With the summer Olympics on the horizon, London’s dynamic food scene continues to evolve apace. Here are 10 restaurants that are helping to redefine the culinary landscape of the British capital
By Daven Wu
Gilbert Scott Named after the great English architect who designed the hotel in which it resides, the Gilbert Scott, just steps from the St. Pancras train station, is easily London’s grandest dining room. The triple-height ceiling and Belle Epoque vibe are the perfect setting for Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing, whose menu—suffused with quirky touches like miniature Cornish pastries alongside prawn cocktails, and Eccles cake with cheddar cheese ice cream—gives a clever nod to the culinary heritage of the towns and counties that the trains once passed through on their way to Victorian London (St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, Euston Rd., King’s Cross; 44-20/7278-3888; mains from US$24).
Granger & Co. It’s surprising that Australian chef Bill Granger has taken so long to open in London: his deconstructed mod-European fare with Asian hints seems tailor-made for the city’s cosmopolitan appetite. But here’s a tip—if you’re planning on a weekend visit, be prepared to wait more than an hour for a table. It’s best to come on a weekday, when you’ll be able to peacefully savor Granger’s famed eggs scrambled with cream and butter, ricotta pancakes with honeycomb butter, sensational corn fritters, and slow-roasted pork shoulder drizzled with hoisin and served with spring-onion pancakes (175 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill; 44-20/7229-9111; mains from US$19).
Nopi Though its name is a portmanteau that references its location—north of Piccadilly—there’s nothing abbreviated about the Asian- and Middle Eastern–influenced menu at Yotam Ottolenghi’s new brasserie. Sharing the same culinary DNA as his Ottolenghi restaurant in Islington—which is to say, dishes are served tapas-style—Nopi cocoons diners in a mélange of fresh flavors and exotic ingredients. Savoring bites of seared prawns with tomato butter or the exquisite twice-cooked baby chicken with lemon-myrtle salt, five-spiced tofu, and braised eggplant is one attraction; the dizzying wall-to-wall mirrored bathroom is another (21–22 Warwick St., Soho; 44-20/7494-9584; mains from US$14).
Pollen Street Social Jason Atherton’s new Mayfair outpost is not for the hard of hearing. When it’s full (which is almost always), the acoustics send every conversation in the handsomely austere dining room bouncing off the uncarpeted timber floor. But this is a trifling quibble as you tuck in to the robustly masculine spread of deer tartare, braised West Country ox cheek, and roasted cod served with a fragrant Catalan paella. Despite the menu’s machismo, the plating is exquisite and the service, even with the strain of a full house, remains poised and unfailingly polished (8-10 Pollen St., Oxford Circus; 44-20/7290-7600; mains from US$27).