It’s been a busy year of eating and it’s time to take stock! Here we round up our favourite new restaurants of 2014
1. Ham Yard Bar And Restaurant
Travel and interior enthusiasts will love this newcomer to London’s restaurant scene. Located on the ground floor of Tim and Kit Kemp’s £100 million hotel, Ham Yard Bar And Restaurant is a riot of colour, pattern, texture and unusual artefacts that interior designer, Kit, has gathered on her travels. Yet interestingly while ethnically the restaurant’s interior is all over the place, the menu at Ham Yard Bar and Restaurant is measured and European centric. It’s also very female friendly – salads (think an excellent Shaved asparagus and truffle salad served with fennel and radish and a Glazed candy beets with goat’s curd, mustard, orange and walnuts) and seafood (Seared scallops with tempura courgette flower) are just a few of the spectacular starters you’ll find at Ham Yard Bar and Restaurant. Meanwhile agreeable mains include Roast chicken breast, creamed corn, heritage carrots and truffled asparagus. If you’re in the mood for uncomplicated food in a stunning Soho setting, head here.
1 Ham Yard, W1
2. Holborn Dining Room
In a city that is already home to more all-day brasseries than you can shake a stick at, you might question the need for one more. However a meal at Holborn Dining Room – the new restaurant from Des McDonald should put that thought to rest. Situated inside the newish Rosewood Hotel in what was the former banking hall of Pearl Assurance, the interior design by Martin Brudunizki (the man behind the hotel’s Scarfes Bar) is a treat. Expect sumptuous ‘Routemaster’ red leather banquettes, antique chandeliers and oak finishes that reflect the site’s great British heritage. Meanwhile the well executed menu encompasses breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Bottom line? There are good restaurants and that are great restaurants and the Holborn Dining Room is definitely one of the latter. This is a slick, stylish, reliable British restaurant that you’ll want to return to – it really is that good.
Rosewood London, High Holborn, WC1
3. Lima Floral
Ready to expand your culinary horizons? Look to Peruvian restaurant LIMA Floral – the second London restaurant from Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez and his partners, Gabriel and Jose Luis Gonzalez. Situated in Covent Garden on the corner of Garrick Street and Floral Street, within a historic building which was originally built as a monastery, LIMA Floral’s main restaurant – much like its Michelin starred Fitzrovia sibling – offers traditional and contemporary Peruvian cuisine including Scallops with chia ceviche, Amazonian fish with warm causa and kholrabi and quinoa tiradito. On the drinks front, the menu boasts a long list of tipples for the discerning drinker to choose from but cocktails are undoubtedly the specialty. Being in a Peruvian venue you really should sink a Pisco Sour (Peru’s signature drink consisting of pisco, lime, sugar, egg white and Angostura bitter). After three, you’ll agree: Martinez has another huge hit on his hands.
14 Garrick Street, WC2
4. The Rosebery
Named after Lord Rosebery, The Rosebery has made a welcome return to its roots (it was a stylish tea room back in the 1920s before being used as an event space). The interior design – created by G&A Designs (the team behind the Booking Office Bar at St Pancras) – makes the most of the room’s Victorian origins but employs contemporary touches. Think specially commissioned one-of-a kind art works and seating in shades of forest greens and browns to bring it bang up-to-date. But it’s not just the setting that wows – so too does the food. Expect the daintiest of sandwiches (Slow roasted organic chicken and buttered corn, Smoked salmon tartar with creme fraiche and fill, all shaped in circles as opposed to conventional triangles), fluffy freshly baked sultana and plain scones served with strawberry jam and clotted cream as well as more out there accompaniments (rose jelly and lemon curd) and tip top pastries. Standouts include the Milk chocolate passion fruit tart, Green tea eclair and Raspberry and yuzu macaroon. Mmmm.
Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1
5. The Strand Dining Rooms
The Strand Dining Rooms has many points in its favour: a central London location (the Rat Pack worthy restaurant is situated just off Trafalgar Square in the grandiose Grand Buildings), a majestic setting (all high ceilings and warm woods reminiscent of the interior of a traditional Pullman Coach), terrific service (think warm and efficient in equal measure) and first class food and drink. For what the kitchen is plating up is as sophisticated as any Soho hotspot… The menu – created by head chef Michael Beugnet (previously at Wotton House Hotel in Surrey and Green’s in St James) is resolutely British – and it’s brilliant. Every dish Haute Time tried was an exercise in perfection and artfully presented. Trafalgar Square has always been on the tourist map. Now thanks to this newcomer, it’s on the culinary map too.
Grand Buildings, 1- 3 Strand, WC2