Order a mezcal negroni or Kol margarita to start, the latter made with Volcán De Mi Tierra tequila and verjus. Santiago sources the finest English ingredients (save corn, chillies and chocolate from Mexico) to create six or nine courses of Mexican dishes. Habanero chillies give a kick to roasted gnocchi, crab and gooseberries; a vibrant beetroot mole adds richness to salt-baked kohlrabi; and wild samphire and oxeye daisies sit atop hen of the woods and king oyster mushrooms. Squeeze sea buckthorn juice from a langoustine head over a sourdough taco stuffed with the crustacean’s meaty flesh and a smoky chipotle mayo. For the main event, fill handmade corn tortillas (kept warm in a bespoke leather pouch) with fall-apart 18-hour cooked short rib smothered in rich pasilla chilli mole along with lamb fat carrots and Mayan scotch bonnet pickled onions. Finish with chocolate tamales in hand-tied parcels and corn husk ice cream. Opt for the wine pairing to taste some unique eastern European natural numbers – aromatic, cloudy Slovakian orange bursting with orange blossom, bright Czech Republic riesling and a herbal German pinot noir made by a two-man operation in the Black Forest. kolrestaurant.com
Kima, Paddington Street
It’s all about the small details at this minimalist dining room in Marylebone; wave-inspired crockery is handmade in a studio in Corfu and the restaurant’s name, which means “wave” in Greek, is elegantly displayed on one wall. Whole fish glisten on ice at the front, while a selection of cuts for the gill-to-fin menu age in glass-fronted fridges. An example of this zero-waste dining style is sea bream crudo lifted by thyme and lemon zest followed by the ‘shank’ of the same fish served with bacon-studded cabbage fricassee. An elegant take on a Greek salad accompanies, with aged feta crowning a bowl of chopped tomatoes and cucumber, doused in Greek olive oil poured from a carafe to meld with the juices, in which diners are encouraged to dip homemade sourdough. The “wave” theme extends to dessert, where caramelised seaweed plays a glorious role in a crisp millefeuille-tiramisu hybrid layered with coffee cream and caramelised nuts. Cocktails are infused with Greek ingredients – mastic Votanikon gin adds herbaceous notes to a basil cocktail, while clarified feta is used to create a unique twist on a sour. The selection of Greek wines includes a minerally white from Santorini, thoughtfully recommended by one of the very helpful, friendly Greek servers. kimarestaurant.com
Bao Mary, James Street
BAO Mary is the fifth iteration of the much- loved cult Taiwanese steamed buns and xiao chi small plates concept which has been delighting Londoners since 2013 when friends Shing Tat Chung, Erchen Chang and Wai Ting Chung served their first gua bao on the streets of the city. Small in footprint but big on flavours, it’s a welcome addition to an area in Marylebone that’s otherwise lacking a taste of Southeast Asia. They’ve made themselves right at home with modern, sleek interiors – a far cry from their humble beginnings. baolondon.com
Cavita, Wigmore Street
Cavita, Adriana Cavita’s debut after a stint at powerhouses including Spain’s El Bulli and a successful pop-up at The Dorchester, is London’s newest, most vibrant Mexican offering. The gorgeous space on Wigmore Street is warm and inviting, with food that fills the belly as well as the soul – think pig’s head tamal wrapped in charred collard greens; mole verde with wood-grilled, herb-fed chicken; and pan de elote with cajita, a sweet cornbread topped with a goat’s milk caramel. Cocktails are inventive, with a secret bar below offering small-batch artisanal mezcal, tequila and the opportunity to learn more about Mexican culture. cavitarestaurant.com
This Japanese omakase features just 11 covers – guests sit around a curved wood and stone bar, behind which chef Jurek Wasio sends out plate after meticulously crafted plate in a daily-changing tasting menu. As a guest, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the ensuing feast. Start with a sparkling sake and a round of raw dishes – blue fin tuna belly tartare on sourdough topped with a briny mound of Polish caviar is a particular highlight. Meat dishes include wagyu tenderloin dusted in shaved summer truffle, as luscious and deeply umami as you might expect. The sushi sequence of the meal is the highlight – a stream of plump nigiri that showcase the impeccable quality of the produce used at Mayha: creamy scallop; lightly seared, butter-soft salmon belly; delicately sweet langoustine; dry-aged blue fin tenderloin; the list goes on. Fragrant cups of bamboo dashi and lobster miso, and a palate-cleansing rhubarb sorbet punctuate the meal. It all ends simply, but effectively, with a scoop of chocolate ice cream in a grassy pool of Sicilian olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Head downstairs before or after dinner to Mayha’s intimate six-seater bar, which offers its own five-course omakase meal paired with cocktails. mayhalondon.com
The Italian Greyhound, Seymour Street
Sipping a negroni infused with oregano in the sunshine-flooded room of the Italian Greyhound, it’s hard to believe you’re a stone’s throw from the traffic-heavy Edgware Road. The ambience is calming: light wood, long walk-in bar, plants and patio windows that open onto the villagey vibe of Seymour Place. This new spot is an evolution of the previous Italian restaurant, Bernardiâ’s. The menu, created by head chef Yohei Furuhashi — previously of the River Cafe — uses British produce, simply executed, divided into five sections: small plates, all day pizzette (light and thin with toppings ranging from courgette to Calabrian sausage to white peach), pasta, larger plates (choices: sea bream, John Dory, dry-aged ribeye and Herdwick lamb) and dolci. From the small plates, octopus is as tender as marshmallow, with chickpeas, crisp piattoni beans and tiny acid-burst Datterini tomatoes. A glorious discovery is panelle — crunchy-yet-melt-in-the-mouth Sicilian chickpea chips, dressed with sage and lemon. Pasta comes as a starter or main portion — the latter for the healthiest of appetites. Spaghetti is silky, coated with shreds of Cornish crab, fennel seeds, chilli and lemon. Beautifully soft slow-cooked pork, flavoured with vermouth and parmesan, is an unctuous sauce for tagliatelle verde. If you have room left, ensure you try the pistachio tiramisu, as fluffy as a cloud with a creamy nuttiness. theitaliangreyhound.co.uk
Lina Stores, Marylebone Lane
Head chef Masha Rener’s antipasti, perfect pastas and sharing dishes are as top-notch as ever in the Italian deli brand’s fourth pasta-focused restaurant. The iconic white and mint awning ensures the newest outpost is unmissable to fans, while signature aesthetics continue inside. Soft globe lighting casts a golden glow over the contemporary Italian canteen and marble counter, mirrors line the wooden cabinet above the bar to shine the spotlight on rows of Italian aperitif bottles, and shelves groan with bespoke artisan deli products.
Kick off with refreshing cocktails including wild oregano infused limoncello spritz, a delicate pomelo and basil martini, or the silky nogroni. Antipasti classics include a panzanella of rainbow-hued heritage tomatoes, golden cubes of sourdough, tropea onions and toasted buckwheat; alongside crisp pillows of focaccia slathered in creamy cultured butter and topped with salty anchovies. For the pasta course, choose between the likes of gomiti tubes glistening with umami-rich, knobbly pieces of guanciale, fresh peas and caramelised onions, and al dente casarecce coated in a tomato sauce with a slight chilli kick and plenty of plump prawns. Though pasta is the restaurant’s hero, we highly recommend treating yourself to the veal milanese for two, coated in a light, golden crumb and generously blanketed in Parmigiano Reggiano. Finish with a scoop of homemade gelato, decadent chocolate mousse or crunchy Sicilian pistachio cannoli piped with fluffy ricotta. linastores.co.uk
Chameleon, Marylebone Road
Taking over the impressive event space One Marylebone in London, Chameleon has opened as a multi-experiential venue that features a large outdoor restaurant as well as a café, private members’ club, market and more. The outdoor restaurant is now open and serving a Tel Aviv sharing menu created by Israeli chef Elior Balbul, who also has two restaurants in Tel Aviv, and features dishes such as kubaneh brioche bread, aubergine carpaccio, yellowtail sashimi, whole seared sea bass, poussin skewers and a Manjari chocolate crémeux for dessert. Cocktails start at £11.50 and a bottle of Dalton Estate rosé is £45. The restaurant also serves ThreeDots CBD water. chameleon.london
Taka Marylebone, Marylebone High Street
Take fills a much-needed gap between London’s high-end Japanese restaurants and casual ramen joints. Contemporary interiors include a wall installation of parasols that double up as lampshades to cast a warm glow across oak tables and a sleek, sake-bottle-lined bar downstairs, or you can head upstairs to the large dining room with a view over Marylebone High Street. Japanese-inspired cocktails feature the likes of the Old Oak Fashioned: a bottled concoction of Nikka whisky from the barrel, vanilla coffee syrup and chocolate bitters, infused with cherry wood smoke that billows out as you pop the cork and pour into the glass.
Choose a selection of about six small plates between two, including popcorn shrimp with spicy mayo, super-soft aubergine in an umami plantain miso sauce, crunchy tuna avocado rolls and chicken yakitori grilled over hot coals. Don’t miss the homemade mochi breads to scoop up silky chicken liver pâté topped with crispy chicken skin. The showstopper, with a price to match, is the wagyu sando. Savour four flavour-packed rectangles of fat-rippled wagyu beef and miso spread between perfectly cut fried milk bread.
Lurra, Seymour Place
Tucked away on Marylebone’s pretty (and seriously foodie) Seymour Place, Lurra is a contemporary, sophisticated Basque-inspired restaurant. It’s sister to Donostia, just across the road, and the building has a shiny new extension. There’s more to this trendy joint than its good looks though: ingredients are key. With a meat import business (think 14-year-old Galician Blond, 67-day hung beef) supplying the likes of Kitty Fisher’s and Chiltern Firehouse, and a cellar downstairs housing top Spanish wines (including an incredible Louro from Valdeorras), owners Nemanja and Melody know their stuff.
Read our full review of Lurra, Seymour Place, here
Hoppers, Wigmore Street
Named after the lacy, bowl-shaped pancakes that are a staple of Sri Lanka, Hoppers has quickly established itself as one of London’s hippest hangouts. From the can-do-no-wrong team behind Michelin-starred Gymkhana, Hoppers references the food of southern India and Sri Lanka. There’s a succinct menu starring traditional hoppers: light fermented rice and lentil pancake bowls, with a softly steamed egg and a selection of confidently spiced karis.
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Load up on the ‘short eats’, though. Mutton rolls are like crunchy cigars – with a golden crumb, shredded gamey meat and lightly spiced tomato chutney. Bone marrow is so seductively sauced that you would be forgiven for refusing to share. The best, perhaps, are buttered devilled shrimps: juicy and fiery. There a fab and refreshing cocktails also.
Carousel, Blandford Street
The rotating chef residencies at this foodie event space mean that you could visit Carousel every week and enjoy completely contrasting cuisine – from Japanese ‘temple food’, to new Bolivian cuisine and Thai tapas. There are always 5-6 courses, with the option of adding in another main for an extra tenner-or-so. There are long wooden tables that encourage a communal dining atmosphere, or if you want more privacy sit at the bar or the counter lined with pretty tiles. There’s also a dinky garden that catches the early evening sun, perfect for sipping cocktails in, surrounded by an oasis of exotic pot plants.
It’s like being at a friend’s house for dinner, with a casual, get involved ethos – the host clatters a spoon against a swinging lamp to announce the chefs; kitchen staff prepare sushi, dress salads and toss noodles in the tiny semi-open kitchen; and staff shake cocktails house cocktails against a backdrop of shelves lined with toasted rice vodka, jars of olives and plenty of spirits.
The house cocktails don’t hold back on booze – xerigroni blends the usual gin (Bombay Sapphire), vermouth (Antica Formula) and Campari with Valdespino Amontillado Sherry for a punchy take on the negroni; and Taking the Pisco includes pisco, brandy, Gewurztraminer reduction and Suze Gentian bitters. Drink with caution!
Zoilo, Duke Street
Zoilo is the second offering from Argentinian chef Diego Jacquet and restaurateur Alberto Abbate. The duo’s first restaurant, Casa Malevo, opened back in 2010 and Zoilo at the end of 2012, both with the aim of showcasing authentic Argentinian cuisine.
This Marylebone restaurant is split over two levels; the ground floor a light and airy Buenos Aires-style café, and the lower ground has an open kitchen and narrow dining room. A long bar runs the length of the kitchen, so diners can get close to the action.
The menu takes inspiration from regional Argentina, including Diego’s native Patagonia and the famous wine region of Mendoza. The menu is made up of tapas-like sharing plates. Choose from morcilla and criolla (black pudding and onion relish on toast); ox tongue, white beans and mustard, or classics such as empanadas (crisp, meat or veg-filled pastries), and the starter dish of provoleta, a semi-hard cheese similar to Italian provolone, melted and topped with almonds and honey.
Click here for Zoilo’s alfajores recipe…
Trishna, Blandford Street
Trishna is the UK incarnation of India’s much celebrated seafood restaurant, Trishna Mumbai, sourcing its marine produce from Cornwall, Dorset and Scotland. The restaurant looks quite big from the outside, but the main dining room is split into two smaller rooms (the restaurant seats 60 so it feels intimate).
Start with vegetable pakora accompanied by a delicious citrus-sharp tamarind chutney or terrific prawns with sweet chilli dip. The signature whole crab for two with butter, black pepper and garlic is famed in India – soft crab in a well balanced garlic and chilli sauce. Or try market fish curry in spiced coconut sauce. Chilli mango rice pudding is creamy and honey-sweet with sweet chilli sauce across the top for an exciting dimension.
Seymour’s Parlour at Zetter Townhouse, Seymour Street
Leave busy Oxford Street behind and pay Uncle Seymour a visit for a wintery cocktail. Inside this Georgian townhouse lies a secret drinking den that exuberates the eccentric charm of the Zetter Townhouse’s ficticous owner, wicked Uncle Seymour. Seymour’s Parlour is more front room of curiosities than hotel bar: trinkets clutter a cabinet that spans one side of the room, portraits adorn the wine-red walls and crystal decanters filled with bright orange liquid dress up antique wooden tables.
The room has a hushed atmosphere with intimate lighting that creates secluded corners to settle in to. Dapper Italian waiters take your order, and shake cocktails at a little bar tucked into one corner.
The seasonal cocktail list changes regularly, so the winter menu is made up of little coupettes full of punchy, warming mixes and remedies from the cold. Try the healing Scarlet’s Antidote, made with earthy homemade beetroot cordial, smooth Ocho tequila and the subtle spice of caraway from Kümmel liqueur. Dainty gimlet-like cocktail, The Rake, takes inspiration from ladies of the night in the series of paintings ‘A Rake’s Progress’, with fragrant orris (iris flower root) ‘powdered notes’ and a little drop of juniper oil that forms a delicate black beauty spot on the surface of the clear cocktail.
Find out more about Seymour’s Parlour Marylebone here.
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