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Taste Newsletter - April 2017

Wednesday 03 May 2017

This April edition of TASTE brings you VisitBritain's latest round-up of new restaurant openings and foodie news from across the country over the last three months - from the fresh Hawaiian poke bowl trend to new foodie tours of the city of York, and legendary pizzerias arriving in London town straight from the streets of Naples. Happy dining!



TREND: Hawaiian health food

Say aloha to poké! These colourful, protein-rich bowls of fresh marinated raw fish, vegetables, pickles, sauces and rice, are surfing the fast-moving wave of London's food scene.

Island Poké, Ahi Poké and Black Roe arrived last year and have now been joined by new Soho opening, Honi Poké. Dishes on the menu - created by former Michelin-starred chef Richard De La Cruz - include the signature Octo Poké, with octopus, kimchi, chive, cucumber and red chilli. After the success of its first site in Mayfair, Ahi Poké will open a second eatery in June in Victoria, clad in chilled Hawaiian beach-style décor. Diners can choose from made-to-order takeaway bowls and signature dishes such as Heat Wave, with quinoa, salmon, avocado, kimchi cucumber, red onion, coriander and sriracha mayo. Over at Soho House's new destination hotel and restaurant, The Ned, poké features on the menu of its modern Asian-Pacific restaurant, Kaia.


TREND: Modern Indian

Champions of modern Indian food are introducing new flavours and eating styles, evolving Britain's long-lasting love affair with Indian food beyond the classic curry.

Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar's Mumbai-based Not Really Indian (NRI) restaurant concept will make its British debut at The Mailbox in Birmingham in September. Atul focusses on what he calls "diaspora food," inspired by localised versions of Indian food he's tasted in countries around the globe, resulting in dishes such as coconut Malay curry and crab kofta.

In London, Cinnamon Bazaar's inventive small plates of modern Indian cuisine are served in a more casual, colourful setting than its sister restaurant, the majestic Cinnamon Club in Westminster. Newly opened in April, Tamarind Kitchen in Soho, is an informal version of Tamarind of Mayfair - one of the first Indian restaurants in the world to receive a Michelin star - and serves dishes such as south Indian kingfish curry. In May, Himalayan flavours are coming to London with Madame D's in Spitalfields, drawing on Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan and Chinese cooking, with a sharing menu featuring the likes of Gold Coin Dumplings and Tibetan Duck Momo.

The team behind Grub Fest food festival in New Delhi - reputedly India's biggest food festival - have opened their first Indian tapas and cocktail bar, Lokhandwala, on London's Charlotte Street. Serving a selection of lighter small plates based on regional Indian cuisines, dishes include yellow fin tuna marinated with mango, pepper and chilli served on poppadums.


TREND: Afternoon tea spring makeovers

Spring is here! And a host of new Instagram-worthy afternoon teas have sprung up across London.

Sanderson Hotel's Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea is back, and its relaunch will see the menu evolve seasonally, with the latest touches including a mocha chessboard gateau and a ‘Drink Me' potion. Meanwhile, The Berkeley in Knightsbridge has launched its Spring/Summer 2017 Prêt-à-Portea - the popular afternoon tea with a fashion twist, celebrating new catwalk collections like Miu Miu's bikini, re-imagined as a lime biscuit.

Say ‘kon'nichiwa' to the new afternoon tea at Sosharu restaurant, inspired by Japan's tea ceremonies. Treats include taiyaki, a traditional fish-shaped cake filled with rhubarb and white chocolate crème, accompanied by green tea or cocktails blended with flavours including matcha and jasmine flowers. From Japan to the Nordics, Aquavit London's new Nordic Afternoon Tea consists of four savoury and four sweet dishes of delicacies such as Danish open sandwiches on house-made rye bread with classic gravalax (raw salmon cured in salt, sugar, and dill), plus Swedish Semla cardamom buns filled with almond paste, and seven different traditional cookies.

Chocoholics rejoice! The Montagu at Hyatt Regency London - The Churchill has launched ChocolaTEA, which even features savoury chocolate treats, such as its burger with BBQ sauce infused with dark chocolate. Wash it down with a Maya gold cocoa nib tea or a Sir Winston's Martini, also mixed with dark chocolate, of course. For vegans, the classic afternoon tea ingredients are usually off limits - until now, with The Egerton House Hotel's new afternoon tea featuring vegan versions of classic favourites, including vegan scones.


TREND: Italian roots

Italian cuisine is certainly not a new concept across Britain, but with the arrival of two legendary pizzerias straight from Naples, London diners can now experience a new taste of ‘la dolce vita'.

Naples pizza royalty L'Antica Pizzeria daMichele has brought its legendary name to Stoke Newington in north London, but its pizza chefs are always trained in Naples first to ensure the pizzas are produced in the traditional way. In Kilburn, north-west London, Naples pizza merchant Pizzeria Trianon Vomero has introduced its almost 100-year-old family recipes to diners at Quartieri, where pizzas can be ordered in ‘cartwheel' size, and the imported house wine comes from a vineyard beneath Mount Vesuvius!

Also in north London, acclaimed chef Francesco Mazzei has opened Radici, his authentic Italian trattoria, in Islington. Radici translates as ‘roots', reflecting Mazzei's southern Italian heritage. His seasonal menus are served in laid-back, modern interiors, and include favourite pasta dishes from his homeland, such as Conchiglioni with ricotta and herbs, as well as fresh pizzas straight from the huge wood-fired oven. The restaurant also has a wine room, a private dining room, and an al fresco terrace. Over in London Victoria, Michelin star chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton has launched his New York-Italian style restaurant, bar and deli, Hai Cenato, which translates in Italian as ‘have you had dinner? Menu highlights include the pheasant risotto, and, if you've got space left, the warm brioche salted caramel gelato sandwich.



Three London restaurants made the list in this year's World's 50 Best Restaurants awards - The Clove Club at number 26, The Ledbury at 27, and Heston Blumenthal's Dinner rose from 45 to 36. Blumenthal also received a lifetime achievement award in recognition of his pioneering cooking techniques.

Exciting news for Downton Abbey fans! George Porchester, heir to Highclere Castle (the real-life Downton Abbey), has opened his first London restaurant, Jules, in Putney. The all-day brasserie is open Tuesday to Sunday, serving tapas-style dishes such cod brandade with roast green peppers.


New big name chef openings

Renowned chef Monica Galetti - recognisable as one of the MasterChef: The Professionals TV judges - has opened her first restaurant Mere, on Charlotte Street, with sommelier husband David Galetti. Named after Monica's mother Mary, the restaurant serves an á la carte menu, lunch menu, vegetarian tasting menu, and a classic tasting menu featuring the likes of lamb rump with confit belly, white onion, turnips and manuka honey.

Martha Ortiz, chef-patron of Mexico City's award-winning Dulce Patria - heralded as one of Latin America's most exciting restaurants - has brought her celebrated Mexican cuisine to London with her new restaurant, Ella Canta, at the InterContinental London Park Lane. Dishes on the menu include white fish ceviche topped with creamy hibiscus flower, piquin chile, cinnamon and pickled vegetables, accompanied by rare mezcal and tequilas.

Just opened in Camden Market, Middle Eastern restaurant Zala is the brainchild of brothers-in-law Alon Shamir and Tomer Niv, serving authentic meze, Levantine pizzas, pitas and grilled meats. Niv was previously a chef at Heston Blumenthal's acclaimed three-Michelin-star restaurant, The Fat Duck.


Summer hangouts

Enjoy the milder spring and summer temperatures with refreshing cocktails and light bites at one of these alfresco summer pop-ups in the city.

Sip on a watermelon martini among palm trees and California-style surroundings at the new Roof Deck Restaurant and Bar at Selfridges. Its all-day menu features salads, grains, fresh fish and seafood, including tuna ceviche with avocado and coriander. Popping up in Fulham from 10 May until 3 October is Neverland London, with its mix of street food, music, palm trees, beach huts, deckchairs, beer pong, a sandy beach and a bring-your-own alcohol policy. From 24 May to 3 October, west London's largest alfresco street food dining and drinking space, Pergola Paddington Central, will be in full swing. From burgers and Beijing-style dumpling to vegan and gluten-free salads, the food is affordable and delicious, and comes with a side order of drinks and live DJs - but its best to reserve a spot in advance.


Comfort food cravings

The capital's love of meaty, American-style comfort food continues unabated. In February, Borough Market became home to the newest Hawksmoor steak restaurant, featuring the upmarket chain's classic dishes, such as roast scallops with white port and garlic - and excellent steaks, of course. Head Chef Simon Cotterill will create a weekly Market Specials menu, and the downstairs Cook's Room can be hired as a private dining room.

Monty's Deli, the Jewish-American-style deli that started as a market stall, has opened its first permanent site in east London's Hoxton after exceeding its crowdfunding target on the website Kickstarter. Monty's serves breakfast with bottomless coffee, plus lunch, dinner and brunch, a ‘bagel of the week', and traditional Shabbat dinner with challah bread, chicken soup, roast chicken and lokshen pudding.

The work of Texan chef Ashley Harris and Tennessee native, Jordan Harris, newly opened Stagolee's in Fulham serves southern American-style comfort food alongside moonshine drinks. Expect dishes including skillet chicken dipped in buttermilk, fried and baked macaroni and cheese, and the ‘Mountain-rita' - a margarita using moonshine instead of tequila.

After three years of touring the country, gourmet street food chip brand Saucy Chip has a new permanent home in London's Jerusalem Bar and Kitchen in Fitzrovia, with 20 different varieties of sauces from around the world on offer, and fans including Prince Harry and model Cara Delevingne. Meanwhile, travelling cheese shrine, The Cheese Truck, has also found a permanent home in The Cheese Bar, Camden. Its menu includes the Cropwell Bishop Stilton sandwich with bacon and pear chutney, plus new additions such as the Mexican fondue-inspired Queso Fundido.

Get stoked at newly opened The Stoke House in Victoria's Nova complex, which gives the traditional self-service carvery a modern update. Diners pay by weight for a selection of meat cooked in a wood-fired smoker, including smoked Suffolk beef short rib, whole roast chickens and pork brioche with fennel apple slaw and apple sauce - plus sides including smoked cauliflower cheese and pulled pork beans.


New bars on the block

Fancy a Coyote Ugly-style bar top performance with your burger and bourbon? Then head down to newly opened Dirty Harry's on Soho's Wardour Street, where Harry's Honeys perform expertly choreographed routines on the bar nightly. There are 44 types of beer to choose from, alongside cocktails and a different street food residency every three months. Or for a more refined, intimate vibe, slip away to Fortnum & Mason's new 3 and 6 Bar, located on the third floor of the store's gentlemen's department. Enjoy classic cocktails such as Martinis and Negronis as well as whisky, tequila and wine, and refuel with classic English snacks including Welsh rarebit, steak tartare, and treacle tart.

In May, Jason Atherton's Michelin-starred restaurant and bar, City Social, aims to revolutionise cocktail drinking with the launch of Mirage, the world's first augmented reality cocktail menu, involving smartphone app technology that immerses the drinker in a world of interactive art. Intriguing!

The impressive wine cellar at master sommelier and restaurateur Xavier Rousset's newly opened Comptoir Café & Wine is home to an incredible 1,000 wines from across the globe, and customers can even book a private tasting for up to 30 people. Cheers!


Asian flavours

New all-day Japanese restaurant Machiya takes its name from a style of wooden townhouse, and focuses on traditional Japanese home cooking. The menu includes tapas-style dishes known as kobachi, and a dish called gyukatsu - panko breadcrumb-crusted wagyu steak lightly fried until rare. There is also a downstairs bar whipping up delicious Japanese-style cocktails.

Menu options at Soho's new upmarket Taiwanese restaurant Xu, created by the team behind hugely popular Bao, include bar snacks, a stuffed chicken sharing dish (‘sho pa chicken') and street food-inspired pancakes filled with 40-day aged beef short rib, marrow and pickles. Also newly launched in Soho is Bun House, inspired by the tea houses and street stalls of 1960s Hong Kong. Its authentic Chinese menu features sticky barbeque pork belly, lamb, chicken, fish and vegetarian buns, alongside other small dishes - and its downstairs Tea Room is open until 3am.

Aimed at the luxury market, with a dramatic, modern vibe, is newly opened Ginza Onodera in St James's. Diners can choose to eat from the full menu or sit at one of three counters specialising in either sushi, robata (barbecued skewers) or teppenyaki - the theatrical Japanese cooking style using a hot plate. Dishes include the likes of Kobe beef robata yaki, served with a red miso truffle sauce, or a 15-hour slow-cooked duck confit with red cabbage, marinated in orange vinegar.


Happy health food

Newly launched healthy, casual eatery Maple & King's in King's Cross is the second site from founder, nutritional expert and chef Adria Wu, who is passionate about healthy, filling and flavourful food - from tasty breakfasts and colourful salads for lunch, to weekend brunch featuring gluten-free rhubarb pomegranate oat pancakes with coconut yoghurt. Maple & King's also has a gluten-free bake shop, selling treats such as vegan muffins and caramel brownies.

Healthy fast food chain Leon has a new restaurant, and it's got a showbiz twist. Leon West End on Shaftesbury Avenue serves the full Leon menu, but as homage to its theatre land neighbours, the team is made up of drama and musical theatre students who will burst into classic West End songs while they serve customers their tasty salad boxes, wraps, coffees and snacks. Meanwhile, omnivores will be pleased to hear that Pret a Manger has opened its second vegetarian-only store, Veggie Pret, in Shoreditch, with 20 new recipes on offer including a vegan macaroni cheese, a green smoothie breakfast bowl, and a vegan chocolate brownie. The first vegetarian Pret opened in Soho last year after thousands of customers requested more meat-free items in an online poll.


More tasty openings...

In May, popular Peruvian restaurant Señor Ceviche will open its second site - complete with a basement Pisco-focused cocktail bar - on Charlotte Street. There will be the familiar favourites from its original Carnaby Street restaurant, as well as new dishes like slow-cooked short rib with aji panca and pickled garlic anticucho sauce, plus a new weekend brunch featuring bottomless Pisco Punch.

Also in May, Duck & Waffle is hatching a new casual restaurant, Duck & Waffle Local, at St James's Market, offering the same duck-centric menu - including The Duck Burger and even a duck jam doughnut - but with speedier service. Talking of waffles, Bubblewrap has a new permanent home in Chinatown and is taking Instagram by storm with its Hong Kong street food-style fresh egg waffles that look like giant bubble wrap, covered in indulgent toppings - you can choose from 14 flavours and nine sauces!

For those who can't bear to part with their four-legged friend while they brunch, M Victoria St has the answer! With its new Six Legs brunch menu, canine diners can chow down on a Four Legs feast of bacon and peanut butter cookies with dried chicken livers, while their owners enjoy bacon and peanut butter waffles, sautéed chicken liver, and steak salad.




In early May, hugely popular Canadian coffee giant Tim Hortons is opening its first European site in Glasgow, and bringing its signature Timbit bite-sized doughnuts with it. Founded in 1964, the chain now has 4,700 sites in Canada, the United States, and the Middle East - and plans to roll out in other British cities later this year.

The top floor of the city's iconic Rotunda complex has a new relaxed rooftop Mediterranean restaurant and bar, Mezze. Diners can choose from sharing plates featuring Scottish seafood, whole chargrilled sea bream and kebabs cooked fresh to order, served alongside stunning views of the River Clyde.


The iconic Seafood Restaurant in St Andrews, overlooking the North Sea, has reopened as The Seafood Ristorante and now serves seafood dishes with an Italian twist, such as red mullet with pepperonata and aubergine, as well as a dedicated vegetarian menu.




After its February relaunch, The Swan at Hay hotel in Hay-on-Wye, owned by Calum Milne of acclaimed luxury hotel Llangoed Hall, has a new restaurant. Run by head chef Jerry Adam, the Garden Room Restaurant's nine-course tasting menu and classic dinner menu showcase Welsh ingredients in modern dishes that are light on carbs but full of flavour and sweet and savoury Asian influences.

Eight months after its September opening, Palé Hall, the luxury hotel and restaurant overseen by former Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines, has become the first in North Wales to receive a five star AA rating.


Ahoy there! In May, a new California-inspired seafood restaurant, Seafood Shack, is opening in Cardiff, serving fresh seafood dishes in nautical-themed surroundings, as well as a selection of burgers, steaks and chicken. The restaurant will feature an oyster and Champagne bar, a self-serve salad bar and a Victorian-style fish and chip bar, including a take-out option. The Cardiff restaurant will be the first for the brand, which is looking to open up more sites in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Bath and Bristol.

Cardiff has also welcomed Asador 44, a specialist northern Spanish restaurant serving meat, fish and vegetables, all chargrilled and slow cooked over charcoal and wood, including dry-aged sharing steaks and legs of lamb.

Premier League football star and Welshman Gareth Bale, who plays for Wales and Real Madrid, is set to open a new a sports bar and restaurant, Elevens Bar & Grill, on Cardiff's Castle Street, which will offer live sport in a relaxed, family-friendly environment with a grill-based menu. The opening, set for early summer this year, will coincide with Cardiff hosting the UEFA Champions League Final on 3 June.


South-east England

On 3 May French Champagne house Tattinger is launching the planting stage of its new English sparkling wine, Domaine Evermond, in the fields of its Kent vineyard, which has been chosen for its chalky soil. The first bottles are expected to be ready in five years' time. Cheers to that!


Dine in luxury within sight of Windsor Castle on a river cruise aboard Bateaux Windsor's glass-sided boat The Melody, which now embarks on scheduled cruises between 90 minutes and two and a half hours. Choose from three-course lunches, afternoon tea, Sunday lunches and five-course dinners. The Melody can also be hired for private events.

Newly opened posh pub, The Oxford Blue, in Old Windsor, uses some of the best suppliers in the country for its hybrid menu of modern French cuisine alongside more rustic fare, such as ale-braised short rib of beef.


Just-opened Etch, in Hove, is the first restaurant of MasterChef: The Professionals 2013 winner Steven Edwards. This elegant restaurant will serve a choice of two weekly-changing tasting menus and also has a private dining room.

Meanwhile, Tom Griffiths, the chef behind popular Brighton pop-up, Flank, is opening a new permanent restaurant in Brighton's Lanes, Pascere - which takes its name from the Latin word for ‘graze'. Griffiths is as passionate about the service as the food, which will include dishes such as braised lamb pappardelle.


West Midlands


Gaucho has opened a new steakhouse on the corner of Church Street and Colmore Row. The upmarket chain is known for its glamorous decor and plush black and white leather booths - and, of course, excellent steaks.

Yorks Bakery has opened its new café at Birmingham's Ikon gallery on Oozells Square, serving breakfast favourites, 20-inch sharing pizzas, roasted coffee and craft beers on tap. Last year, Yorks' existing café was named by The Sunday Times "as one of the best places in Britain to brunch." The new café owners also plan to bring more nightlife to the square in the form of live outdoor entertainment and an evening food menu.




Tours in a Dish is a new food and history tour company in York offering a different take on the historical city. Starting at 1pm, the Afternoon Tea Tour of York runs for three hours and 30 minutes and includes visits to five establishments, with lots of food, tea and history along the way.



Critically acclaimed restaurant Norse is moving in to its first permanent home in Harrogate following a crowdfunding campaign on the website Kickstarter. Its Nordic-inspired lunch and dinner dishes include lamb with parsley root and seaweed, and clementine with chocolate and pine.



In June, contemporary Chinese restaurant group Tattu is opening its second site in Leeds, following its successful original Manchester restaurant. Tattu's food features twists on traditional Cantonese-style cuisine, such as a sweet soy sticky short-rib. Tattu Manchester features cheery blossom trees inside the restaurant, while the new Leeds site will incorporate white roses into its sleek décor.


North-west England


New chef patron Adam Reid has re-opened The French at The Midland Hotel with a slick new look and a six and nine-course dinner tasting menu, with dishes such as steamed buns filled with soy-cooked pork belly and, for dessert, pink rhubarb custard tart with malt ice cream, alongside an á la carte lunch menu.

Abode Manchester hotel's new all-day Brasserie Abode, designed in the style of a grand European café and bar, serves menu options such as truffle cauliflower macaroni and rice pudding with sour cherry compote. The venue is open until the early hours, with DJs and a cocktail bar.

Over on the borders of Merseyside and Lancashire is newly opened luxury restaurant with rooms, Moor Hall. Its British modern cooking uses produce from the five-acre grounds for its evening tasting menu and three or four course lunch menus. The restaurant even has its own cheese room! This summer will see the opening of Moor Hall's restored medieval barn, with an informal restaurant upstairs and, below, a dairy, a dry ageing room for meat, a bakery and a microbrewery.


South-west England


This April, luxury Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa Chippenham, near Bath, re-launched its Michelin-star restaurant, Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park. The new selection of three eight-course tasting menus, alongside an à la carte menu, with dishes such as braised fillet of turbot, hand rolled macaroni and buttered crab - and also a vegetarian tasting menu.

Restaurant with rooms, The Bower House, also opened this month in the market town of Shipston-on-Stour on the edge of the Cotswolds. With gastro-pub prices, and a modern British menu with a French twist. Dishes include a fresh crab and pea panna cotta starter, and a dark chocolate fondant dessert with walnut semifreddo and nougatine.


Due to open summer 2017 is Cornucopia, a food and drink family visitor attraction at St Austell Bay Retail and Leisure Park. It will be home to Britain's first Cornish pasty heritage centre where visitors will be able to try pasty-making, alongside specialist Cornish food demonstrations, exhibits and events.


The founders of popular Venetian-inspired sharing plate restaurant, Polpo, have just opened their first site in Exeter, which will be the first Polpo to serve a full breakfast and coffee menu to eat in or takeaway. Other dishes include roast stuffed pork with lentils and radicchio, and tiramisu pots.



Polpo's founders are opening a second Spuntino restaurant in Bristol at the new harbour-side Cargo 2 shipping development. Spuntino means ‘snack' in Italian, and dishes are Italian-inspired New York comfort food, such as lobster mac and cheese. Also joining Cargo 2 will be acclaimed chef Josh Eggleton, with his second Salt & Malt fish and chip shop and its signature gluten-free fish and chips.

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Cinnamon Bazaar
Cinnamon Bazaar
Pret a Portea at The Berkley
Sosharu - Japanese-style afternoon tea
Aquavit Nordic Restaurant
Aquavit London
LEON West End
The Senor Ceviche
Chifa Chicharonnes at Senor Ceviche
Bubblewrap waffles in Chinatown
Bateaux Windsor Melody
Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park
Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park
Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park
The Bower House
Cornish Pasty