What a year 2012 has been for new restaurants in London - it often felt like there was a new opening every day! But with a restaurant scene as diverse, accomplished and ever-changing as London, only the very best will become firm favourites. Here are my thoughts on London's best new restaurants of 2012.
10 Greek Street, Soho
As its name suggests, 10 Greek Street is located at 10 Greek Street in Soho, and behind an unassuming entrance is a relaxed but buzzy restaurant with excellent cooking and a menu full of imaginative dishes that change regularly.
Bookings are taken for lunch but dinner is for walk-ins only, making 10 Greek Street a contender for one of London's best no booking restaurants.
Duck & Waffle, The City
Duck and Waffle sits on the 40th floor of Heron Tower in the City. The restaurant serves European and British influenced cuisine 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Breakfast is served from 6am to 11am with dishes such as Foie Gras 'All Day Breakfast' and Duck & Waffle with fried duck egg and mustard maple syrup.
The restaurant has a capacity of 98 with floor-to-ceiling windows, an open kitchen, a 24-seat chef bar and a private dining room. With incredible views of London and food to match, this must surely be a contender for one of the best new restaurants in London?
Brasserie Zedel, Soho
Following the success of The Delaunay, Chris Corbin and Jeremy King launched Brasserie Zedel in Soho towards the end of June 2012. Brasserie Zedel is a large, bustling Parisian brasserie transported to the heart of London, which is open throughout the day, offering great value with remarkably low prices.
The restaurant has been designed by David Collins Studio in the Art Deco tradition, which is a vast, stunning dining room, discreetly hidden on the lower ground floor in the heart of the West End. The restaurant has over 200 covers, half of which are reserved for walk-ins so don't be disappointed if the restaurant appears to be fully booked.
Bubbledogs opened in July on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, with James Knappett (previously of The Ledbury, Noma and Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, among others) as head chef and Sandia Chang (who has worked at The Berkeley, Noma and Per Se) as General Manager.
Bubbledogs serves hot dogs and grower Champagne. Yes,that's right: hotdogs and champagnes. The restaurant has a separate 'Kitchen Table' in the back of the restaurant where the chef can showcase his real talent.
Chrysan, The City
Chef Murata is the third generation chef patron of Kikunoi, a traditional Ryotei restaurant in Kyoto, which holds three Michelin stars. In addition to an extensive à la carte offering, Chrysan features a signature kaiseki menu for dinner, as well as a special bento set lunch.
There's also a bar named 'NeNe' which seats up to 30, offering a cocktail list and a menu of lighter dishes.
Caravan King's Cross, King's Cross
Caravan King's Cross, the second outpost of Caravan Restaurant on Exmouth Market, opened in King's Cross in August 2012, located in the Grade II-listed Granary Building, behind King's Cross Station and St Pancras International.
The interiors reflect the area's Victorian industrial heritage, which exudes a cool, current vibe with low hanging lighting, exposed brick work and reclaimed furniture.
The highlights on our visit were the small plates, including 'Goat's curd, nectarine, braised onion and pine nuts', with the nectarine working surprisingly well with the curd, and the 'Chorizo and butternut squash croquettes', which succeeded in being crisp on the outside and unbelievably smooth on the inside.
Ceviche Restaurant opened in Soho in early 2012, bringing fashionable Peruvian cuisine to London. The menu includes the Peruvian favourite Ceviche, salads with quinoa, hot Peruvian giant corn choclos, octopus BBQ anticuchos, beef saltados and a host of pisco based cocktails.
Ceviche makes a fun night out in Soho with a buzzy cocktail bar and varied, but light, Peruvian cuisine.
Dabbous restaurant and bar launched on Whitfield Street in Fitzrovia in late January 2012, the first solo venture from Ollie Dabbous, formerly of Michelin-starred Texture.
Spread over two levels, the restaurant has an industrial but organic design, with exposed brickwork, sheet metal and copper pipes offset by rustic candles and natural woods.
Dabbous is booked incredibly far in advance, but we would recommend visiting the bar for some drinks and to try out their bar menu, which includes an excellent steak sandwich. It also makes for a great venue for a private party, where you can sample some exquisite canapés.
Colbert, Sloane Square
Inspired by the great French pavement cafés, Colbert is an informal, neighbourhood restaurant at the heart of Sloane Square from Chris Corbin and Jeremy King (see Brasserie Zedel above). Colbert opens early for breakfast and continues to serve food and drinks throughout the day until post-theatre.
The Cube by Electrolux, Southbank
Although not strictly a permanent restaurant, but a temporary 6 month installation on top of Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank, The Cube by Electrolux has still been one of the most exciting dining options for Londoners throughout 2012.
Michelin starred chefs including Sat Bains, Claude Bosi and Tom Kitchin each took up residency at the Cube, showcasing a tasting menu of their best dishes accompanies by matching wines. The Cube runs until 31 December 2012.
What has been your favourite restaurant of 2012? Which new restaurants are you excited to see in 2013? We would love to hear your thoughts below.
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