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

The Hottest New Restaurants in London, September 2021

Including London’s most spectacular new dining room, elegant cooking by the Regent’s canal, and a Cuban-inspired bar in the dead centre of town

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Pork belly at Sessions Arts Club in Clerkenwell
| 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 last month, this moment remains quite different to when those questions were previously asked, and places that are opening for the first time are doing so in an unstable present, facing an unknown future — both as a result of the pandemic but also Brexit. Still, the sun is out and the summer has started so there’s a degree of optimism in the air right now. Here’s where’s hot in London.

Added September 2021: Cafe Cecilia, Sessions Arts Club, La Rampa

Added August 2021: Bao Noodle Shop, the Pem, Bibo, and Marugame Udon

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Lighthaus cafe

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11 Argall Ave
London E10 7QE, UK

This sun-dappled Walthamstow cafe has always been a hit, but it’s gone up another gear with the arrival of former 40 Maltby Street chef Alex Vines, bringing in an elegant menu for the weekends. Slabs of chicken liver parfait bely a silken texture; skate flops lazily over asparagus; mussels take up a little tartlet with saffron and fennel.

2. Hector's

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47 Ardleigh Rd
London N1 4HS, UK

A new European wine shop, cafe, and restaurant-bar for De Beauvoir, from one former partner and the current owner of Hill & Szrok, the butcher, provisioner, restaurant-bar on Broadway Market that has flourished during the pandemic. Currently, it’s a bottleshop serving excellent bocadillos and thick, bitter espresso; this is just its first brief life before full opening, but it’s a highly promising start.

3. Panadera

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83 Kentish Town Rd
London NW1 8NY, UK

Florence Mae Maglanoc and Omar Shah, whose Filipino dirty ice cream parlour Mamasons has been a runaway success, have scored another hit with Panadera. The bakery continues Maglanoc and Shah’s building of an identity that refracts Filipino heritage and tradition through London’s culinary kaleidoscope, with dishes like a mango float, ube French toast, corned beef hash sandos, and taho, made with silken tofu, sweet and syrupy brown sugar arnibal, and sago pearls.

The corned beef hash sando at Panadera in Kentish Town Panadera [Official Photo]

4. Tofu Vegan

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105 Upper St
London N1 1QN, UK

A new vegan operation linked to outstanding Chinese restaurants Xi’an Impression and Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles, Tofu Vegan promises to do what so many restaurants couldn’t: succeed on Upper Street in Islington. Dongbei sweet potato noodles; hot and fragrant deep-fried asparagus; and Chongqing-style mock chicken feature, but the star is shimmering dòufu huā, a wibbly cloud of beige saturated with buzzy chilli oil and black beans.

The brown and glass exterior of Tofu Vegan restaurant on Upper Street, Islington, London, with tofu-coloured signage, blue Deliveroo signage in the windows Tofu Vegan [Official Photo]

5. 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.

6. Bao Noodle Shop

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1 Redchurch St
London E2 7DJ, UK

The latest guise for this Taiwanese hit is a stylised ode to beef noodle soup in Shoreditch, itself coming in two guises: a beef butter-enriched short rib bowl in the Taipei style, and a lighter, Tainan-style broth with rarer beef rump. Boiled dumplings are given the modish treatment by using cull yaw, while crispy tripe and fried Ogleshield cheese rolls compete for top snack billing. One of the city’s most stylish groups is hitting the ground running for summer.

A bowl of Taiwanese beef noodle soup on the red bar at Bao’s new Shoreditch restaurant Bao [Official Photo]

7. BiBo Shoreditch

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45 Curtain Rd
London EC2A 3PT, UK

At Bibo, the latest arrival at what used to be The Curtain Hotel and is now a Mondrian, the hype comes from chef Dani Garcia and the buzz comes from people starved of “famous chef in Instagrammable room” content for the past year-and-a-half. If there’s one key tip, it’s order things with jamón: oozing croquetas, or crisps tumbled with fine slices of the pink stuff. Those who like taking pictures of trendy sandwiches will be well served by Christina’s, in the same building.

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. Eataly London

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135 Bishopsgate
London EC2M 3YD, UK

Eataly, the Italian food hall behemoth that answers the question, “what if every commonly held belief about Italian food and culture, but al massimo?” has opened its debut London site in Liverpool Street. It is faintly ludicrous, in a benevolent way befitting of espresso cups slammed on bars and copious gesti, of you-know-which-brand spritz overflowing coupe glasses, of cannoli and of pasta and of pizza. So yes, it’s faintly ludicrous — but when was the last time an opening literally on Broadgate had even an ounce of vibe?

Spaghetti in a white dish, twirled around a fork with red sauce coating the pasta and basil draped across the top
Spaghetti with tomato and basil at Eataly
Eataly [Official Photo]

10. Marugame Udon

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114 Middlesex St
London E1 7JH, UK

Marugame Udon, the London debut for a chain with hundreds of sites in Japan, might never hit the serene heights of Koya or the neighbourhood intimacy of somewhere like Kiraku in Ealing. But: the arrival of a huge, monied overseas player into a huge site vacated by a chain in decline (Wahaca) is probably a canary in the coal mine of London casual dining over the next five years, and if its competitors bring this dedication to consistency and quality, with noodles made daily and bowls starting at £3.45, then the city will be better for it.

Udon noodles at Marugame Udon in Spitalfields
Udon noodles at Marugame Udon in Spitalfields
Marugame Udon

11. Bar La Rampa

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7/8 Market Pl
London W1W 8AG, UK

Smack bang in the middle of central London, MJMK, the group behind piri piri chicken slingers Casa do Frango and fancy Mexican restaurant Kol, has opened a vibey, low-lit Cuban-ish bar and restaurant with from the stellar Tātā Eatery. It includes the signature cubano sandwich — a footlong of soft ciabatta-like-baguette packed with pork belly seasoned with cumin and aromatic herbs, ham, raclette, pickled gherkins and onions, and American mustard. Thus having a flavour profile somewhere between a fast food burger, a rustic porchetta roll, and a club sandwich. Elsewhere, there’s lots of rum cocktails, and late night activities, befitting of its location.

La Rampa’s cubano sandwich
La Rampa’s cubano
Adam Coghlan

12. Sumi Restaurant

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157 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill
London W11 2RS, UK

Sumi, in Westbourne Grove, is sushi master Endo Kazutoshi’s version of a lower key restaurant, an analogue to his Michelin-starred restaurant Endo at the Rotunda in White City. But low-key here means beautiful brushed wood interiors that will hopefully welcome guests again soon, and a trio of bento boxes with superlative quality chirashi. One of the most luxurious takeaway options out there right now.

Two hands hold a box of chirashi sushi Sumi [Official Photo]

13. The Pem

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Conrad London St. James 22-28, Broadway
London SW1H 0BH, UK

A new, big-ticket central London restaurant could hope for a little better of an opening team than Sally Abé, Emma Underwood, and Laetizia Keating, so it’s unsurprising that Abé herself picked exactly that trio for The Pem, at Conrad London’s St. James’s hotel. Having held a Michelin star at the Harwood Arms for two years, Abé is less one to watch and more one of the best chefs in the city, using this restaurant as a display of her vision for contemporary British food. Charred mackerel with salad cream; wild mushrooms with herb mousseline, truffle, and egg; and John Dory with bobby beans, brassicas, Exmoor caviar, and sauce Divine — a mousseline sauce which uses sherry for its reduction — display a confident and playful classicism.

Lobster with tomato, shellfish cream, and olive at The Pem, served in a deep white dish with a jug pouring over broth
Lobster with tomato, shellfish cream, and olive at The Pem
The Pem

14. Alhaji SUYA (Peckham)

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15 Peckham Park Rd
London SE15 6TR, UK

London’s preeminent suya specialist relocated to Greenwich during 2020, selling its tozo, meltingly tender beef, guinea fowl, chicken, and lamb from a truck out of the Angerstein Business Park after its original Peckham location burned down. Now, Abdullahi Mai Kano is back in his Peckham Park Road home — but still sending those complex and delicious goods to postcodes across the capital and via UPS nationwide.

Alhaji Suya Alhaji Suya/Uber Eats

15. Cue Point Ltd @ The Chiswick Pavilion Cricket Club

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10 Riverside Dr, Chiswick
London W4 2SP, UK

Cue Point is serving some of the finest smoked meat in London right now, without question. Smokestak alumnus Joshua Moroney and creative producer Mursal Saiq started the business partly out of love for barbecue and partly out of frustration at the lack of inclusivity in the field in London. The duo’s desire for a more integrated community is the driving force behind Cue Point’s Afghan barbecue, which fuses “American” smoking methods with Afghan flavours. Find brisket buns and barbecue platters in Chiswick, with a drive-thru option if in need of a more transient experience.

Two pieces of smoked brisket on a wooden cutting board Cue Point [Official Photo]

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1. Lighthaus cafe

11 Argall Ave, London E10 7QE, UK

This sun-dappled Walthamstow cafe has always been a hit, but it’s gone up another gear with the arrival of former 40 Maltby Street chef Alex Vines, bringing in an elegant menu for the weekends. Slabs of chicken liver parfait bely a silken texture; skate flops lazily over asparagus; mussels take up a little tartlet with saffron and fennel.

11 Argall Ave
London E10 7QE, UK

2. Hector's

47 Ardleigh Rd, London N1 4HS, UK

A new European wine shop, cafe, and restaurant-bar for De Beauvoir, from one former partner and the current owner of Hill & Szrok, the butcher, provisioner, restaurant-bar on Broadway Market that has flourished during the pandemic. Currently, it’s a bottleshop serving excellent bocadillos and thick, bitter espresso; this is just its first brief life before full opening, but it’s a highly promising start.

47 Ardleigh Rd
London N1 4HS, UK

3. Panadera

83 Kentish Town Rd, London NW1 8NY, UK
The corned beef hash sando at Panadera in Kentish Town Panadera [Official Photo]

Florence Mae Maglanoc and Omar Shah, whose Filipino dirty ice cream parlour Mamasons has been a runaway success, have scored another hit with Panadera. The bakery continues Maglanoc and Shah’s building of an identity that refracts Filipino heritage and tradition through London’s culinary kaleidoscope, with dishes like a mango float, ube French toast, corned beef hash sandos, and taho, made with silken tofu, sweet and syrupy brown sugar arnibal, and sago pearls.

83 Kentish Town Rd
London NW1 8NY, UK

4. Tofu Vegan

105 Upper St, London N1 1QN, UK
The brown and glass exterior of Tofu Vegan restaurant on Upper Street, Islington, London, with tofu-coloured signage, blue Deliveroo signage in the windows Tofu Vegan [Official Photo]

A new vegan operation linked to outstanding Chinese restaurants Xi’an Impression and Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles, Tofu Vegan promises to do what so many restaurants couldn’t: succeed on Upper Street in Islington. Dongbei sweet potato noodles; hot and fragrant deep-fried asparagus; and Chongqing-style mock chicken feature, but the star is shimmering dòufu huā, a wibbly cloud of beige saturated with buzzy chilli oil and black beans.

105 Upper St
London N1 1QN, UK

5. 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

6. Bao Noodle Shop

1 Redchurch St, London E2 7DJ, UK
A bowl of Taiwanese beef noodle soup on the red bar at Bao’s new Shoreditch restaurant Bao [Official Photo]

The latest guise for this Taiwanese hit is a stylised ode to beef noodle soup in Shoreditch, itself coming in two guises: a beef butter-enriched short rib bowl in the Taipei style, and a lighter, Tainan-style broth with rarer beef rump. Boiled dumplings are given the modish treatment by using cull yaw, while crispy tripe and fried Ogleshield cheese rolls compete for top snack billing. One of the city’s most stylish groups is hitting the ground running for summer.

1 Redchurch St
London E2 7DJ, UK

7. BiBo Shoreditch

45 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3PT, UK

At Bibo, the latest arrival at what used to be The Curtain Hotel and is now a Mondrian, the hype comes from chef Dani Garcia and the buzz comes from people starved of “famous chef in Instagrammable room” content for the past year-and-a-half. If there’s one key tip, it’s order things with jamón: oozing croquetas, or crisps tumbled with fine slices of the pink stuff. Those who like taking pictures of trendy sandwiches will be well served by Christina’s, in the same building.

45 Curtain Rd
London EC2A 3PT, 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. Eataly London

135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3YD, UK
Spaghetti in a white dish, twirled around a fork with red sauce coating the pasta and basil draped across the top
Spaghetti with tomato and basil at Eataly
Eataly [Official Photo]

Eataly, the Italian food hall behemoth that answers the question, “what if every commonly held belief about Italian food and culture, but al massimo?” has opened its debut London site in Liverpool Street. It is faintly ludicrous, in a benevolent way befitting of espresso cups slammed on bars and copious gesti, of you-know-which-brand spritz overflowing coupe glasses, of cannoli and of pasta and of pizza. So yes, it’s faintly ludicrous — but when was the last time an opening literally on Broadgate had even an ounce of vibe?

135 Bishopsgate
London EC2M 3YD, UK

10. Marugame Udon

114 Middlesex St, London E1 7JH, UK
Udon noodles at Marugame Udon in Spitalfields
Udon noodles at Marugame Udon in Spitalfields
Marugame Udon

Marugame Udon, the London debut for a chain with hundreds of sites in Japan, might never hit the serene heights of Koya or the neighbourhood intimacy of somewhere like Kiraku in Ealing. But: the arrival of a huge, monied overseas player into a huge site vacated by a chain in decline (Wahaca) is probably a canary in the coal mine of London casual dining over the next five years, and if its competitors bring this dedication to consistency and quality, with noodles made daily and bowls starting at £3.45, then the city will be better for it.

114 Middlesex St
London E1 7JH, UK

11. Bar La Rampa

7/8 Market Pl, London W1W 8AG, UK
La Rampa’s cubano sandwich
La Rampa’s cubano
Adam Coghlan

Smack bang in the middle of central London, MJMK, the group behind piri piri chicken slingers Casa do Frango and fancy Mexican restaurant Kol, has opened a vibey, low-lit Cuban-ish bar and restaurant with from the stellar Tātā Eatery. It includes the signature cubano sandwich — a footlong of soft ciabatta-like-baguette packed with pork belly seasoned with cumin and aromatic herbs, ham, raclette, pickled gherkins and onions, and American mustard. Thus having a flavour profile somewhere between a fast food burger, a rustic porchetta roll, and a club sandwich. Elsewhere, there’s lots of rum cocktails, and late night activities, befitting of its location.

7/8 Market Pl
London W1W 8AG, UK

12. Sumi Restaurant

157 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W11 2RS, UK
Two hands hold a box of chirashi sushi Sumi [Official Photo]

Sumi, in Westbourne Grove, is sushi master Endo Kazutoshi’s version of a lower key restaurant, an analogue to his Michelin-starred restaurant Endo at the Rotunda in White City. But low-key here means beautiful brushed wood interiors that will hopefully welcome guests again soon, and a trio of bento boxes with superlative quality chirashi. One of the most luxurious takeaway options out there right now.

157 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill
London W11 2RS, UK

13. The Pem

Conrad London St. James 22-28, Broadway, London SW1H 0BH, UK
Lobster with tomato, shellfish cream, and olive at The Pem, served in a deep white dish with a jug pouring over broth
Lobster with tomato, shellfish cream, and olive at The Pem
The Pem

A new, big-ticket central London restaurant could hope for a little better of an opening team than Sally Abé, Emma Underwood, and Laetizia Keating, so it’s unsurprising that Abé herself picked exactly that trio for The Pem, at Conrad London’s St. James’s hotel. Having held a Michelin star at the Harwood Arms for two years, Abé is less one to watch and more one of the best chefs in the city, using this restaurant as a display of her vision for contemporary British food. Charred mackerel with salad cream; wild mushrooms with herb mousseline, truffle, and egg; and John Dory with bobby beans, brassicas, Exmoor caviar, and sauce Divine — a mousseline sauce which uses sherry for its reduction — display a confident and playful classicism.

Conrad London St. James 22-28, Broadway
London SW1H 0BH, UK

14. Alhaji SUYA (Peckham)

15 Peckham Park Rd, London SE15 6TR, UK
Alhaji Suya Alhaji Suya/Uber Eats

London’s preeminent suya specialist relocated to Greenwich during 2020, selling its tozo, meltingly tender beef, guinea fowl, chicken, and lamb from a truck out of the Angerstein Business Park after its original Peckham location burned down. Now, Abdullahi Mai Kano is back in his Peckham Park Road home — but still sending those complex and delicious goods to postcodes across the capital and via UPS nationwide.

15 Peckham Park Rd
London SE15 6TR, UK

15. Cue Point Ltd @ The Chiswick Pavilion Cricket Club

10 Riverside Dr, Chiswick, London W4 2SP, UK
Two pieces of smoked brisket on a wooden cutting board Cue Point [Official Photo]

Cue Point is serving some of the finest smoked meat in London right now, without question. Smokestak alumnus Joshua Moroney and creative producer Mursal Saiq started the business partly out of love for barbecue and partly out of frustration at the lack of inclusivity in the field in London. The duo’s desire for a more integrated community is the driving force behind Cue Point’s Afghan barbecue, which fuses “American” smoking methods with Afghan flavours. Find brisket buns and barbecue platters in Chiswick, with a drive-thru option if in need of a more transient experience.

10 Riverside Dr, Chiswick
London W4 2SP, UK

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