London boasts one of the world's most dynamic dining scenes, with plenty of exciting new openings popping up across the city every month. Beatrice Squires explores what's on the menu this spring.
King’s Cross underwent a huge regeneration some years back, but one of the few buildings to remain was the vast old redbrick that was once London’s first purpose-built gym, designed by Edward Gruning in 1865. Now the German Gymnasium restaurant, the space is outstanding – spectacular vaulted ceilings flank the interior and there is a beautiful backlit bar. The all-day grand café offers casual dishes such as beef goulash soup, while the first-floor restaurant boasts more upmarket Mittel-European food.
1 King’s Boulevard, N1C 4BU.
020 7287 8000. www.germangymnasium.com
Acclaimed chef Allan Pickett heads up his first solo venture with Piquet, located in Fitzrovia. Piquet caters to both casual walk-ins and formal diners, with a sophisticated restaurant situated below the more relaxed Fir Room, a no-bookings dining space serving a daily-changing menu of small plates including casserole of cod cheeks, baby squid and haricot blanc. Combining both French and English cuisine, Pickett’s approach is summed up as classic food using only the finest seasonal ingredients.
92-94 Newman Street, W1T 3EZ.
020 3826 4500. www.piquet-restaurant.co.uk
Once in a while, a restaurant comes along that is as hotly anticipated for its cool factor as for its food. With a sumptuous interior of shimmering golds, deep reds and striking artworks by artists including Damien Hirst, Sexy Fish is open until 2am, with a resident DJ from Thursday to Saturday. It’s also home to two of the world’s largest coral reef tanks. Hot dishes range from prawn soldiers and rock lobster tempura, to robata-grilled sesame seed sea bream. Oh, and check out the whisky list, one of the world’s most extensive.
Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, W1J 6BR.
020 3764 2000. www.sexyfish.com
When the only thing that separates your dinner table from the clouds is a pane of glass, you may as well call it dining in the sky. On the 17th floor of east London’s M by Montcalm hotel, Urban Coterie is a restaurant, bar and members’ club from Searcys and Anthony Demetre, of Wild Honey restaurant. Seasonal British fare at its best is on the monthly-changing restaurant menu, while the bar serves smaller British tapas. A particularly nice touch is the hole in the wall to the kitchen, where you can watch head chef Martin Zahumensky cooking up menu favourites such as grilled monkfish with cockles, kale, rosemary and anchovy vinaigrette.
M by Montcalm, 151-157 City Road, EC1V 1JH.
020 3837 3108. www.urbancoterie.co.uk