For those of us who cannot wait to get back out into the world and socialise, London is awash with beautiful bars, terraces and utterly delightful restaurants to head to for a reunion or two. We take a look at some of our favourite picks to make a reservation at across the capital when restrictions are lifted.
Al fresco dining- 12 April onwards
American Bar at The Stafford, London
Old-school, classic British dining in a cobbled courtyard in the West End.
If you’re looking for a touch of sophisticated luxury with your first al fresco drink of 2021, look no further than the American Bar at The Stafford. Their beautiful cobbled terrace is Mayfair’s hidden gem – the ideal venue for catching up with friends and family in the spring sunshine. Executive chef Josef Rogulski is the man behind the menu, blending hotel favourites with more exotic flavours and techniques from across the globe. The drinks are always a knockout, whether it’s a classic cocktail or a bottle of something great, chosen by Master Sommelier Gino Nardella.
Signature dish: Chicken milanese, borlotti beans and salsa verde or a daily special from the outdoor BBQ, alongside a classic martini.
To book: thestaffordlondon.com/american-bar
Arros QD, London
A taste of Spain and paellas for sharing – because we can!
The new terrace outside Arros QD, tucked away behind Oxford Street, is ready to open on 12 April. With tables for couples, tables for six and their signature sharing paellas – this is the place to be. From the three-Michelin starred chef Quique Dacosta, Arros specialises in Valencian paella cooked over wood fire – the authentic way. Try these sizzling pans of rice, served with classic alioli and then topped with seafood, topped with seasonal veg, rabbit and chicken, all conjuring up the feel of a night in the Med!
Signature dish: Paella Valenciana: A whole pan of fire-cooked rice with rabbit, chicken, garrofo beans, rosemary and of course, alioli on the side.
To book: arrosqd.com
Indoor dining – 17 May onwards
Norma, London, Fizrovia
A slice of Italy, on Charlotte Street.
If you’ve missed the flavours of Italy, then look no further than Norma on Charlotte Street. The Sicilian favourite from The Stafford Collection and chef Ben Tish is just the ticket for transporting you to warmer climes while air travel still eludes us.
Signature dish: Small plates of spaghettini fritters and parmesan dipping sauce, lamb crudo, English burrata and black figs and other seasonal specialities. Don’t miss out on the Norma aubergine parmigiana topped with a cloud of parmesan either, bellissimo.
To book: normalondon.com
Cornerstone, London, Hackney
Hackney’s newly Michelin-starred haunt.
Newly Michelin-Starred restaurant, Cornerstone, Hackney Wick by chef Tom Brown is now taking bookings. With a celebrated seafood menu of stunning dishes showcasing seasonal British catches, highlights include: crab crumpet with cauliflower and old winchester, hake kiev with wild mushroom butter and black truffle hollandaise and Jivara chocolate mousse cake with orange jelly and milk ice cream.
Signature dish: It’s got to be the crab crumpet.
To book: cornerstonehackney.com
Nutshell, London, Covent Garden
The heart of the Silk Road in Covent Garden.
Nutshell looks forward to bringing modern Iranian fine plates to their Convent Garden restaurant again. With their subtle blend of spices, herbs, fruits and nuts that illuminate fragrant dishes inspired by the regions of Iran, chef patron, Marwa Alkhalaf has a special menu showing the wild diversity of the country, from the floral north to the spicy south.
They will open with their spring menu with highlights including: Poussin torsh – grilled poussin with buttery herbed beluga lentils, tamarind and pomegranate glaze and lemon oil, Mazandarani lamb – robata grilled lamb rump, apricot purée and saffron tomato salsa and their classic ranginak tart – toasted flour tart with dates, pistachio and spiced clotted cream.
Signature dish: Grilled poussin with buttery herbed beluga lentils.
To book: nutshelllondon.co.uk
The Game Bird, West End, London
Restaurant trolleys – we have missed you!
Whilst the American Bar at The Stafford can open in April, it’s sister restaurant The Game Bird will have to wait another month. However, it will be well worth the wait. Tuck into a selection of smoked and cured fish with all the trimmings from their trolley, or dressed crab and pate en croute? The beautiful dining room screams elegance and occasion and is the perfect spot for catching up on those missed anniversaries and celebratory dinners.
Signature dish: Chicken kiev, truffle butter and pomme puree
MUSE by Tom Aikens, Belgravia, London
Michelin-starred tasting menus in an old London townhouse.
Having just been awarded its first Michelin-star, and with only 25 seats in the house – Muse is a must-book for life after lockdown! Esteemed British chef Tom Aikens serves up tasting menus from this converted Georgian townhouse on a cobbled street in London’s old Belgravia. Inspired by his childhood and the chefs who have formed his career the dishes are clever, charming and sure to stick in your mind for some time to come. Head for lunch and try three courses, or for dinner, seven or the full 10 dishes, and enjoy some of the finest fine dining in London.
Signature dish: It’s a seasonal menu and changes regularly, but the ‘wait and see’ dessert is a winner.
To book: musebytomaikens.co.uk
Dirty Bones, London and Oxford
Bottomless brunch, and comfort food with friends.
Gather a group of friends and get down and dirty with Dirty Bones once again come May. Known and loved for their New York inspired comfort food, it’s the ideal place for really celebrating those good times and good vibes again. Relax, unwind and enjoy eating food you’ve not had to cook or wash up afterwards – what a treat! Their signature bottomless brunches may be back too.
Signature dish – Cheeseburger dumplings and a dirty Old Fashioned to wash them down.
To book: dirty-bones.com
Swingers, London, City and West End
The competitive socialising space promising the best night out in London.
Swingers, the go to place for an all-in-one night out, offers London’s most exciting food traders, alongside a round or two of good time golf! Swingers plan to get us back to socialising, safely and in style once leisure spaces reopen. Known for its 1920’s country golf setting with rolling greens, fairground-feel and the glamour of the English Riviera, the team behind Swingers are excited to welcome customers back on the 17 May where you can golf away and snack on food from Pizza Pilgrims, Made by Dough, Patty and Bun, Toreados and Hackney Gelato.
Signature dish: A Pizza Pilgrims, and a round of mini golf please!
To book: swingers.club/uk