Stylish Mexican Dining in Chelsea at Ixchel

Reviving the somewhat tired dining scene of Chelsea’s Kings Road, Ixchel, the long-awaited Mexican restaurant and Tequila bar has opened its doors with the promise of transporting guests to the hedonistic oasis of Tulum and is set to be amongst the best dining establishments to have opened this year.

Launched under Fraser Carruthers’ Fairbairn Capital, which notably has Chelsea favourites Albert’s and Raffles under its portfolio, the fashionable hotspot oozes the bohemian vibes of the beach clubs that have put the Yucatan peninsula on the map and spans two floors.

Borrowing its name from the Mayan goddess of the moon and textiles, Ixchel is a sensory delight; from the bustle of the busy streets that neighbour the restaurant, you are immersed in the free-spirited vibe of this place with no detail spared in its interior.

Showcasing Mexican art to its fullest extent, one enters to be welcomed by a mural by Rafael Uriegas, which nods to ancient mythology and sets the scene for the dining floor, which opens onto the Moon Bar, acting as a focal point.

Designed by female-led Behind The Door Designs, the inviting décor is enlivened by Mexican influence, floor-to-ceiling windows allow the natural light to linger on the ground floor, and carefully curated art and contemporary sculpture adorn the space.

In perfect matrimony to the vibrant style Ixchel exudes, the menu devised by Head Chef Ximena Gayosso Gonzalez celebrates the exotic tastes synonymous with Mexican cuisine.

Known for his flair in creating traditional dishes but with a modern twist, Gonzalez brings his years of working across the likes of Shoreditch’s famed Brat and Mayfair’s Ella Canta to the helm of the kitchen at Ixchel and has created an easily navigated menu of small and large plates, salads, tacos and quesadillas.

The concept here is very much a sharing one, so you are fine to go either as a couple or a larger group (or even alone) as you so fancy; there are plenty of tantalising dishes to try and with the varied size of the dishes you can probably comfortably order around 4-5 dishes per person.

Start with a few of the Para Picar (small plates); the Bluefin tuna sashimi is a signature and is served with a ponzu toreada sauce which gives a nice kick. The Crab macha tostada is also to die for, a delicious filling of crab, ginger and garlic chips give it a crisp with the freshness and zest of the crab nicely complemented by the other ingredients.

The Pork belly taco is also particularly noteworthy, served with salsa verde and refried beans it has texture and makes for a good second dish before going on to the main course.

Of the mains, the Charcoal crispy chicken thigh is a particular standout dish; it’s simple yet locally sourced produce shines through with the tenderness of the meat from the cooking techniques used, and it comes with a red chilli sauce, which really elevates the fusion of flavours.

A variety of different salsas, which range in spice levels, are also a highlight of the menu, and it’s worth trying one to give the food a little extra panache.

Something else Ixchel has mastered is its cocktails. Chosen by Nar Manager Manuel Lema, the selection is perfectly paired with the sofas that line the entrance for a more laid-back experience with some dishes and a catch-up with friends as you enjoy the upbeat vibes of the DJ all through the fancy Bang & Olufsen sound system.

There’s a choice of tipple for all tastes, which includes an alcohol-free selection. Margaritas take centre stage, with the Spicy being particularly popular and consisting of Patron silver with fresh jalapeño and a splash of organic agave. Do be warned, though, it does have quite the kick.

Of the House Cocktails, we’d recommend the Ixchel Negroni, worthy of being the restaurant’s eponymous drink; it’s a blend of honey-infused Campari, martini rubino and Patron silver – it’s the perfect Negroni, not too bitter, sour enough and with a nice fruitiness.

Open daily for lunch and dinner, Ixchel opens Monday to Wednesday, 12pm – midnight, with a later opening until 1am, Thursday to Saturday and on Sundays closes at 11pm.

Text by Jaz Grewal.

https://ixchellondon.com/

 

Pasture to Plate Dining at Origin City

Bringing the authentic taste of British cuisine with a flair for Scottish flavours to the heart of The City, Origin City is a modern restaurant rooted in traditional values from the Landsberg family, notably behind Farringdon’s favourite 56 West Smithfield.

Located just a stone’s throw from its counterpart on the other side of West Smithfield, Origin City is built on a nose-to-tail concept, a bold statement that carries it with an ethos of uncompromising quality, and on that, it certainly does deliver.

The laid-back yet refined décor sets the tone; a rustic colour palette of neutrals echoes the British heritage at the pinnacle of the restaurant’s concept, but there is an underlying sense of sophistication that reinforces its compatibility as either a lunch spot or an evening occasion.

The chairs are green and red, there are earthy shades of textured wood, and a mural adorns the wall depicting animals, a theme echoed through the artwork that hangs from the walls showing cattle with the centrepiece of the restaurant floor being the open kitchen, positioned to overlook diners.

Using meat from the family’s organic farm back in Scotland and seafood from their aquafarm, Executive Chef Graham Chatham, who counts some 35 years under his belt with stints at The Langham and Rules, to name a few, has created a menu centred around the rarefied produce of the family farm, well executed and sure to serve a treat.

With meat playing the lead role throughout the fare on offer, you’d be forgiven for steering clear if you weren’t a meat lover per se, but rest assured the small choice on offer (one starter and one main, to be precise) are enough of a plate pleaser to make the trip, the Roasted Pumpkin, Beauvale and Pickled Pear is cleverly devised and brings a fusion of flavour, the Grilled Hispi Cabbage equally delights.

For those that can devour game and meat organically sourced from the Landsberg family farm, which sees Heritage Breeds of grass-fed Black Angus and Tamworth as part of its livestock, be sure to arrive hungry as one can feel a little spoilt for choice with so many tempting dishes to choose from.

You’ll want to start with the charcuterie board; like everything else, it is made in-house and comes with a toasted sourdough baguette, they say it serves two, but with such a generous portion, it could easily stretch further.  Prime cuts of ham and pork are accompanied by a helping of pickles. If space allows, do try the potato and thyme sourdough, even if just for the delicious Nduja butter it comes served with.

For the actual starters, Black Angus Tartare is a must-try; the texture and quality of the meat are second to none. The Patridge also makes for a hearty starter, served with a dollop of Foie Gras. It is cooked to perfection and comes with a nice berry jus, which adds a level of consistency to the dish.

Mains wise, it’s a tough shout to decide whether you’ll do one of the dishes for two share, the Stout-braised beef is difficult for anyone to pass on, or to order a la one; either way the true pasture-to-plate concept is showcased along with Chatham’s culinary mastery.

If you do decide to order separately, then the Black pig cut of the day, butchered within the restaurant, is a must. It really hits the spot and comes served with fennel sausage and a  purée of celeriac.

The Black Angus cut of the day is also a standout dish on the menu, as one might expect, deliciously cooked and done to your preference, its 300g of meat dry-aged for some 40 days and for any lover of fine steak, it doesn’t disappoint, and the black garlic ketchup complements it well for just a little more flavour.

Desserts are kept quite unpretentious and very British, Sticky toffee pudding and Vanilla crème brûlée feature alongside a curation of cheeses (undoubtedly British) by twice Affineur of the Year, Perry James Wakeman.

For a newcomer on the scene, having opened only earlier this year, Origin City certainly leaves its mark; you quickly feel as though you’ve journeyed on a culinary voyage to the family farm and back through the perfectly prepared dishes and exquisite produce that take centre stage in this exceptional eatery.

 

https://www.origincity.co.uk/

Text By Jaz Grewal

A Glamorous Feast at Bacchanalia

Bacchanalia, the latest Berkeley Square institution from Richard Caring’s dining empire (AKA Caprice Holdings), is an apologetically swanky destination, occupying glitzy premises at One Mount Street, formerly a Porsche showroom.

A hedonistic haven for the senses, the exquisitely decorated restaurant and bar oozes opulence with a theme imagined in an ancient Greco-Roman era, with a highly curated menu celebrating Mediterranean cuisine to match.

The scene is set almost as soon as you transcend through the doors and are greeted by a plethora of grand artworks, the piece de resistance of which is five Instagrammable sculptures hanging pride of place overlooking the restaurant floor.

In keeping with the whole ethos of mythology echoed throughout the lavish jaunt, Hirst’s creations depict figures synonymous with the theme – namely a unicorn, a lion, a pair of lovers atop a unicorn, Bacchus, another unicorn and a Medusa (which notably resembles his girlfriend Sophie Cannell).

A showstopping mural adorns the main wall courtesy of artist Gary Myatt, who has taken a modern interpretation of the legendary Romans in their Decadence painting with subtle nods to the 21st-century shown through iPhones and laptops making their way onto the piece.

The décor in itself is enough of a marvel to understand the allure of Bacchanalia, but it’s the food, cocktails and enviable wine list that really makes this place one for the list.

Culinary Director Athinagoras Kostakos (who also counts stints at Caring’s Mykonian ventures Noema and Scorpios) is behind the menu, which champions sharing dishes of Meditteranean cuisine across Raw dishes, starters, salads, pasta and Food From The Gods, otherwise known as mains.

The portion sizes are generous, so the sharing concept is key when ordering; Caviar is available should it take your fancy, and we’d recommend around three of four dishes per person to enjoy a taste of the delicacies on offer.

To start, the Red Mullet Ceviche is a must-try; be sure also to order the Grilled Octopus, one of the hero dishes. It comes served in a Greek faca purée, which acts as a nice dipping sauce and is cooked to perfection. Try one of the Roman Flatbreads too, as they make for a nice sharer; the Nduja, aubergine and roasted tomato sauce is a standout, simple yet well executed and hits the spot.

For the mains, you can’t really go wrong with Bacchanalia’s Lobster Paccheri Pasta. Think the finest helpings of lobster with pasta in a devilishly indulgent creamy sauce, with the option to add caviar and black truffle.

For meatier dishes, the Lamb Souvlaki is a good shout and showcases the Grecian flavours on offer, served with a tzatziki like yoghurt and salad; the lamb is beautifully done and is a good all-rounder dish. Another signature dish is the Salt Crust Sea Bass, a crowd-pleaser; it comes in a nice citrus dressing and is served on an equally extravagant silver platter.

If you plan to dine as a group, then the Feasting Menu is a great option. Available for groups of seven or more, it’s the perfectly paired selection of the most popular dishes, including the Salt Crust Sea Bass, Strip Loing Tagliata and favourites to share, such as the Sea Bream Carpaccio and Cherry Tomato Salad.

Dessert-wise, Hirst’s Medusa sculpture has been made available in edible form until the end of September in Bacchanalia’s Desserts of Art offering. Three desserts, Medusa, Jupiter and Neptune, have been created, the hero of which is Medusa, a replica of the overhanging sculpture; it comprises coconut and tonka cream with exotic fruit and coco nibs.

With such a theatrical affair portrayed through the décor, food and overt glamour, it’s clear why Bacchanalia has won the hearts of the Mayfair set already. DJs perform at weekends, and the bar offers an extensive wine list covering some of the finest vintages in the world.

Text by Jaz Grewal

www.bacchanalia.co.uk

 

Five Fabulous Lunch Spots in London

From fine dining to casual eats and food halls, we’ve shortlisted five of the must-visit lunch spots to visit in London.

Tattu

Offering a taste of affordable luxury, Tattu has launched a Moon Stand lunch menu served in its glamorous London outpost, which takes residency in the ever-popular Outernet building, having taken over the rooftop of the Now Building.

With its enviable views and Instagrammable décor, the centrepiece of which is a dazzling canopy of cherry blossoms that hangs over the main dining floor, the Chinese restaurant has established itself as the go-to for Oriental flavours and experience-led dining since its opening last year.

Elevating the sensory journey that Tattu’s ethos is built on, the Moon Stand lunch champions hero dishes and gives diners the opportunity to enjoy three dishes of their choosing for the nominal cost of £33. Signatures on the menu, comprised of 14 curated dishes, include Tattu’s much-loved Wok Fried Angry Bird, a flavoursome dish of crispy chicken, roasted peppers and finished with honey soy sauce and its Seven Spiced Seared Tuna, which comes served with a generous dollop of truffle and caviar.

Arcade

The latest addition to the thriving food scene at Battersea Power Station is the hotly anticipated Arcade foodhall spanning an impressive 24,000 square feet and home to some 13 different cuisines across the foodhall, which seats up to 500 people alongside 3 standalone restaurants and 2 bars.

Promoting new and innovative culinary talents by giving them a platform to establish, the Arcade Create program has been key in building the offering at the BPS outpost, and four of the eateries are exclusive to the location.

Highlights include chef-turned-social-media star Thomas Straker’s Flat Bread concept bringing his food you want to eat concept to a menu of 7 innovative flatbreads, notably of which the signatures feature a Chilli Mussel Butter Flatbread and a tasty Confit Duck Leg with Pickled Onion Flatbread.

Also serving up a storm is Siu Siu, another newcomer with Cantonese comfort food on offer, try the Char Siu Sandwich for a delicious lunchtime treat.

Le Bab

Designed by Buchanan Studio, Le Bab has also taken residency within the art deco halls of Battersea Power Station, serving up an all-day menu of its famous kebabs. A relaxed and contemporary setting plays host to the eclectic menu of Middle Eastern favourites alongside cool cocktails and an impressive wine menu.

Perfect for a lunchtime pit stop, favourites include Le Bab’s Fried Chicken, think that sort of moreish fried free range chicken that you can’t get enough of, and the Mezze Mix is a nice sharer with a glass of wine between two giving a taste of the restaurant’s delicious butter naan along with some hummus and Padron peppers.

For mains, the devilishly good Dirty Bab is the standout, grilled lamb glazed and served in a naan with a helping of fries, chilli sauce and Le Bab’s signature fondue sauce. Vegans can also rejoice as there is also a tasty Dpice-Roast  Aubergine Sabich for the taking, vegan mayo, peanut pesto and a relish wrap a spice-roasted aubergine to create a fusion of flavours too good not to try, and Le Bab plants a tree for each one sold.

The Bugis Singapore Restaurant

Having opened in its new South Kensington home at The Bailey’s Hotel, The Bugis has quickly gained a loyal following who flock here for its authentic take on Singaporean and Malay cuisine, which is cooked using age-old techniques and traditional family recipes.

Drawing on Southeast Asian influence, the menu is designed to share and is centred around plates of seafood, meat and vegetables with a highlighted selection of Singapore favourites.

 Starters range from classical dishes, Aromatic Crispy Duck and Dim Sum with standouts including its Jumbo Soft Shell Crab Salad and a beautifully done Steamed Giant Diver Scallop that melts in the mouth.

For mains, the speciality is The Bugis’ Live Lobster which comes in different flavourings; try the Singapore Style Chilli Lobster for a real sense of homestyle cooking, and the Sizzling Angus Beef is a must-try.

Text by Jaz Grewal

Designer Dining at The Chelsea Pig

 

Perhaps the pinnacle of craftsmanship and heritage, the Oulton name has long been synonymous with style. It was back in 1976 that Major Philip Oulton opened Halo Antiques in a bid to provide a good education for his two sons.

Fast forward to today, and Philip’s son, Tim, stands as one of the most sought-after names in the world of fabulous furnishings and out-of-this-world design.

Having established the Timothy Oulton brand back in 2008 when its first gallery opened in LA, the eponymous label has since gone on to pop up in Harrods and open numerous galleries worldwide with its lavishly appointed Chelsea flagship at the helm.

Now run under the creative direction of Tim’s son, Oliver Oulton, the brand counts a global empire under its wing, and before passing the reigns on last year, Tim branched out into hospitality.

The jewel in the crown is undoubtedly his first pub, The Chelsea Pig, which resides a stone’s throw away from the Kings Road flagship store.

Originally established in 1892, the pub is very much an icon amongst the Chelsea set and, following an extensive renovation, reopened in November 2021, offering an all-day dining menu and impressive drinks list against a backdrop immersed in Oulton’s signature style.

The design-led space exudes the eccentricity of the Victorian era whilst maintaining the authenticity of a gastro-pub with a neighbourhood feel.

On entering, the focal point is a rather unexpected yet very welcome aquarium filled with a diver, namely Derek, who stands proudly clad in a helmet and diving suit.

The décor is flamboyant; think leather banquettes and tonal Turkish oak beam flooring to add warmth and complement the whole all-day concept of the restaurant and pub.

Service is unpretentious; it’s just the right level of formality to suit a Chelsea dining institution, yet in keeping with the vibe echoed throughout and the element of fun synonymous with the family design business.

Foodwise, Head Chef Fionnnan Flood has created a menu showcasing classic British fare with a modern flair and focus on seasonal ingredients. Very fittingly, traditional English dishes are championed in a nod to gastro dining, yet there is a sense of theatre to the plates on offer.

Hero dishes to start include terrine of rabbit and duck and a beautifully done Longhorn beef tartare served with a nice smoked crème fraiche and focaccia.

For mains, the lamb breast is a must-try; cooked to perfection, it comes with a minted salsa verde that gives it a nice little kick. For even more traditional pub grub, the beer-battered haddock is a good take on posh fish ’n’ chips and really hits the spot.

Make sure to save some space for dessert, too. The marmalade bread pudding is a particular treat to share, with a nice dollop of cinnamon ice cream, and we quite enjoy the peppermint crème brulee after a hearty meal; it’s a perfectly indulgent way to finish the meal.

Open daily, Tuesday to Sunday, the pub serves its all-day dining menu throughout, with the additional option of a fabulous roast on Sundays – think Hereford beef rib-eye or Sutton Hoo Chicken with all the trimmings.

The Chelsea Pig has also recently launched The Apartment, a fabulous  space available for private hire.

Text by Jaz Grewal.

www.thechelseapig.co.uk

 

The Petrossian Café

 

Petrossian is synonymous with fine caviar since the family first bought the rarefied delicacy to the heart of Paris in the 1920s. Today, the eponymous caviar brand is widely acclaimed by connoisseurs globally. The family counts boutiques and restaurants across Paris, Los Angeles, New York, and now London.

Coinciding with Petrossian opening its first UK Caviar Lab just outside of London, the House has opened its first London boutique in the heart of South Kensington and a stone’s throw away from the charming stores of Fulham Road, notably including other Parisian favourites Chanel and the iconic flagship store of JOSEPH.

A striking façade in Petrossian’s signature teal blue invites guests inside to explore the world of the still family-owned brand through an experiential boutique and charming café. A chic spot and already attracting the Chelsea set, the store exudes the savoir-faire and flair Petrossian is so well known for. Stepping inside, you enter to see the deli counter, which acts almost as a focal point for the space; foodies can rejoice with the full selection of Petrossian’s caviar, smoked salmon (sliced in front of you) and other delicacies all available to buy and enjoy in the comfort of one’s home.

For the café, it’s a quaint space and makes for the perfect pit stop to enjoy some fine food and a selection of champagne and premium vodkas. Plush seating spread across room for just 16 covers sets the tone. The tables overlook the enviable deli counter, and the natural daylight from the windows comes in adds a pleasant warmth to the overall experience.

As you might expect, caviar is championed across the menu, though let this not distract you from enjoying some of the other signature dishes (the tarama is made on-site and to die for), all of which are perfect for a light bite. An array of Instagrammable dishes await; think an oven-baked potato topped with a generous dollop of caviar or Petrossian’s famed croque served with either truffle, pata negra or, of course, caviar.

The food is cooked to perfection, and the knowledgeable service elevates the whole vibe; the staff are notably passionate about their fare, and you can certainly learn a thing or two about the different varieties of caviar served along the way.

With so many standout dishes on the menu and knowing that each is cooked to perfection, you’ll soon make Petrossian’s indulgent little café and boutique you’re new local. Hot food is served between 11.30am – 3pm with cold dishes and deli plates running until 7pm for an early evening meal.

Words by Jaz Grewal.

The Best New Restaurant Openings

 

As we enter the new year, we have shortlisted the Best New Restaurant Openings across London and Manchester for your reading pleasure.

Café Biltmore 

 

Taking a prime position within one of Mayfair’s most-loved hotels, Café Biltmore is the flagship restaurant of The Biltmore and stands proudly as Grosvenor Square’s favourite spot for fine dining.

Having recently appointed Executive Head Chef Luis Campos who counts an impressive twenty-eight years of experience under his belt, the all-day dining concept offers modern cuisine with a Mediterranean twist in a sophisticated setting.

Situated adjacent to the Hotel’s lobby, Café Biltmore evokes contemporary lavishness with its high ceilings, large round tables and majestic colour palette of rich hues and golds which all elevate the scenery in this Mayfair hotspot.

Having trained under the likes of Richard Corrigan and Tom Aikens, Campos has worked at Fortnum & Mason, the Interconential Park Lane and Conrad London St. James, to name a few and has bought his wealth of culinary knowledge to create a delicious Winter menu for the Biltmore.

The Café’s champion dish is undoubtedly its Linguine with Lobster, somewhat of a signature dish it comes richly served in a tasty lobster sauce with garlic and basil.

For the rest of the menu, the Mediterranean theme is echoed through the different meat and fish dishes, with favourites including the Roasted Quail to start and the Baby Monkfish Tail as a main.

There is also the choice to have one of the steaks from the menu, with options including Hereford beef and New England grass fee Wagyu, each served with a choice of sauce and triple-cooked oven chips.

Café Biltmore is open for both dinner and lunch daily, with lunch offering both a set menu or the option to dine à la carte.

Be sure to also make a pit-stop to The Pine bar for either pre or post (or even both) dinner drinks and check out the newly launched Wanderlust collection of cocktails curated by master mixologists Nerijus Zakarevicius, Giorgio Trimboli and Alessandro Vescovi.

Studio Frantzén

 

The long-awaited Studio Frantzén has finally opened at Harrods in a first for the department store offering the heralded flavours of world-renowned and six Michelin-starred Chef Björn Frantzén in a neo-Nordic restaurant, bar and outdoor rooftop terrace.

Joining the Frantzén Group’s already celebrated restaurants across Stockholm, Bangkok and Singapore (with more openings tipped for Dubai and Shanghai in 2023) Frantzén joins an array of celebrity chefs already hosted at Harrods with Gordon Ramsay and Tom Kerridge, to name a few.

An open kitchen overlooks the innovative space, seating 112-covers, and Frantzén has crafted a menu of his signature Nordic cuisine fused with Asian influence and distinct seasonality synonymous with his dishes.

Showcasing mostly Swedish and Japanese flavours, the menu also plays on typically British dishes but with Frantzén’s flair and technical cooking technique giving a twist that complements the overall experience of innovative yet unfussy dining.

An open fire emphasises the Nordic way of preserving and smoking food. This is a continued theme throughout the menu with particular focus on a section of mains, namely ‘From The Fireplace’ with much of the grilled dishes prepared in this way.

Some of Frantzén’s hallmark flavours are featured, notably his signature Tartare of Tuna & Red Deer, which remains a standout dish on the menu, along with the Roasted Orkney Scallops, which are served with simple-yet-delectable Scrambled Duck Eggs and Black Truffle.

For the mains, you can’t really go wrong with Frantzén’s Sweden vs Japan, braised beef brisket grilled Japanese Wagyu with lemongrass jus and a drizzle of Japanese mustard, it’s the perfect embodiment of his typical East meets West influence. For something a little less hearty, try the Salad ‘bonito Caesar’, a Japanese take on a caesar salad with grilled guinea fowl, soy-braised pork belly and flavoursome black-garlic croutons.

Open daily, Studio Frantzén is also open late evenings outside of Harrods’ traditional opening hours, staying open until 11.30pm, with an earlier close on Sundays and the roof terrace closing earlier at 8.30pm and 6pm on Sundays.

TOZI Grand Cafe

 

Housed within the hotly anticipated (and finally open) art’otel London Battersea Power Station, TOZI Grand Cafe is the third opening from the TOZI group joining its counterparts in Amsterdam and London Victoria.

Strikingly design-led in keeping with the hotel it resides in, TOZI Grand Café is a sophisticated spot inspired by the iconic Grand Cafés and serves a delicious array of all-day-dining dishes from breakfast through lunch and dinner.

Designed by artist and designer Jaime Hayon, the cafe nods to European culture and architecture, which is elevated by its double-height ceiling and sculptural lighting, complemented by Hayon’s tapestries artfully positioned around the space.

Led by Executive Head Chef Lee Streeton, the menu has been devised in collaboration with TOZI Victoria’s Head Chef Maurilio Molteni and is rooted in the flavours of Northern Italy, with Venetian cooking traditions at the core of the menu’s offering.

Split into antipasti, Cicchetti, pasta, secondi and dolci, the dishes here are best shared, though the cafe also has set afternoon tea and pre-theatre menus available daily. With so many tempting dishes on one menu, it’s easy to get carried away and order a little bit of everything and don’t let us stop you from doing so.

Start with having a few antipasti and Cicchetti dishes for the table, along with one of the expertly paired aperitivi (the Bellini is a personal favourite of ours). The selection of cured meats is a nice platter for two, and the cheeses accompany the board well, too, so it’s a good idea to have both.

Make sure to also indulge in the Baked scallop and nduja, an example of the fine ingredients used at TOZI, the fusion of the freshness of the scallop and spice of the sausage, pairs perfectly as a taster dish, along with the Sicilian red prawns which are also a must-taste.

For the pasta course, the Lobster Linguine comes highly commended, though we recommend the Trofle with mushrooms and cavolo nero for a real authentic taste of Italy.

As you make it to the mains, it’s worth trying the Sugar Pit bacon chop for something a little different; think candied bacon and, of course, using only the best meat sourced from Peter Hannon’s Estate over in Ireland.

Leave room for dessert (you’ll thank us later), as the Pistachio tiramisu is second to none and pairs perfectly with the Digestivi of choice, an Espresso Martini. With such an abundance of flavour and all in a very charming setting, it’s no wonder this café-come-restaurant is already BPS’s go-to……

Open daily, TOZI Grand Cafe also serves a special weekend brunch menu with favourites, including Lobster Benedict and Culatello with fried eggs, book in advance as it does get busy.

 

MUSU

 

A unique offering to Manchester’s thriving dining scene, MUSU oozes the trendy vibes synonymous with some of London’s favourite Japanese haunts and has brought them to the buzzing Bridge Street in the city’s heart.

Four years in the making, this uber-luxe restaurant and bar is the brainchild of hospitality gurus Vincent Braine and Maris Kamara, and with Chef Patron Michael Shaw at the helm, it’s clear to see how this exceptional newcomer has already established itself as the go-to destination for undeniably exquisite food, chic interiors and a curated selection of cocktails.

Bespoke Italian furniture and subtle lighting set the tone for MUSU, and Geisha artworks adorn the walls, with the centrepiece being a visual board that spans the length of the bar. It is rumoured some £3-Million has been spent on making the restaurant the pinnacle of fine dining, and the immersive aura of the space evidently shows no expense has been spared.

Foodwise, Shaw has devised a number of tasting menus using the finest Japanese and locally sourced ingredients fusing old-age Asian cooking techniques with a modern European flair.

Simple to navigate, diners can choose to either have a Kaiseki 7 or 11-course set menu which changes on a seasonal basis, a classic Omakase menu served at the sushi counter with a dedicated chef, or to dine slightly more a la carte by choosing the Sentaku menu.

Hero dishes include MUSU’s must-try Red Prawn Tartare served with a generous helping of Kaluga Caviar, Monkfish with Black Truffle, and of course, the A5 Japanese Wagyu cooked to perfection.

MUSU is open for both lunch and dinner (serving an express Subayai menu for lunch); drop in to its flagship Nijikai party on Fridays and Saturdays to dance away until the early hours and enjoy late-night dining from a curated Izayaka menu.

 

Pulia

 

Located a few yards away from the bustling Borough Market on Stoney Street, Pulia is somewhat of a hidden gem showcasing spectacular Italian cuisine in a modern-yet-comfortable setting with a focus on the authentic flavours of Pulia.

Bringing the vibrancy of Southern Italy, the inviting décor and colour palette of dusky reds and neutrals are the perfect accompaniment for the Apulian menu served and the restaurant seating 60-covers is overlooked by a sophisticated bar which makes for a nice glass of Italian wine (or indeed Pulia’s ever-popular Aperol Spritz) before your meal.

Very much the flagship restaurant of the Pulia brand with its retail products dating back to 2012, Pulia London is sister to its Brindisi outpost and has quickly become Borough Market’s worst-kept secret for quality Apulian dishes prepared using the freshest ingredients and an exceptional dining experience.

Serving an all-day menu, the dishes vary in size, so if your more looking for a light bite over lunch, the sharing platters are a good call with a primi pasta. For hungrier diners, the menu is devised into antipasti, primi and secondi dishes with pizzas, salads and soups.

Try the Insalata di Polpo (Grilled Octopus) to start, it comes served with potatoes and a vegetable salad which really hits the spot; the Beef Carpaccio is also a popular choice, a classic dish but very well prepared and nicely topped with parmesan shavings.

The Primi (pasta) is all served al dente, so it’s as typically Apulian as it gets, the Troccoli pasta with clams, garlic and parsley is a standout dish, and the Lasagne al Pesto is again a classic dish beautifully executed.

For mains, the meat dishes are centred around the Podolica, a cattle breed from Southern Italy bred mostly for the high quality of their meat.

To savour the exceptional quality of the Podolic beef, try the meatballs or the simple sliced cutlet of Podolic calf; both are sure to delight even the fussiest of eaters. For a vegetarian option, the Melanzane alla Parmigiana is a failsafe choice and is made up of layers of fried aubergine with a generous helping of mozzarella cheese.

 

Text by Jaz Grewal.

London’s Hottest New Venues

With a flurry of exciting new London venues making their debut, we have shortlisted the three that should first be at the top of your must-visit list.

The Cross

 

The Cross has made an extravaganza of a comeback as it reopens its legendary doors, having closed them for good in 2007. With its revival comes a bang of splendour through dining, lounging and dancing in a grown-up setting and its newfound home in the heart of King’s Cross.

The club’s founders in its former glory, Billy Reid and wife Gemma, remain at the helm of this opulent hideaway which spans six floors, each playing its own soundtrack centred around dance, electronic and house music from globally renowned DJ’s.

You enter this immersive space onto the horseshoe bar, an intimate lounge space with mixologist-blended cocktails, luxe chandeliers and plush red curtains – photos are strictly off-limits throughout the club, so be prepared to have a sticker placed on your phone as you walk in.

There’s a real sense of hedonism here, as you enter a carefree yet stylish place with a trendy crowd reliving their heydays of former visits to the club back in its earlier days – and the music just elevates the experience whether you’ve come to have an intimate drink, dine or dance the night away.

Upstairs on the first floor is The Cross’s main restaurant, seating up to 54 covers; it serves a contemporary menu of seasonally changing dishes with a sharing concept in mind. Think scallop Crudo, octopus carpaccio and lamb cutlets as standout plates. Try the chips which are indulgently topped with parmesan and truffle oil, and the salads make for a delectable light dish also with options ranging from a baby kale salad to a heartier apple, cucumber and fennel salad.

As you continue your exploration of this too-cool-for-school haunt, you’ll want to check out the red room for an intimate cocktail amongst lavish surroundings of velvet and textured wallpaper before making for the roof terrace to take in the gorgeous views, and Tulum beats – end the night in the basement club, open until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays for a curated programme of DJs, cool beats and dancing into the early hours.

Lusin Mayfair

 

A firm favourite with the royals over in Saudi Arabia, Lusin already counts three successful outposts across Saudi Arabia in its portfolio, and its Mayfair branch is its first internationally.

Translating as ‘moon’ in Armenian, Lusin is the brainchild of food entrepreneur Dr Mazen Amulgbel and serves authentic Armenian cuisine in a contemporary setting situated on the iconic Hay Hill in Mayfair.

Seating 100 guests, the restaurant is set over three floors and is entered via a glitzy entrance centred around three pillars adorned with hand-made carvings designed to resemble the Armenian signs of eternity and the tree of life.

With its modern décor, Lusin airs a breath of elegance throughout, and the low lighting gives a stylish ambience to the buzzing space. Armenian influence is also echoed through the walls, which feature Armenian tuff stone sourced from the mountains in uplifting pinks, violets, anti-tobacco and black.

For the London branch, 2-Michelin-starred chef Marcel Ravin has curated a menu featuring some of his signature dishes, notably including his famed Cherry Kebab, a delectable kebab skewer charcoaled and lightly coated in cherry source made with the sour cherries grown in Armenia between June-July each year.

The menu showcases traditional cooking techniques across meat, fish and salad dishes, all prepared with a real gastronomic flair and other signature dishes on the menu include the Lusin Kibbeh made with mixed daily fresh meat and the Lusin salad, which is a hearty dish of aubergine, fresh vegetables and topped with shredded Armenian cheese.

Colonel Saab

 

Not quite a newcomer anymore but still noteworthy as it marks its first anniversary, Colonel Saab has transformed the former Holborn Town Hall into a celebrated Indian restaurant and, to commemorate the occasion, has launched an exciting tasting menu.

Primely positioned within the old town hall; the restaurant has become best known since its opening for its lavish décor adorned with an array of Indian artefacts and artworks which have been collected over the years by the restaurant’s owner Roop Partap Choudhary during his travels across India with his mother and as a homage to her and his father Binny Choudhary, otherwise known as Colonel Saab, a name lending itself to the restaurant too.

Ornate grand doors welcome you on entering, diners going downstairs are greeted with a pure silver door taken from a Gujarat temple, and those upstairs can take in the intricate detailing of a carved temple door from South India. The theme of majestic India is continued throughout the restaurant, and other luxe touches include a large drinks bar crafted by Asprey for the Maharaja of Patiala, which takes pride of place in the private dining room.

Foodwise, Colonel Saab doesn’t disappoint; the Memsaab tasting menu, launched as part of the restaurant’s first anniversary, is a culinary journey across innovative cuisine served across six courses and has been created by Chef Sohan Bhandari to give a taste of the signature flavours at the heart of his cooking and Indian flair.

You’ll enjoy hero dishes, including Chilli Mogo, a dish of crispy-fried cassava in tamarind, lotus stem koftas, and the delicious Ajwaini fish tikka that everyone raves about.

 

Words by Jaz Grewal.