A Guide to Eating Out Post Lockdown
With restaurants reopening for outdoor dining from 12 April, and indoors from 17 May, here’s a guide to the best to book and the signature dishes you need to try! Covering London haunts, destination restaurants further afield, and the finest hotel restaurants for an overnight escape. We can’t wait to be dining out again!
AL FRESCO DINING – 12 APRIL ONWARDS
AMERICAN BAR AT THE STAFFORD, London
Old-school, classic British dining in a cobbled courtyard in the West End
If you’re looking for a touch of sophisticated luxury with your first al fresco drink of 2021, look no further than the American Bar at The Stafford. Their beautiful cobbled terrace is Mayfair’s hidden gem – the ideal venue for catching up with friends and family in the spring sunshine. Executive Chef Josef Rogulski is the man behind the menu, blending hotel favourites with more exotic flavours and techniques from across the globe. The drinks are always a knockout, whether it’s a classic cocktail or a bottle of something great, chosen by Master Sommelier Gino Nardella.
Signature dish: Chicken Milanese, Borlotti beans & Salsa Verde or a daily special from the outdoor BBQ, alongside a classic martini
LA TERRAZA, IBERICA RESTAURANT GROUP, London
Al Fresco Spanish Tapas in London by Nacho Manzano
Authentic Spanish tapas restaurant, Iberica, has been celebrating the beautiful food, wine and culture of contemporary Spain, taking their guests on an inspirational journey through the authentic flavours, spirit and style of our beloved homeland. Nacho Manzano, the Michelin-starred Executive Chef, grew up in the tiny village of La Salgar in the northern Asturias mountains, where he learnt to cook with his grandmother and mother. Nacho, along with the rest of the team will be opening La Terraza on the 12th April following the roadmap announcement, with their large covered outdoor terrace. All other restaurants with no outside seating will be opening on the 17th May with bookings open on the 15th March. Get ready to enjoy a simple, yet delicious, menu of grilled dishes and light salads, paired with Spanish wines, beers and cocktails.
To book: https://www.ibericarestaurants.com/
ARROS QD, London
A taste of Spain and paellas for sharing – because we can!
The new terrace outside Arros WD, tucked away behind Oxford Street, is ready to open on 12 April. With tables for couples, tables for six and their signature sharing paellas – this is the place to be. From the three-Michelin starred chef Quique Dacosta, Arros specialises in Valencian paella cooked over wood fire – the authentic way. Try these sizzling pans of rice, served with classic alioli and then topped with seafood, topped with seasonal veg, rabbit and chicken, all conjuring up the feel of a night in the Med!
Signature dish: Paella Valenciana: a whole pan of fire-cooked rice with rabbit, chicken, garrofo beans, rosemary and of course, alioli on the side
To book: https://www.arrosqd.com/
Dine out on Henley’s historic Marketplace and watch the world go by
For those looking for a jaunt out of London, the one-hour trip to Henley is well worth it. The new restaurant with rooms – voted as The Times’ best hotel in Central England – boasts a terrace overlooking Henley’s historic marketplace. With head chef Tom Westerland on the pans, the menu is revamped British classics. The house burger is served in their beef fat bun with smoked cheese and bacon, or there’s their whole roasted cauliflower with raisins, curry and onion bhaji.
Signature dish: Kentucky Fried Octopus, chorizo ketchup, mint and cucumber yoghurt
To book: https://henley.crockersuk.com/
MICKEYS BEACH, Exmouth
This brand new beach bar and restaurant from Michael Caines opens its doors for the very first time on April 12! Serving up the best of the South West in on casual outdoor terrace with cocktails aplenty, resident DJ at weekend (when permitted), all overlooking Exmouth Sideshore’s magnificent views and sunsets! Set to be the destination for this summer to kick back and relax
To book: https://www.mickeysbeach.co.uk/
INDOOR DINING – 17 MAY ONWARDS
NORMA, London, Fizrovia
A slice of Italy, on Charlotte Street
If you’ve missed the flavours of Italy, then look no further than Norma on Charlotte Street. The Sicilian favourite from The Stafford Collection and chef Ben Tish is just the ticket for transporting you to warmer climes while air travel still eludes us.
Signature dish: small plates of Spaghettini fritters & parmesan dipping sauce, lamb crudo, English burrata & black figs and other seasonal specialities. Don’t miss out on the Norma Aubergine Parmigiana topped with a cloud of parmesan either, Bellissimo.
To book: https://normalondon.com/
CORNERSTONE, London, Hackney
Hackney’s newly Michelin-starred haunt
Newly Michelin-Starred restaurant, Cornerstone, Hackney Wick by Chef Tom Brown are now taking bookings. With a celebrated seafood menu of stunning dishes showcasing seasonal British catches, highlights include: Crab Crumpet with Cauliflower and Old Winchester, Hake Kiev with Wild Mushroom Butter and Black Truffle Hollandaise and Jivara Chocolate Mousse Cake with Orange Jelly and Milk Ice Cream.
Signature dish: it’s got to be the crab crumpet…
To book: https://www.cornerstonehackney.com
NUTSHELL, London, Covent Garden
The heart of the Silk Road in Covent Garden
Nutshell looks forward to bringing modern Iranian fine plates to their Convent Garden restaurant again. With their subtle blend of spices, herbs, fruits and nuts that illuminate fragrant dishes inspired by the regions of Iran, Chef Patron, Marwa Alkhalaf has a special menu showing the wild diversity of the country, from the floral north to the spicy south. They will open with their Spring menu with highlights including: Poussin Torsh – Grilled poussin with buttery herbed beluga lentils, tamarind and pomegranate glaze & lemon oil, Mazandarani Lamb – Robata grilled lamb rump, apricot purée & saffron tomato salsa and their classic Ranginak Tart – Toasted flour tart with dates, pistachio & spiced clotted cream.
Signature dish: Grilled poussin with buttery herbed beluga lentils
To book: https://nutshelllondon.co.uk/
THE GAME BIRD, West End, London
Restaurant trolleys – we have missed you!
Whilst the American Bar at The Stafford can open in April, it’s sister restaurant The Game Bird will have to wait another month. However, it will be well worth the wait: tuck into a selection of smoked and cured fish with all the trimmings from their trolley, or dressed crab and pate en croute? The beautiful dining room screams elegance and occasion and is the perfect spot for catching up on those missed anniversaries and celebratory dinners.
Signature dish: Chicken Kiev, Truffle Butter & Pomme Purree
MUSE by Tom Aikens, Belgravia, London
Michelin-starred tasting menus in an old London townhouse
Having just been awarded its first Michelin-star, and with only 25 seats in the house – Muse is a must-book for life after lockdown! Esteemed British chef Tom Aikens serves up tasting menus from this converted Georgian townhouse on a cobbled street in London’s old Belgravia. Inspired by his childhood and the chefs who have formed his career the dishes are clever, charming and sure to stick in your mind for some time to come. Head for lunch and try 3 courses, or for dinner and 7 or the full 10 dishes, and enjoy some of the finest fine dining in London.
Signature dish: it’s a seasonal menu and changes regularly, but the ‘Wait and See’ dessert is a winner.
To book: https://www.musebytomaikens.co.uk/
DIRTY BONES, London & Oxford
Bottomless brunch, and comfort food with friends
Gather a group of friends and get down and dirty with Dirty Bones once again come May. Known and loved for their New York inspired comfort food, it’s the ideal place for really celebrating those good times and good vibes again. Relax, unwind and enjoy eating food you’ve not had to cook or wash up afterwards – what a treat! Their signature bottomless brunches may be back too…
Signature dish: Cheeseburger Dumplings and a Dirty Old Fashioned to wash them down
To book: https://dirty-bones.com/
SWINGERS, London, City & West End
The competitive socialising space promising the best night out in London
Swingers, the go to place for an all-in-one night out, offers London’s most exciting food traders, alongside a round or two of good time golf! Swingers plan to get us back to socialising, safely and in style once leisure spaces reopen. Known for its 1920s country golf setting with rolling greens, fairground-feel and the glamour of the English Riviera, the team behind Swingers are excited to welcome customers back on the 17 May where you can golf away and snack on food from Pizza Pilgrims, Made by Dough, Patty and Bun, Toreados and Hackney Gelato.
Signature dish: A Pizza Pilgrims, and a round of mini golf please!
To book: https://swingers.club/uk
INDOORS, BEYOND LONDON
Sheffield’s finest – shipping container meets fine dining in the old docks
Luke French and Stacey Sherwood-French’s Sheffield restaurant will be re-opening to the public on 19 May. With dishes including fermented Mayan Gold potato with smoked pike roe and Highland Wagyu knuckle with wasabi mustard & watercress, JÖRO is the place to be to enjoy the finest native ingredients combined with some of the best modern cooking the city has ever seen.
Signature dish: Highland wagyu
RICK STEIN COLLECTION, Cornwall
The nation’s sweetheart is back
Thousands of people have been enjoying a Stein’s at Home box during lockdown, however nothing beats the taste of fresh seafood in Cornwall. Whether it’s a whole dover sole at The Seafood Restaurant, grilled ribeye steak at St Petroc’s Bistro or a pie and pint in the Cornish Arms, you’ll be greeted with the renowned Stein hospitality. Keep an eye out for some sites with outdoor areas which may open sooner!
Signature dish: Rick’s Indonesian Fish Curry with Pilau Rice and Green Bean & Coconut Salad
To book: https://www.rickstein.com/
The burger restaurant with a difference – it’s the UK’s National Burger Award Winner. We’ve all enjoyed their DIY kits at home, but they’re getting prepared to welcome diners in again from 17 May. Their signature Aberdeenshire burgers – made using the finest chuck, flank and brisket steak from local butcher, Aubrey Allen – make these patties and buns the best in business. Pint, a glass of wine, or a cocktail in hand, this is the sort of food you want to eat with friends.
Signature dish: the No. 007 – their signature patty, American cheese and dripping in chimichurri & house chilli
To book: https://www.libertineburger.com/
THE LAKE DISTRICT
A tasting menu with rooms on the banks of Lake Grasmere
Famed for its on-site garden with bountiful produce, Forest Side have spent the last year pickling, preserving and fermenting the fine home-grown ingredients, ready to serve its guests when open again. This sought-after dining room in the heart of the Lakes is reopening with a brand new menu featuring the likes of Aged Cumbrian deer, wood sorrel & smoked fresh cheese; 2017 walnuts, hand dived scallop, salsify & Cumbrian saddleback and Beets cooked in their own juice, juniper picked at Rydal & whipped cod’s roe and sweets like Preserved rhubarb, meadowsweet and set custard. 8 courses of England’s finest cooked up by chef Paul Leonard.
Signature dish: 8 courses makes it hard to pick, but their Yeast Parfait, chocolate and toasted barley dessert is a winner.
To book: https://www.theforestside.com/
Buried in the dales, an intimate restaurant with rooms on the Bronte sisters’ turf
Between the borders of Yorkshire and Cumbria lies is a former coaching inn, quietly offering some of the best fine dining the region: Hipping Hall. Lancashire’s destination restaurant with rooms is immersed in local history, surrounded by walks and paths trodden by the Bronte Sisters and their world of characters. Chef Oli Martin – a MasterChef: The Professionals winner – leads a seasonally dependent tasting menu, working with the fine local produce on Lancashire’s doorstep. Dinner guests are treated to courses such as Mirs Kirkham’s custard & onion jam; Goosnargh chicken dumpling; Spelt brain and house-cultured butter and local honey custard with flowering currant.
Signature dish: got to be Lancashire parkin with whey caramel
To book: https://www.hippinghall.com/
SHAUN RANKIN at GRANTLEY HALL
The newly Michelin-starred restaurant, in a Grade II* Listed 17th century Palladian Manor
This hugely-anticipated opening (July 2019) from Shaun Rankin received its Michelin star in 2021 – it’s high-time to get to Yorkshire and try it for yourself. Shaun’s menu – a Taste of Home – harks back to the dishes of his youth, spent growing up in the area. Dishes like Bread, butter, dripping, beef tea, daily-changing snacks from the Kitchen Garden and ‘Lanark blue cheese with Harrogate sticky bun’. Oh and all ingredients are sourced within 30 miles of the hotel – a true taste of Yorkshire.
Signature dish: it’s got to be Shaun’s take on a Yorkshire beef tea
The Michelin-starred sea-view restaurant from chef Michael Caines MBE
A must-visit in the South-West, dinner at Lympstone Manor with chef Michael Caines at the help, is an evening spent well indeed. A classic menu championing timeless European cuisine and the bounties of the local Exe estuary. There’s a few tasting menus to choose from so you can make sure to find one that’s the perfect fit for your occasion – for dining at Lympstone is dining in style! Menus change regularly but include the likes of Roasted scallops, barbequed sea bream & Brixham ravioli, Slow cooked partridge, loin of venison and more! And before the indoor restaurant reopens, from April 12 you can sit out on the terrace with a glass of something cold, and look over the Lympstone vineyard and Exe estuary beyond.
Signature dish: Butter poached Brixham turbot, leeks, mushroom, chive & truffle butter sauce
To book: https://lympstonemanor.co.uk/