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5 NEW LONDON RESTAURANTS YOU'LL WANT TO VISIT
THE NEWEST LONDON RESTAURANTS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER VISITING
As the Beach Boys once lamented 'A brand new restaurant is such a beautiful thing'. - Ok so that's not a direct quote, but close enough. For someone like me who has a love affair with food, the opening of a new restaurant and the prospect of finding the next cool thing, amps my salivation glands to heightened levels of unapologetic secretion. I've been mining the menus, gorging like a ravenous crow on road-kill at the newest London restaurants, and here are the ones you should consider.
It took nearly five years to get the permits, licences and planning consent to turn a derelict Smithfield warehouse into a Cuban coffee roastery, bakery, Mojito bar and café-restaurant – but now, the NEW Cubana in the heart of London’s Smithfield is finally open. As I perused the opulent vistas of the dining area, slightly jealous not to be seated under the table with the thatched umbrella, admiring the majestic palm trees, I thought what a shame. What a shame Gloria Estefan wasn't here serenading me that I couldn't blaze up a Cuban cigar and order a tequila. Of course I'm spoilt, and pontificate pointlessly. I don't smoke Cubans, drink Tequila, and I'm not an EsteFAN. Cubana Smithfield builds on Cubana Waterloo’s increasingly strong food offer to include an artisan bakery and coffee roaster featuring a 15 kilo batch Giessen roaster, to complement its well-known Mojito and tropical cocktail bar. The bread was delicious, the art-deco on entrance is a fantastic pastiche of Cuban village life and makes for a great photo opportunity. Highlights from the menu were the Camarones con gabardina y salsa de mango y chilli (Prawns in a light tempura batter, served with fresh mango- chilli salsa) and the Pollo Criollo. A Cuban classic – and one of our signature dishes. Free range chicken casseroled in fresh orange, sherry, onions and garlic, served with plantain and black bean rice. The manageress is easy on the eye, the rest of the staff are equally as accommodating and well worthy of their awards and commendations from Compassion in World Farming for their free-range policy.
It's a little confusing to see the word Gymnasium used in a title for a restaurant. I normally like to put calories on when I'm eating - am I supposed to do dips on the bar after each course? What's going on in this place I wonder? Originally designed as the first purpose-built gym in England, this Grade II-listed building is conveniently situated in the heart of vibrant King’s Cross. German Gymnasium serves Mittel-European inspired dishes all day long, across two floors and out on its vast heated terraces. Not only will you be experiencing some first-hand German efficiency, but you'll also be revelling in some wonderful architecture in a building steeped in history.
THE CARIBBEAN SMOKEHOUSE
It's amazing how far a guy can go if you have the name, the look and the backing of a millionaire. Take nothing away from Levi Roots who stormed the Dragons Den with his acoustic guitar and sang about a cooking sauce. He is running with the hand god dealt him and cleaning house (Poker reference). I equate Levi Roots to the condiment version of Moby. Moby is formulaic, consistent, and has a core audience to whom which he always delivers. Levi Roots has hijacked Moby's money-train philosophy of sticking to what you know, and is continuing to wring that cash-cow bar towel for every last drop. Levi's latest enterprise is the new Caribbean Smokehouse on the Eastside of London. They aim to serve the best Jerk Chicken in the world amongst other traditional Caribbean favourites, including smoked meats and vegetables all finished on a real jerk pit.
Surely this place would have been an ideal Bond location for Spectre. Instead they chose Rules, London's oldest restaurant. That film is perfect apart from that scene in the restaurant. No way should M, being a former field agent, have his back to the door in that restaurant. Anyway I digress. The new M Restaurant on Victoria Street is a multifaceted venue housing a Grill Dining Room, Raw Bar, both Public and Private Members Bars, private dining, event spaces and a wine tasting room, all of which one enters via a wine store. Returning from Melbourne to the London Restaurant Scene and opening M Victoria St is Executive Chef Michael Reid, who trained at both Le Gavroche and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.
I've got time for any restaurant where I can rock up in flares with a lion-mane haircut looking like Barry Gibb. The fact I don't own a pair of flares or have a single hair on the crown of my head is beside the point. Coin Laundry is a laid-back neighbourhood bar serving up proper comfort food, 70s revival cocktails and a big fat slice of nostalgia. They have a relaxed approach to eating and socialising - whether you're popping in for a drink, wanting to cut squares like Tony Manero or eating delicious things your mum used to make or playing kerplunk in the basement.