John O'Ceallaigh, The Daily Telegraph, June 11, 2013
It's another good month for restaurant openings, with a major new venue opening its doors in The Shard and a promising collaboration likely to draw crowds to King's Cross. As ever, getting a table at the newest, most high-profile restaurants can be difficult so June is also a good time to check out other recently opened venues. You can see a list of the most interesting restaurant openings to happen in London in May here, as well as lists from April, March, February and January.
Hutong at The Shard
This month’s most exciting opening takes place on June 26, when Hutong launches on level 33 of The Shard. The name may be familiar to regularly visitors to Hong Kong – the London branch is based on the Hong Kong venue of the same name. That address, too, offers exceptional views from a skyscraper setting and serves dishes from Northern China, a region rarely strongly represented in London’s restaurants. As an indicator of what to expect, signature dishes on offer are set to include ‘red lantern soft-shell crab with dried Sichuan peppers and crispy de-boned lamb.
Grain Store, King's Cross
King’s Cross continues to gain merit as a dining destination with this month’s opening of Grain Store . Although not a vegetarian restaurant, its menu ‘de-emphasises’ meat and fish so that the emphasis is on vegetables – be they fermented, picked, smoked or simply just fresh and steamed. The Zetter Group is behind the development and Bruno Loubet is taking charge of the menu so standards should be high. The bar, meanwhile, is overseen by Tony Conigliaro, who has developed a menu that id sominated by three concepts: smoked wine, savoury cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. From the experimental savoury cocktail list you can expect dishes such as a truffle martini and a butter and hay champagne with a toasted butter and hay liqueur. The restaurant is now open but will be closed on Mondays throughout June.
Corrigan’s Mayfair is showing an endearing display of optimism by offering bespoke gourmet picnic hampers to order over the summer. Each one is freshly prepared and contains three dishes per person, half a bottle of champagne and mineral water, homemade bread, crockery, cutlery, glassware and a blanket – should the sun suddenly start to shine you’re all set for an emergency trip to the park. The picnic costs £45 for one person, or £75 for two people. For anyone who wants to further finesse their picnics, Corrigan’s Mayfair will also be hosting a picnic master class with head chef Chris McGowan on Saturday July 1. The session will teach participants how to cook a range of high quality dishes that are suitable for al fresco dining, and will end with the group enjoying a private picnic in Grosvenor Square Gardens, complete with butler service. Guests will leave with a goody bag and a copy of Richard Corrigan’s cookbook; the experience costs £250 per person, with additional guests able to join the picnic for £90 per person.
Tom's Kitchen, Canary Wharf
Tom Aikens Group will be launching a Tom’s Kitchen restaurant in Westferry Circus in Canary Wharf on June 29. Those familiar with the Tom’s Kitchens restaurants in Chelsea and Somerset House can expect a similar set-up, with the modern, relaxed brasserie serving popular British dishes from morning until late. The venue will also house a deli for take-away orders, which should prove popular with the abundance of office workers nearby.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, One Adwych
The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical opens at Theatre Royal Drury Lane this month and, to celebrate, the One Aldwych hotel has now launched its Charlie and the Chocolate Afternoon Tea . As tie-ins go, it’s an intuitive partnership, with Roald Dahl’s book providing One Aldwych chefs with plenty of creative fodder. In addition to a range of sandwiches and scones, the neu includes golden eggs filled with vanilla cheesecake and mango, chocolate caramel milk served in miniature milk jugs and homemade candyfloss. The ‘Cocktail Charlie’ accompaniment, meanwhile, is laced with whisky, chocolate bitters and Grand Marnier Cherry, and is served in a beaker that billows smoke. The tea costs from £29.50 per person, or £38 per person with a glass of champagne or cocktail.
Pimm's Summer Garden
Pimm’s has cleverly cultivated a long-standing association with summer, and that’s a position the drinks brand will be consolidating further this June with the launch of the first ever Pimm’s Summer Garden. From June 19-29, an indoor space at 5 Great Newport Street will be transformed into something resembling an English country garden, complete with the smell of freshly cut grass and chirruping birds. Visitors are invited to drink Pimm’s at the bar, book a blanket for a picnic or participate in activities including cucumber whittling and swingball. The venue is open from noon to 10.30pm daily; more information is available via Pimm’s Facebook page .
Shaka Zulu, Camden
Camden-based South African lounge, restaurant and club Shaka Zulu is again in experimental mode. The venue has this month launched a champagne and oyster bar, with its most distinctive feature being its range of oyster-infused cocktails made with a single oyster. On offer are a ‘sipping Mary’, a variant of a bloody Mary and an oyster martini; the oyster shot is a jolt of tequila with oyster, Tabasco sauce, black pepper and lemon juice. Shaka Zulu previously challenged its customers’ taste buds by serving meat-flavoured cocktails (made with bacon vodka, chorizo-infused vodka and so on), so serving unusual concoctions isn’t uncharacteristic.
Catch champagne bar, Liverpool Street
Catch champagne bar and lounge, found within the Andaz hotel in Liverpool Street, reopens towards the end of this month. The revamped venue will offer high-quality snacks as part of its service but the focus is firmly on the drinks – the bar will stock a collection of more than 70 champagnes so it should become a port of call for City workers stationed nearby or anybody with something to celebrate.
The Happenstance, St Paul's
The Happenstance is the latest venue to be opened by London-based bar and restaurant group Drake & Morgan, whose portfolio currently includes The Refinery, The Anthologist and The Parlour. On Ludgate Hill by St Paul’s Cathedral, the bar and restaurant will be open from morning to night serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, drinks, dinner and cocktail as the day progresses. As with other D&M venues, The Happenstance will aim for a sleek and stylish look, with exposed brickwork, reclaimed timber flooring, pendant lighting and an open-plan kitchen all part of the framework. Floor-to-ceiling windows at ground level, meanwhile, will make the most of the view towards the cathedral, while an on-site deli and florist should add an extra dash of vibrancy to the venue.
The Hutch Club, Mayfair
Open from June until the end of August, The Hutch Club at Qaglino's in Mayfair is described as a cocktail and jass pop-up bar, its development inspired by the glamorous get-togethers enjoyed by the venue's first guests in 1929. Named after a popular cabaret entertainer from that era, The Hutch Club features a martini bar, private drinking den, (boutique alcoholic) popcorn bar and will host live jass performances on Fridays and Saturdays. Reservations are required; the Hutch Club site has more details.