway arch. When on the hobs at venerable wine bar P. Franco, Myers reconnected it to the Parisian caves à manger that it long touted as inspiration, and brings that sensibility to Planque with the likes of red mullet tartine; grilled leeks vinaigrette with Tunworth cheese; a duck offal choux farcis; and mackerel with coco beans and greens, as well as a stunning caramel tart with blue cheese.

322-324 Acton Mews
London E8 4EA, UK

12. Flor Bakery Spa Terminus

Voyager Estate South 6, Spa Rd, London SE16 4RP, UK
Blackcurrant danishes and pains aux chocolat at Flor, one of London’s best bakeries Flor/Instagram

At the end of 2021 Flor’s original premises lost its head chef and baker Pam Yung, who has moved back to America. In the same month, it began its slow expansion, with the opening of a bakery unit in Spa Terminus, Bermondsey — home to the wholesale premises of some of London’s most celebrated food brands, such as Neal’s Yard, St. John, Monmouth, and Natoora. Flor Bakery will be offering its signature breads, Viennoiserie, lardy buns, brown butter cakes, and more for collection and sit-in with plans to expand the offering in the coming months.

Voyager Estate South 6, Spa Rd
London SE16 4RP, UK

13. Cafe Cecilia

32 Andrews Rd, London E8 4RL, UK

Max Rocha’s deceptively simple, unfussy cooking belongs alongside that of the Anna Tobias, 40 Maltby Street, Rochelle Canteen, the River Cafe, and Quo Vadis, with a Continental accent. Modern modern British? Fried potato with cod’s roe and radishes, rare grilled onglet with peppercorn sauce and chips, or, at the weekend a whole roast chicken with chips and salad to share. There will be seasonal salads and tarts and wee snacks like fritters containing an anchovy and a single sage leaf. There are hints of Scandinavia in its look-and-feel, occupying as it does a new build location on the edge of the Regent’s Canal close to the trendy Broadway Market. Cafe Cecilia is cool, it is breezy, and it happens to also be very friendly.

32 Andrews Rd
London E8 4RL, UK

14. Willy’s Pies, London Fields

Westgate St, London E8 3RL, UK

Outstanding savoury pies from lockdown success story and nostalgic pie master Will Lewis (formerly St. John, Rochelle Canteen, and BRAT.) Lewis is occupying an arch for takeaway in London Fields and serving at lunchtimes from Wednesday to Sunday for now. Highlights include the rabbit, bacon, and cider; simple steak; and sausage rolls. Pies can be ordered with mash and gravy. But the greatest thing about Willy’s pies is the truly brilliant buttery pastry.

Westgate St
London E8 3RL, UK

15. Popeyes

Westfield stratford city, Montfichet Rd, London E15 1AZ, UK
The service counter at Popeyes’ new London restaurant Michaël Protin

A hyped London fast food restaurant opening which sits alongside Jollibee and Shake Shack — in the 12 days since this Louisianan fried chicken and sandwich concession opened in Westfield Stratford, the queues have seldom down. This is fast food to compete with the best in the city: Proper, shatteringly crisp, rich edging on the poultry’s exterior, while the meat is strikingly tender and juicy; it is all judiciously seasoned. Take or leave the sides and expect teething problems while the operations are ironed out. But do order a sundae.

Westfield stratford city, Montfichet Rd
London E15 1AZ, UK

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