The person who can dominate a London dining table can dominate the world, or so said Oscar Wilde. And boy, does this city have a lot of tables to choose from.
Here is our round-up of the best new bars and restaurants from September. This isn't a preview piece; each one has been tried and tested by Telegraph Travel experts, including a veggie joint tempting enough for carnivores, an exceptional Sicilian hotspot, and the longest oyster list in London.
After a year of successful supper clubs and pop-ups, vegetarian Middle Eastern concept Bubala – a Yiddish word meaning ‘darling’ – has opened its first permanent site on Commercial Street. And it’s sure to become the ‘darling’ of the Shoreditch dining scene.
The best thing you can say about a vegetarian restaurant is that it doesn’t look like one: at this intimate 30-seat space, the decor is all industrial cool – bare wooden floors, distressed walls and dim lighting. You can perch at the bar, a great spot to sink a Sunset Negroni (£9), but having a table helps if you’re planning on dining (and you really should).
Bubala is the baby of Marc Summers (previously GM at Middle Eastern grillhouse Berber & Q), and head chef Helen Graham (who has The Palomar, Barbary and The Good Egg on her resume) so you won’t be surprised to read that dishes at Bubala take their inspiration from Tel Aviv’s cafes.
The small plates menu is a vegetarian’s delight but carnivores won’t notice the lack of meat. Get stuck into the likes of Labneh (£5.50) mopped up with fluffy Laffa flatbread (£2) lightly dusted with za’atar, Fried aubergine drizzled in date syrup ((£7), and confit potato latkes (£5.50) before moving onto larger sized plates including Cabbage braised in pomegranate (£9) and crunchy Romanesco cauliflower (£11).
On the drinks front, there’s a short but decent list of cocktails and red and white house wines on tap, as well as a selection of wines from Lebanon and the Middle East.
Laid-back, friendly staff are happy to make recommendations (as a rough guide, order around eight dishes between two) which helps to make this lively cocktail and small plates joint even more lovable. We can’t wait to return.
Trying to single out a sole highlight is akin to choose between Messi and Ronaldo: nigh on impossible – everything really is that good. Since you ask however, the Fried halloumi soaked in black seed honey is exceptional; as soon as I took the first bite, I knew this was a dish I wouldn’t be sharing.
65 Commercial St, Spitalfields, London, E1 6BD (Open Mon 6-10pm; Tue-Sat 12-3pm, 6-10.30pm; 020 7392 2111; bubala.co.uk)
Reviewed by Kaye Holland