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2010 was an impressive year for restaurants in London, ending with a flurry of new openings including Brawn, the new venture from the team behind Terroirs on Columbia Road in East London, which is already delighting bloggers and reviewers alike; The Savoy Grill, Gordon Ramsay’s grand reincarnation at The Savoy; and Roux at The Landau, a new venture for the Roux family at The Langham hotel.
Heston Blumenthal’s first foray into the London restaurant scene will be at the Mandarin Oriental from 31st January 2011 with ‘Dinner’ by Heston, which is certainly the most anticipated opening of this year. Marcus Wareing will open The Gilbert Scott, a British brasserie at the St Pancras Renaissance hotel in February, which will also feature a 52-seat bar. Another Michelin darling, Claude Bosi from Hibiscus in Mayfair, is opening the Fox & Grapes gastropub in Wimbledon on 1st February. The new pub, which also has three bedrooms attached, is a collaboration with brother Cedric and former sous-chef at Hibiscus, Patrick Leano.
The Soho restaurant and members’ club Quo Vadis launched a new bar at the start of the year. The QV Bar is located on the ground floor next to the restaurant with its own menu of British classics and cocktails from mixologist Paul Mant.
Nearby in Soho, Ottolenghi will open a restaurant in February, serving sharing-size portions of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine. NOPI (North of Piccadilly) will be on the site of the old Club Bar & Dining.
Leicester Square will shortly be home to two new hotels with the St John Hotel due to open in January, to be followed by the W Hotel, the first W Hotel in the UK, which should be open in time for Valentine’s Day. The W Hotel will feature ‘Spice Market’, a restaurant that is already a big hit in New York, from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, a culinary heavyweight in America.
Heading over to Covent Garden, the team behind tapas restaurants Salt Yard and Dehesa are launching the Opera Tavern on the edge of the Covent Garden Piazza on 20 January, and over in Marylebone, Andrei Lesment, previously of Baltic, brings the flavours of Scandinavia to the West End with his 26 cover restaurant, Verru.
The Restaurant at the Royal Academy of Arts has had a touch-up with a new all-day dining restaurant from Oliver Peyton. The British menu will also feature a selection of tapas-style small plates and terrines, and over 20 wines will be available by the glass.
Another refurbishment sees the Waterloo Brasserie re-open as the Waterloo Bar and Grill opposite The Old Vic theatre in Waterloo, which also has a large bar area downstairs, ideal for private parties.
On the fringes of London, London Syon Park, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, is set to open in early 2011, in the grounds of a 200-acre English country estate, Syon Park. The hotel will look out across the Thames to Kew Gardens, and it is ideally situated between London and Heathrow. Its restaurant, The Capability, will be run by chef Lee Streeton, formerly of The Ivy and Brown’s Hotel. Phew! We can’t keep up.