London restaurants opening in April, from Cantinetta Antinori to The Gurkhas
“April is the cruellest month” wrote the poet T.S. Eliot, which just goes to show you should never trust a man whose name is an anagram of “toilets”. The recent change of the clocks promises that, whatever the thermometer might say, summer is just around the corner — and spring has well and truly sprung.
It might not be quite warm enough to eat outside yet — though the soon-to-open rooftop terrace at Spitalfields newcomer Maene is a name to make a note of — but the 200 acres of grounds at the Selsdon outpost of Hertfordshire’s farm-to-fork Birch promise a day in the country without leaving London (or a London borough, at least). Can’t wait for nice weather? Riviera in St James’s and Cantinetta Antinori — Belgravia by way of Florence — are bringing scorching continental glamour to the West End.
April is the cruellest month? Coolest, more like. Here are the hottest new restaurants to know about for the month ahead — and two of them have money off.
Wine geeks will know that “ploussard” is a red grape native to the Jura region of France, though food is just as much of an attraction as wine at this Battersea Rise newcomer from Other Side Fried founders Matt Harris and Tommy Kempton. Don’t come expecting chicken sliders, however. Small plates in the dinky 34-cover dining room include Mangalitza pork chop with buttermilk potato and beer mustard sauce and if all that’s required is a lamb and anchovy crumpet with a glass of low-intervention vino there’s counter seating in the window.
Opens: April 1 (50% off food on opening day when booked ahead)
97 St John’s Road, SW11 1QY, ploussardlondon.co.uk
There is surely no London address more fabulous than Fashion Street — and no restaurant name likely to prompt more Google search misspellings than Maene, a joint venture between Townsend’s Nick Gilkinson and Mission, Europe’s largest yoga and movement space. The name, we’re told, is Old English for “public” or “universal” and there’s something very community-minded about the idea of a rooftop allotment providing the ingredients for the likes of burnt leek tart with Berkswell cheese. Cocktails made with leftover ingredients will be far more fun than they sound, if an almond croissant daiquiri is anything to go by.
Opens: April 3
7-9 Fashion Street, E1 6PX, maenerestaurant.co.uk
Billed as “a modern Nepalese restaurant”, the Gurkhas — named after the Nepalese soldiers who have fought for Britain since 1815 — comes courtesy of Nepal-born Shrabaneswor Rai, who also owns the Hot Stone steak and sushi bar in Islington. He’s recruited chef Joe Allen, whose wife is Nepalese, father-in-law is a Gurkha and was last spotted in food circles with a Nepalese pop-up on the back of an appearance on TV’s My Million Pound Menu. Expect the likes of mutton sekuwa with onion and coriander and pork chop with nettle, plus a six-course tasting menu for £75.
Opens: April 11 (50% off food April 11-12)
110 Great Portland Street, W1W 6PQ, thegurkhasrestaurant.com
Hot on the heels of Socca comes another Côte d’Azur-themed glamour fest, this time down the road in St James’s. Nothing could be further from the sun-dappled Promenade des Anglais than the concrete surrounds of the Economist Plaza, and the awkward layout of a dining room reached via an escalator (formerly Sake No Hana) always feels odd. But if there’s one thing that the success of Maison François has proved, it’s that the art dealers and hedgies of SW1 enjoy nothing more than eating trad French cuisine in modernist surrounds: veal chop marinated in Dijon mustard, sea bass en papillote, pistachio millefeuille.
Opens: April 21
23 St James’s Street, SW1A 1HA, riviera-london.co.uk
A Belgravia location that’s a well-shod skip from Sloane Street means the first London outpost of Florence’s Cantinetta Antinori should slip down as easily as one of the Tuscan wine estate’s famed Tignanellos (aka Meghan Markle’s favourite sip). The Antinori family has been making wine since 1385; its Florentine restaurant is comparatively more recent, having opened in 1957 in a 15th-century palazzo. Expect luxurious spins on Italian classics — wagyu prosciutto, tiramisu served tableside — accompanied by live jazz in the evening and some of the finest wines available to humanity. Needless to say, it will not be cheap.
Opens: April 24
4 Harriet Street, SW1X 9JR, cantinetta-antinori.uk
Former Flor head baker Helen Evans is opening what sounds like the perfect local amenity in East Dulwich: breads and pastries made from UK-grown wheat (usually organic), Neal’s Yard cheeses and butter from Ampersand Dairy.
Opens: Easter weekend
20 Upland Road, SE22 9EF, @ericslondon
Two restaurants in an 18th-century mansion in suburban Croydon from ex-Typing Room chef Lee Westcott. All-day British brasserie Vervain and fine-diner Elodie will use ingredients foraged onsite and grown in a kitchen garden.
Opens: Vervain, April 13; Elodie, April 27
126 Addington Road, Selsdon, CR2 8YA, birchcommunity.com/selsdon
Another tumble down the rabbit hole for the Olivier Award-nominated Alice’s Adventures Underground, now in a permanent home beneath Waterloo Station with this restaurant and bar attached which promises a Mad Hatter’s tea party of immersive dining.
Opens: April 17
Labyrinth Waterloo, Waterloo Station, SE1 8SW, thisislabyrinth.com/rosarium/
The last time a Boudica turned up in London it didn’t end well for the inhabitants but the omens for this new all-day Battersea restaurant are better, with former Corrigan’s Mayfair chef Luigi Vairo cooking a British-goes-global menu.
Opens: April 28
Boudica House, 12 Palmer Road, SW11 4FQ, boudicalondon.com
A daytime café from west London hero Sam Harrison, this informal drop-in round the corner from Sam’s Riverside will offer chilli-poached eggs, beetroot-topped toast, baby spinach buns and a full English fry-up.
Opens: Late April
17 Crisp Road, W6 9DN, samsriverside.co.uk