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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.
Pasta, salad, and wine at Brutto, Russell Norman’s new London restaurant.
Michaêl Protin

The Hottest New Restaurants in London, October 2021

Salt Bae is on this list, sorry about it

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Pasta, salad, and wine at Brutto, Russell Norman’s new London restaurant.
| Michaêl 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 October 2021: Nusr-et London, Brutto, Ramo Ramen, BiBi

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

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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. Bibi Restaurant

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42 N Audley St
London W1K 6ZP, UK

Chet Sharma’s new Mayfair addition to the JKS stable is at first glance very smart — with elegant banquettes and a sweeping counter that provides an ideal view of the multi-level sigree grill. But here smart also means intelligent: Sharma’s playfulness appears in opening gambits of papad and kurkure that resemble Quavers and NikNaks respectively, and it persists across the menu, in a departure from prior billing as a tasting menu concession to its locale that feels like a very wise decision.

A selection of dishes from Chet Sharma’s BiBi, on colourful stone-esque plates, on a wooden backdrop.
A selection of dishes from Chet Sharma’s BiBi.
BiBi

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. Ramo Ramen

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157 Kentish Town Rd
London NW1 8PD, UK

Ramo Ramen is known for its creative, clever refraction of Filipino culinary traditions, leading to singular bowls of ramen which feel in tune with the spirit of the most exciting cooking in the city right now. Oxtail collapses into creamy peanut broth in a bowl inspired by kare kare, the Filipino stew, while grilled king prawns bob in a broth pursed by tamarind and lime in a rendition of the soup, sinigang. But in Soho, the stars are the decadent: an outrageous lobster and crab ginataan, and a rich wagyu bistek donburi.

A bowl of oxtail kare kare ramen shot from above, with nori, soft-boiled eggs, pea shoots, spring onions, and shiitake mushrooms
A bowl of oxtail kare kare ramen.
Ramo Ramen

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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]

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. 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. 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]

12. 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.

A spread of Hausa suya, grilled beef spiced with yaji, served on white plates with a salad of lettuce, tomato, and raw onion. Alhaji Suya/Uber Eats

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. Sonora Taquería

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13-23 Westgate St
London E8 3RL, UK

Michelle Salazar de la Rocha and Sam Napier have worn many hats in London Fields. Pollo Feliz, an ode to grilled chicken, became Sonora, an ode to beef in many guises, became Sonora, and ode to beef in one, very singular, very Sonoran guise: carne asada. Freshly reopened after a six week break, it’s as busy, brilliant, and beguiling as ever — the cowboy in their logo finally, it seems, has the hat it always wanted.

A Sonoran beef taco on the steel counter at Sonora.
A Sonoran beef taco on the counter at Sonora.
Michaël Protin

15. 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.

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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. Bibi Restaurant

42 N Audley St, London W1K 6ZP, UK
A selection of dishes from Chet Sharma’s BiBi, on colourful stone-esque plates, on a wooden backdrop.
A selection of dishes from Chet Sharma’s BiBi.
BiBi

Chet Sharma’s new Mayfair addition to the JKS stable is at first glance very smart — with elegant banquettes and a sweeping counter that provides an ideal view of the multi-level sigree grill. But here smart also means intelligent: Sharma’s playfulness appears in opening gambits of papad and kurkure that resemble Quavers and NikNaks respectively, and it persists across the menu, in a departure from prior billing as a tasting menu concession to its locale that feels like a very wise decision.

42 N Audley St
London W1K 6ZP, 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. Ramo Ramen

157 Kentish Town Rd, London NW1 8PD, UK
A bowl of oxtail kare kare ramen shot from above, with nori, soft-boiled eggs, pea shoots, spring onions, and shiitake mushrooms
A bowl of oxtail kare kare ramen.
Ramo Ramen

Ramo Ramen is known for its creative, clever refraction of Filipino culinary traditions, leading to singular bowls of ramen which feel in tune with the spirit of the most exciting cooking in the city right now. Oxtail collapses into creamy peanut broth in a bowl inspired by kare kare, the Filipino stew, while grilled king prawns bob in a broth pursed by tamarind and lime in a rendition of the soup, sinigang. But in Soho, the stars are the decadent: an outrageous lobster and crab ginataan, and a rich wagyu bistek donburi.

157 Kentish Town Rd
London NW1 8PD, UK

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

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. 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. 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

12. Alhaji SUYA (Peckham)

15 Peckham Park Rd, London SE15 6TR, UK
A spread of Hausa suya, grilled beef spiced with yaji, served on white plates with a salad of lettuce, tomato, and raw onion. 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

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. Sonora Taquería

13-23 Westgate St, London E8 3RL, UK
A Sonoran beef taco on the steel counter at Sonora.
A Sonoran beef taco on the counter at Sonora.
Michaël Protin

Michelle Salazar de la Rocha and Sam Napier have worn many hats in London Fields. Pollo Feliz, an ode to grilled chicken, became Sonora, an ode to beef in many guises, became Sonora, and ode to beef in one, very singular, very Sonoran guise: carne asada. Freshly reopened after a six week break, it’s as busy, brilliant, and beguiling as ever — the cowboy in their logo finally, it seems, has the hat it always wanted.

13-23 Westgate St
London E8 3RL, UK

15. 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

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