The best London restaurant openings of 2015
From glamourous dining rooms to streetfood hotspots, we survey London's culinary scene to look back on the year's top openings
Well, fortunately, we're on hand to offer you our guide to the year's best openings. In no particular order, because we love them all so much that it would just be cruel, we present our favourites.
Anglo-French cooking at its finest
A collaboration between Allan Pickett and André Blais, Piquet is a glorious fusion of English and French cooking. The ambience is relaxed, putting the spotlight on the seasonally-selected food. Both might be national cuisines with an emphasis on meat, but vegetarians oughtn't fear; the pumpkin and toasted barley stew must be one of the best dishes we've tried this year. Refined and carefully-executed, we can heartily recommend Piquet.
Another glittering success for the Ivy owner
With Sexy Fish, The Ivy owner Richard Caring brought us one of the year's most peculiarly named restaurants, as well as one of its most glamorous. Boasting a lavish dining room, and walls adorned by the work of Damien Hirst and Frank Gehry, the approach is decidedly maximalist. Ben Orpwood's fish and seafood menu doesn't disappoint either, boasting a smorgasbord of bold Asian-inspired dishes.
Sethi brothers bring Sri Lankan streetfood to Soho
When they opened Gymkhana in 2013, the Sethi brothers were met with uproarious praise. Now they've turned their attention to Sri Lankan streetfood. The eponymous (not to mention delectable) rice pancake might be the main event, but for larger appetites, roasts are also available. Living up to their high standards, the Sethi's new venture is sure to become a firm lunchtime favourite.
Pitch perfect steamed buns
Hoppers is not the only Soho hotspot that the Sethis have helped make a reality this year. They also threw their backing behind Bao, another restaurant named for its signature dish. Their steamed buns are handmade to cushiony perfection, with a range of fillings including braised pork and daikon radish. A range of other small dishes are also on offer, and are perfectly accompanied by a cup of Oolong and cold foam tea.
Authentic Tokyo-style Yakitori comes to Dalston
Delicious Yakitori skewers and crispy fried chicken take centre stage at the new Tokyo inspired Jidori in Dalston. We recommend the katsu curry scotch egg and the tsukume chicken skewers, and don't leave without trying the genius miso caramel, crispy sweet potato and sesame ice cream for pudding.
A taste of the French Riviera in Chelsea
We can hardly throw enough superlatives Bandol's way, suffice to say this Chelsea opening serves some of the best Provencal and Nicoise cooking we've had the pleasure of trying. The ingredients are gloriously fresh, the flavours perfectly balanced, and the wines brilliantly curated. And the black squid ink risotto is a serious contender for our dish of the year.
Scandinavian smokehouse has your barbecue needs covered
Translating as 'smoke' in Swedish, Rök is Shoreditch's foremost Nordic barbecue spot, boasting a seriously impressive menu. Charcoal-smoked meats are, of course, well represented but so too are more left-field dishes: burnt apples and charred broccoli certainly caught our attention.
Wine and food pair perfectly on Lamb's Conduit Street
The team behind the Noble Rot magazine, the endlessly readable quarterly that brings together in depth wine knowledge with music and entertainment coverage, opened one of our favourite new restaurants of the year. An extensive wine list to suit every taste and budget, and food from a team with a seriously impressive pedigree (The Sportsman and St John), make this one not to miss.
Lombard cuisine gets its moment in the sun
Tucked under a railway arch in London Fields, Il Cudega serves one of the more neglected varieties of Italian cuisine. Specialising in Lombard dishes, this informal deli-cum-restaurant brings the very best Alpine flavours to its Hackney environs. Immense care has gone into sourcing from the very best producers and you can really tell. From the pumpkins to the juniper berries, every ingredient sings.