British, Modern Restaurants in Fitzrovia
1. Kitchen Table British, Modern restaurant in Fitzrovia 70 Charlotte Street - W1
“Truly extraordinary” – James Knappett and Sandia Chang’s gastronomic vision continues to blossom at their Fitzrovia 18-seater, which reopened in July 2021 after a major refurbishment. The reformatting included ditching the adjacent Bubbledogs concept, which they led with in 2012, and converting that space into a lounge and bar for diners at the main event: the chef’s table. It also included a not-insignificant price hike to £250 for up to 20 courses, which on opening included dishes such as Glazed Cornish Blue Lobster, Tahitian Vanilla Brown Butter, and Pickled Beach Roses. Sandia’s wine list now features some of the rarest grower champagnes (which she also sells online). The ratings are something of a guesstimate based on past performance and – the restaurant being closed leading up to the survey – rave meal kit reports.
2. The Lore of the Land British, Modern restaurant in Camden 4 Conway Street - W1T
“Our local and by far the best pub in Fitzrovia” – Guy Ritchie and David Beckham seem to have hit the target with the ‘country pub’ they opened three years ago, serving beer from the former’s Gritchie brewery and venison from his Wiltshire estate – “their own Angel Lore lager is fantastic”. The site has housed a pub since 1829, known as the Adams Arms and the Lukin within living memory, while “Alan McGee’s Creation Records started its infamous club the Living Room here in the 1980s”. A fire in June 2021 has temporarily closed the pub, which hopes to be open again by Christmas.
3. Clipstone British, Modern restaurant in Fitzrovia 5 Clipstone Street - W1
“Assured and friendly service” is a particular plus at Will Lander and Daniel Morgenthau’s “low-key” but engaging corner site in Fitzrovia, whose “informal” but professional approach suits it to a simple business lunch but also to a “perfect, relaxed and unstuffy” meal with friends. There was the odd quibble about creeping prices this year, but practically all reports are of “inventive and surprising” cuisine that’s “always seasonal, unpretentious and utterly delicious”. Interesting wine options too (including reasonable corkage and the option to purchase and take home).
4. Caravan British, Modern restaurant in Fitzrovia Yalding House, 152 Great Portland Street - W1W
“OK I guess, but could be so much better” is an increasingly common view on this once-groundbreaking chain, where the feeling that “it seems to have gone off a bit” is most prevalent at the well-known Granary Square branch, which risks becoming “a cheerless, so-so, fast-turnaround experience”. At its best, though – mostly to be found at the EC1 original, with its “great outside seating area and very relaxed atmosphere” – the group remains popular for its “innovative and delicious breakfasts”: “great sharing plates” and “something for everyone” (which includes “a good set of vegan and vegetarian alternatives”).
5. Portland British, Modern restaurant in Fitzrovia 113 Great Portland Street - W1
“Very serious cooking that’s totally unpretentious”, with “exciting seasonal flavour combinations” and “sensational tastes”, won adulatory reviews this year for Will Lander and Daniel Morgenthau’s well-known Fitzrovian. It’s not a flash place – “a simple interior with open kitchen” – but “friendly, highly professional service” and access to “a good selection of sensible-price wines” further add to its appeal.
6. Café Deco British, Modern restaurant in Fitzrovia 43 Store Street - WC1E
Bloomsbury greasy spoon that’s been artfully transformed into a simple bar and modern bistro by the team behind 40 Maltby Street, with Anna Tobias (P Franco, Rochelle Canteen) at the stoves. It was launched in December 2020 and won a big thumbs-up from Guardian reviewer Grace Dent, who – while noting that it “looks a bit like a sandwich shop with lofty aspirations” – found “finely judged, nicely eccentric cooking with a strong undercurrent of country-house living”. Our early feedback is limited but similarly upbeat.
7. The Berners Tavern British, Modern restaurant in Mayfair 10 Berners Street - W1
“The most sensational-looking dining room” – a “so lively” (“far too loud”?) converted banking hall in Ian Shrager’s Edition hotel – overshadows Jason Atherton’s food at this fashionable Fitzrovia haunt. Fans do hail cooking they say is “lovely”, but it “miscues” too often for comfort, and its harshest critics now place it “essentially at gastropub level”. Even critics, though, suspect the place will “carry on pulling people in”.
8. Roux at the Landau, The Langham British, Modern restaurant in Marylebone 1c Portland Pl - W1
‘Exciting concept changes’ are promised at this elegant Roux-branded dining room, within the luxurious five-star opposite Broadcasting House. Democratised in style in 2018, then closed for much of the pandemic and beyond, the presumption is that it will take another move to a less formal (perhaps brasserie?) style when it reopens in 2022. Just the other side of the wall is The Wigmore – a pub created from spare space at the hotel and launched with its own entrance and Roux input in 2017. A hint at what’s to come?
9. VQ, St Giles Hotel British, Modern restaurant in Bloomsbury 111a Great Russell Street - WC1
“Reliable, whatever the hour” – this small group of upscale diners has grown from its long-established Chelsea base, although – with closures in recent times – its only two siblings now are within midtown hotels in Aldwych and Bloomsbury. Aldwych is the only one actually open 24/7 (VQ = ‘Vingt Quatre’, i.e. 24-hour), but both its siblings are open for most of the wee hours, which is when they come into their own as a pick-me-up post clubbing. “It’s a very cosmopolitan menu, but drink may dull the senses of fussier gastronomes…”
10. Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury Hotel Afternoon tea restaurant in Bloomsbury 16-22 Great Russell Street - WC1
This “delightful” hotel terrace (with fully retractable roof) takes its name from a Virginia Woolf novel, and provides a rare peaceful haven in busy central London – “honestly, everything’s that’s been said about this beautiful place is true!”. “Service is attentive”, and the venue is perfect for a “lovely afternoon tea catching up with friends”. It can seem a little “chichi and pricey generally, although the brunch set menus are decent value”.
11. 28-50 Oxford Circus British, Modern restaurant in Oxford Circus 4 Great Portland Street - W1W
Review: “The sort of handy local that everyone needs” – with “good food and a particularly interesting wine list” – this modern wine bar chain has expanded with investment from its new owner, Alpine holiday supremo Richard Green, and now has branches in Marylebone, Covent Garden, South Ken and Chelsea. “The wine is what you come for”, “from a list that is both surprising and well understood by the staff” – with a range available by the glass as well as some “fabulous but expensive” ‘Collectors’ bottles.
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