New London restaurant openings in August

Here’s a little summary of what’s to hit the capital in the coming month. All details are as accurate as possible and updated as and when they’re confirmed. If I’ve missed any exciting new places off this list, please get in touch!

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Pizza PilgrimPizza Pilgrims
When? 1 August
What is it? Popular pizza van makes the jump to a permanent restaurant in Soho, W1
Who’s behind it? Brothers James and Thom Elliot and their colleague Louis Lilly, who have been making waves with their travelling Neapolitan pizza van
Size? TBC
What’s on the menu? Traditional Neapolitan sourdough pizzas – using ingredients sourced from in and around Naples, including San Marzano tomatoes, Fior Di Latte and Nduja, a spicy sausage from Calabria
Contact: Dean Street, London W1; 07780 667258; @pizzapilgrims

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Tommis Burger JointTommi’s Burger Joint
When?
6 August
What is it? Icelandic burger chain reopens in a new location in Marylebone, W1
Who’s behind it? The team who ran the previous Tommi’s on Marylebone Lane, including Icelandic entrepreneur Tomas Tómasson
Size? TBC
What’s on the menu? All burgers served with fries, béarnaise and cocktail sauces. Options include plain, cheese, veggie and steak burgers with extra cheese and bacon also available. Drinks include free coffee and a range of milkshakes
Contact: TBC on Thayer Street; info@burgerjoint.co.uk; @BurgerJointUk

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Flesh & BunsFlesh & Buns
When?
8 August
What is it? London’s first restaurant specialising in hirata buns (DIY filled steamed buns) inspired by Japanese izakayas in Covent Garden, WC2
Who’s behind it? Former Zuma chef Ross Shonhan and the team behind Bone Daddies in Soho, with ex-Roka chef Joe McCafferty in the kitchen
Size? 140, design by Fredereck Sage
What’s on the menu? A range of flesh (i.e. fillings for the buns) including slow roasted shoulder of lamb with Korean flavours; whole baby chicken with yuzu koshu; and robata grilled seabass with coriander miso, with salad vegetables, sauces and pickles on the side. Otherwise there’ll be sushi and sashimi, oysters and Japanese bar snacks, plus desserts such as Kinako doughnuts with black sugar custard; and crispy banana yuzu mojito sorbet
Contact: 41 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LX; @FleshandBuns

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LeCOQLeCoq
When? Early August
What is it? Neighbourhood rotisserie in Islington, N1
Who’s behind it? Sisters Ana and Sanja Morris. Sanja founded Salt Yard Group and Ana was a chef at Salt Yard, Bocca di Lupo and Rochelle Canteen and most recently at Silkstone catering in New York
Size? 40 covers, plus 16 private dining
What’s on the menu? Starters such as charred whole broad bean pods with dill crème fraîche; and jasmine tea-cured char with beetroot remoulade: next to by rotisserie free-range chicken with seasonal sides such as braised fennel or rainbow chard with pancetta. Puddings will include gooseberry and elderflower custard tart and a range of Sorbitium ice-creams
Contact: @LeCoqrestaurant

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SmokehouseSmokehouse
When? 19 August
What is it? New gastro pub on the former site of the House in Islington, N1
Who’s behind it? Noble Inns, which also owns the Princess of Shoreditch, the Lady Ottoline and the Pig and Butcher in Islington, with former John Salt chef Neil Rankin in the kitchen.
Size? TBC
What’s on the menu? Drinks will include 20 different craft beers, local ales and an exclusively European wine list. The food offer will have a “strong barbeque influence using a real wood and charcoal offset smoker, a bespoke robata grill and green eggs”. Typical dishes will include lobster and spring onion frittata, fritto misto with romesco, short-rib Bourguignon, pork mixed grill and peppered ox cheek with cauliflower cheese and gravy. There will also be specials of rib racks and brisket from the smoker and a bar menu to including a foie gras club sandwich, crab on toast and chicken fried ribs.
Contact: 63-69 Canonbury Road, London N1 2DG; @smokehouseN1

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sager-wildeSager and Wilde
When? August
What is it? Pop-up wine bar goes permanent on the site of the former British Lion pub in Hoxton, E2
Who’s behind it? Husband and wife team Michael and Charlotte Sager-Wilde
Size? 60
What’s on the menu? The focus will be on wine, with a large selection available by the glass at ‘less than retail’ prices. There will also be a selection of wines on tap and a “super high-end” blackboard list. The food offer meanwhile will be simple, including grilled cheese sandwiches, bread from Better Health bakery, charcuterie from Picco Salumi and cheese from Androuet
Contact: 193 Hackney Road, London E2 8JL; @sagerandwilde

Parma Ham with Scallops and Gremolata

Parma Ham and ScallopsParma Ham with Scallops and Gremolata
Serves 6

Ingredients:
6 scallops in their shell
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp roughly chopped pine nuts
2 tbsp roughly chopped pistachios
6 slices of Parma Ham

Gremolata:
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 tbsp finely chopped flat parsley
3 tbsp olive oil

Method:
Mix together all the ingredients for the gremolata and season to taste.
Season the scallops and cook on the griddle for 3 minutes a side.
Slice each scallop in half and place in a scallop shell, spoon over a little gremolata and then top with pine nuts and pistachios.
Finish with a slice of Parma Ham.

Beneath the Whites – Fergus Henderson

fergus_henderson_patricia_nivenFergus Henderson is the ultimate chef’s chef, whose nose-to-tail philosophy of cooking has inspired a whole generation of chefs. Together with Trevor Gulliver he has run the world-famous St John restaurant in Clerkenwell for nearly 20 years, along with St John Bread and Wine in nearby Spitalfields, which opened in 2003. He has published three books in his Nose to Tail series

What’s your earliest food memory?
Crème brûlée at the Hole in the Wall in Bath. I was very young but clearly remember thinking: “I want part of this action!”

What’s your favourite smell?
The musk of white truffle.

What’s your idea of comfort food?
Mince and tatties with frozen peas.

Who’s had the biggest influence on your cooking?
Mum – she is a wise and careful cook, who cooks excellent British food.

What’s your favourite cookbook?
Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.

What do you never cook without?
A wooden spoon.

What’s the worst thing people can do to food?
Too much.

Have you ever kicked someone out of your restaurant?
Once, early days. A couple said I was lying about what was in their starter.  At that point I could see no reason for them to continue their lunch at St John.

When are you happiest?
Generally happy.

What makes you sad?
Loneliness.

What would your superpower be?
Instead of one power, could I enhance a few?

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Pleasure is rarely guilty!

What’s the most disgusting or weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Dog in Vietnam. It tastes of wet dog.

What’s on your perfect sandwich?
Sausage and brown sauce in a crusty roll.

How do you like your eggs in the morning?
Four-ish minutes. Soft yolk, firming white.

Where did you have your best meal this year?
Sushi Tetsu. I love the fact that the only ordering you do is when Hiro the chef asks how long your lunch will be: two, three or four hours, and it is delicious!

If you could travel in time, where would you go?
To be around Brunel; the building of the GWR and then SS Great Britain.

Follow Fergus on Twitter @Mr_St_JOHN

In-Digestion – a summary of the latest restaurant reviews

In-DigestionTracey MacLeod goes in search of the perfect burger but fails to find it at new London arrivals Shake Shack and Five Guys. The Independent’s food critic is let down by both the US burger exports, saying Shake Shack is a “greasy bag of disappointment”, while Five Guys is “a place you could never get tired of hating”. Ouch.

Meanwhile Grace Dent, writing for the London Evening Standard, disagrees entirely with MacLeod. To her Five Guys burgers are “wholly, succulently, conversation-stoppingly addictive”, while at Shake Shack she has the “best burger she’s ever eaten”.

Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan’s latest restaurant the French in Manchester doesn’t impress the Guardian’s Marina O’Loughlin, who says that unlike all the other critics and blogosphere, she “just doesn’t get it”.

Matthew Norman, writing in the Daily Telegraph, says Caldesi in Campagna in the culinary hotspot of Bray in Berkshire is a fine restaurant, which just needs a little more confidence.

French chef Bruno Loubet’s latest restaurant Grain Store in King’s Cross offers cooking that is so clever, fresh and fun, Joe Warwick can overlook a room that he’ll always find hard to love in his review for Metro.

The London Evening Standard’s Fay Maschler finds intriguing street food, oriental tapas and absolute value for money at not so new Japanese restaurant Kirazu in Soho.

In Scotland, the Scotsman’s Gaby Soutar says at Iglu in Edinburgh there’s more disparity between the starters/puddings and the main courses than any other place she’s visited; while the Sunday Herald’s Joanna Blythman says Glasgow’s Gandolfi Fish is a restaurant that needs to be “taken by the scruff of the neck, shaken up and reinvigorated”.

Finally, the Observer’s Jay Rayner goes in search of good restaurants in Belfast and finds them in Italian-inspired restaurant Coppi, fish restaurant Mourne Seafood Bar and Ox Restaurant.

The Week in Restaurants – news round-up

Marcus WareingMarcus Wareing hit the news this week after his two-Michelin-starred restaurant at the Berkeley hotel scored just one out of five in a food hygiene rating. However, the chef instantly hit back at the Westminster City Council report, insisting it highlighted a ‘technicality’ and that he would appeal against the rating. “My kitchen is a bloody Rolls-Royce that has customers in it, on my chef’s table, daily,” he said.

James MartinCelebrity chef and Saturday Kitchen presenter James Martin is the latest chef to open a restaurant in Manchester. Taking over the Linen restaurant at Manchester235 Casino at the Great Northern Warehouse, James Martin Manchester will open in September offering his signature style of modern British fare, with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.

Back in London Huw Gott and Will Beckett, the duo behind the hugely successful Hawksmoor group of steak restaurants, has announced plans to open a fifth site in the capital. Foxlow, on St John Street in Clerkenwell, will open in November “serving great meat from ethically reared animals, an interesting wine list, phenomenal cocktails and relaxed, friendly service from people who love what they do”.

Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens will launch a new restaurant in south London later this year called Kitchenette. Located on the former Fish & Grill site, on Putney Bridge Road, it will be a relaxed restaurant serving Mediterranean and European dishes such as seafood linguine or steak au poivre as menu staples.

BurgerSoho House Group is set to expand its Dirty Burger concept, with the launch of a second site south of the river in Tooting next month. The company, which launched the first Dirty Burger in Kentish Town last year, plans to open further sites in Mile End and Vauxhall before the end of the year.

Remaining on the topic of junk food, a report by the Soil Association has claimed that children’s menus at the UK’s leading restaurant and pub chains remain “unhealthy and unimaginative“. Dominated by nuggets, burgers, sausages, ready meals and fizzy drinks, there is still little fresh fruit or vegetables on offer. Jamie’s Italian, Wagamama and the Wetherspoon pub chain were placed highest, with Burger King, KFC and Prezzo coming bottom.

London’s Mayor Boris Johnson has outlined a plan to turn cooking oil used by the capital’s restaurants and food service businesses into fuel for buses. He wants to create processing plants to convert an estimated 44 million litres of cooking oil into biodiesel.

David CollinsOne of the most influential restaurant designers of his generation, David Collins passed away this week aged 58 after a “short but valiant” battle with skin cancer. Credited with putting the taste into Britain’s restaurants, he developed the interiors of some of London’s most celebrated establishments, including Nobu Berkeley, J Sheekey, the Wolseley, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and the Connaught Hotel’s bar. His death marks a huge loss for both the hospitality and the design industries in the UK.

Over in Spain, Can Fabes, the former three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Catalonia, is set to close after 32 years. Formerly run by chef Santi Santamaria, who died of a sudden heart attack aged 53 in 2011, the restaurant will shut its doors on 31 August.

Andre Garrett, head chef at the Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows on the 28th floor of the London Hilton Park Lane, is set to leave the restaurant after seven years at its helm. A former Roux Scholar, Garrett declined to reveal plans of where he is going next but industry sources suggest he is joining Cliveden House Hotel in Berkshire, where iconic chef Albert Roux started his UK career 60 years ago.

BA cinemaFinally, fellow former Roux Scholar and Michelin-starred chef Simon Hulstone from the Elephant in Torquay, Devon, has created  five movie-inspired popcorn flavours for British Airways designed to “bring films alive” at the airline’s special cinema event in London next week. Flavours include Shark Bite (prawn, tuna, seaweed and umami); Take My Breath Away (a combination of fiery chili and San Diego spices); Shaken not Stirred Martini (vermouth, olives, bitters and gin); Suncream Flavour (coconut, Malibu, mango and passion fruit); and Millionaire’s Curry Caramel (mixed Indian spices, caramel sauce and creamy butter). The treats are intended to be eaten while watching five pre-selected films inspired by flying and travel: Jaws, Top Gun, Skyfall, The Beach and Slumdog Millionaire.

Iconic Spanish restaurant Can Fabes to close

Santi SantamariaCan Fabes, the former three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Catalonia in northern Spain, is set to close after 32 years.

Formerly run by iconic chef Santi Santamaria (pictured), who died of a sudden heart attack aged 53 in 2011, the restaurant will shut its doors on 31 August.

The move comes a year after the Santamaria family closed their restaurant at the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore, where Santi died after collapsing in the kitchen. At the time the family announced they wanted to focus on their business in Spain.

The end of Can Fabes marks another blow for Catalonia’s celebrated food scene after the closure of El Bulli last year, which will reopen in a completely different guise as the El Bulli Foundation, a centre of creativity and learning, in 2014. The region now has just one three-Michelin-starred restaurant: El Celler de Can Roca, which was this year named the best restaurant in the world.

Can Fabes, which first opened in 1981, was the first restaurant in Catalonia to gain Michelin’s top accolade of three stars in 1994 and it retained the rating until 2012, when it was demoted to two stars.

Santi Santamaria’s food philosophy was founded on tradition and authenticity, seasonality and provenance with very subtle avant-garde touches. In more recent years, the restaurant was run by his daughter Regina Santamaria and under the culinary direction of head chef Jerome Bondaz and chef-consultant Ivan Solà.

Before his death, Santi hit the news when he publicly described Spain’s more avant-garde chefs, such as Ferran Adrià, as “a gang of frauds whose work is to distract snobs”.

His comments sparked a battle of words with Adrià, which worsened when Santamaria claimed he and Adrià had had an “ethical and conceptual divorce over what we put on the plate” and accused the El Bulli chef of using gelling agents and synthetic additives that represented a health threat to his customers.

Sake masterclass at Sake No Hana

Sake No HanaModern Japanese restaurant Sake No Hana has launched an Introduction to Sake masterclass. The course, which takes place at the St James restaurant on the first Saturday of every month until October, offers an extensive overview of the history and cultural relevance of Japan’s national drink, as well as a wide-ranging sake tasting and a four-course lunch.

It is hosted by Christine Parkinson, head wine buyer of the Hakkasan Group (which owns Sake No Hana) who is also a sake judge at the annual International Wine Challenge; alongside wine writer Anthony Rose, who is co-chairman of Tokyo’s International Sake Challenge. The duo is immensely knowledgeable on the subject of sake, making the course ideal for anyone who has an interest in Japanese food, drink and culture. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a sake enthusiast or complete novice, you’ll definitely learn something new.

sake-bottlesAt roughly four hours, the masterclass starts with an insight on how sake is produced. Despite it commonly being called a rice wine, it actually resembles beer more than wine as sake is brewed, converting starch to sugar for the fermentation process.

Next up is an overview of the different categories of sake, which range from futsu-shu (ordinary sake), to junmai and honjozo (premium), and junmai daiginjo and daiginjo (super premium sake) as well as a bit of history on sake and how the Japanese like to enjoy it. There are lots of really interesting tidbits: for instance there are now less than 2,000 sake breweries in Japan compared to 30,000 in the 19th century; some brewers add alcohol to their premium sake much dividing critics’ opinions; sake doesn’t keep well and should be drunk within a year; and you should never serve yourself sake, you should always pour it for someone else.

sakeThe actual sake tasting takes in seven different types of sake, of which two are served both hot and cold, one is sparkling and one is cloudy, as well as one umeshu, a traditional Japanese plum wine.

Some of the sake is served with the four-course lunch at the restaurant. Sake No Hana is one of London’s top Japanese restaurants and the sake course is worth doing just for the food alone. We were offered lots of different options from the tasting menu – I went for red miso soup with Asari clams and deep-fried tofu; Chilean seabass hobayaki; a selection of sushi; and a ridiculously indulgent chocolate dessert decorated with edible gold.

Priced £60 per person, the Sake No Hana Introduction to Sake masterclass and lunch is really great value. I’d say it’s a must for any Japanese food and drink enthusiast in London.

For more information or to book, visit the Sake No Hana website.

Six chefs with 17 Michelin stars to cook at the Ultimate Dinner

Neil PerryAustralian chef Neil Perry, owner of the Rockpool group of restaurants, has unveiled the line-up for the 2013 Ultimate Dinner, his annual charity event, which this year brings together five guest chefs with 17 Michelin stars between them.

Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz, Ben Shewry and Brett Graham will come together to cook alongside Perry at the event, which raises funds for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Since its inception in 2003, the Ultimate Dinner has helped to raise more than $1m for the charity.

Heston BlumenthalThe Ultimate Dinner will take place at the Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney in September. Each of the six chefs will cook one course, with each dish paired with an Australian wine. There will also be a second dinner at Rockpool Bar & Grill in Perth but instead of Blumenthal, Thai food enthusiast David Thompson will be cooking.

“We are all passionate about the work we do for charity and love coming together for this event to create a one-off menu using the best produce and wine in the country,” Perry said. “It’s not every day that we get five of the world’s best and most admired chefs in the one room on the one night.”

In-Digestion – a summary of the latest restaurant reviews

In-DigestionMarina O’Loughlin says Adam’s in Birmingham is one of those restaurants that’s far more about the chef than the diner. The Guardian’s food critic says although many of chef patron Adam Stokes’ dishes are “glorious, technically assured while still being the kind of stuff you want to ram down your neck” the restaurant is anything but comfy. “If you asked even the hardest-core restaurant fan to create their fantasy dining destination, it’s doubtful they’d come up with Adam Stokes’ and his wife Natasha’s new place,” she says.

Meanwhile husband-and-wife team Robin and Sarah Gill’s new restaurant The Dairy overlooking Clapham Common in south London is so good, it makes die-hard north Londoner Joe Warwick consider permanently crossing the Thames. “This is fantastic, creative cooking – reasonably priced, served in an unpretentious fashion with passion and professionalism, in a fun, low-key setting,” he writes in Metro.

The Observer’s Jay Rayner is impressed by former Nopi executive chef Sarit Packer and her husband Itamar’s Middle Eastern restaurant Honey & Co. “This is indeed food made by people who like to eat. It is food that cares less about how it looks than how it tastes,” he enthuses.

Writing in The Times Giles Coren enjoys “glorious cooking” and a “totally uncompromising experience of Kyoto” at Japanese restaurant Shiori.

Small plates, hopeless acoustics and the belief system that sharing makes the world go around dominate at Picture, a new restaurant from an ex-Arbutus and Wild Honey team, according to the London Evening Standard’s Fay Maschler.

Lisa Markwell of the Independent on Sunday says at old-school Italian Acciuga the food is as authentic as it is comforting and made with clarity and not foolishly overpriced .

The Daily Telegraph’s Matthew Norman is disappointed with potato-themed restaurant Potato Merchant, saying: “It doesn’t have a clue whether it’s Arthur or Martha, King Edward or Maris Piper.”

In Scotland, the Sunday Herald’s Joanna Blythman finds a high level of confidence in the kitchen at the Vintage in Edinburgh, while The Scotsman‘s Gaby Soutar enjoys the carnivorous menu at the Meat Bar in Glasgow.

 

Fäviken’s Magnus Nilsson to headline this year’s Abergavenny Food Festival

Magnus NilssonCelebrity chefs including Magnus Nilsson, Rick Stein and Bryn Williams are headlining this year’s Abergavenny Food Festival, the famous culinary celebration in Wales.

Nilsson is the head chef of renowned restaurant Fäviken not far from the Arctic Circle in remote northern Sweden, who gained world-fame through his book of the same name. The restaurant, which only has 12 seats, serves an innovative menu of locally sourced ingredients, with Nilsson’s very own take on Swedish cuisine.

“Magnus Nilsson will be giving a talk on Saturday at 2pm. He’s such an upcoming chef, articulate and a very dynamic man. It should be very interesting,” festival co-founder and programming director Martin Orbach told a local paper.

“He will not be cooking as there would not be the resources he needs, the ingredients he uses are all locally sourced and foraged. He will be talking to the TV chef Valentine Warner, who knows Magnus, and has been filming in Scandinavia, basically giving an introduction and explaining what Fäviken is all about.”

Other highlights at the Abergavenny Food Festival, which takes place from 19 to 22 September, will include masterclasses by top Welsh chef Bryn Williams from Odette’s in London and 2012 MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo, who will be cooking vegetarian dishes. There will also be tutored tastings with Master Chocolatier Marc Demarquette, as well as real ale enthusiast Scott Davies and beer writer Jeff Evans.

Meanwhile seafood aficionado Rick Stein will hold a talk at the Borough Theatre on Friday evening, the night before the festival starts, speaking about his memoir Under a Mackerel Sky.

For full details visit the Abergavenny Food Festival website.