London is a delight for foodies, with cuisines from around the world in its myrian restaurants.
Art and design fans now have another reason to visit Kensington, as a new Japanese restaurant near the Design Museum prioritises presentation as much as taste. Akira is on the top floor of Japan House London, a new Japanese cultural centre in a 1920s Art Deco building on Kensington High Street. Here, the décor is minimal—just a few black metal lattice screens and handmade wooden furniture, with a tatami room for private dining.
The menu offers multiple small dishes, so you can start with Wagyu beef with truffle, before sampling crab and cream croquettes, smoked eel tartar and rice prepared in a donabe (clay pot). The restaurant also has a robata (charcoal grill), so save space for skewers of chargrilled Wagyu beef, chicken, seafood and vegetables, served on a hot stone.
This South American restaurant is led by head chef Francisco Lafee, who previously worked in Michelin-starred Barrafina and El Celler de Can Roca. Set over two floors, Zuaya features botanical artwork and a green marble bar, plus an outdoor terrace. Expect Mexican, Argentinian and Peruvian sharing dishes such as octopus grilled on a robota; wild turbot ceviche with raspberry, orange and pink grapefruit; dulce de leche with guava milk ice cream and quindim, a Brazilian egg yolk flan with coconut ice cream.
Joe’s Café—Stylish Venue
While this café opened in 1984, it recently relaunched inside Joseph clothing boutique in nearby Knightsbridge. New head chef Anupam Som created a global menu which includes king prawns, cashews, chutney and samosa chaat; pea falafel with spiced fruit salad and Chermoula-marinated tiger prawns with couscous and baba ghanoush (smoked aubergine). Keep an eye out for famous faces—guests have already included Anthony Hopkins and Sophia Loren.
Laurent at Cafe Royal—Refurbed Restaurant
A grill restaurant visited by Winston Churchill and Princess Diana, Hotel Cafe Royal has had a new lease of life thanks to French chef Laurent Tourondel. With restaurants in New York, Miami and Hong Kong, Tourondel is the new chef of Laurent at Café Royal, in a 19th-century grade II-listed hotel that has refurbished its first floor, high-ceilinged restaurant. It now boasts an open kitchen serving grilled Aberdeen Angus ribeye, Kagoshima Wagyu and Dover sole, plus a new sushi bar. Choose from the 20-page wine list or a cocktail from the new bar, which glows gold.
Gazelle—An Impressive Duo
Opening up Gazelle in an Edwardian building Mayfair is talented duo chef Rob Roy Cameron (formerly at the renowned El Bulli, 41 Degrees and Hoja Santa, all in Spain) and mixologist Tony Conigliaro (69 Colebrooke Row, Bar Termini and Untitled). Accessed by a private lift or spiral staircase, Gazelle features exposed brick walls set against jewel tones – red and gold on the first floor; purple, green and blue upstairs, with stylish portraits adorning the walls. The menu comprises small sharing plates with unexpected combinations, perhaps including frozen yeast, strawberry oyster, squid with jowl and girolles, and monkfish and burnt seeds.
Farzi Café—Indian Twist
Craving a masala Scotch egg? Then visit the new branch of Farzi Café. Already a hit in India, it’s garnered a reputation for experimental global cuisine with Indian influences and molecular gastronomy touches. Farzi Café plays with colours, textures and presentation – think savoury lollipops, snacks tipped from a pot and made-for-adults kids’ desserts, artfully arranged. Samples dishes such as vegetable curry fondue, Sicilian arancini rice balls filled with dal, deconstructed shepherd’s pie made with seared Wagyu and tandoori wild mushrooms, truffle and walnut dust.