The best London restaurants reopening for indoor dining from 17th May
Following almost four months of closure, hospitality venues such as restaurants, bars, and pubs were able to reopen for al fresco dining last month, as lockdown restrictions begin to ease. But with so many restaurants unable to offer outdoor dining options, we pick the best restaurants reopening for indoor dining from Monday 17th May.
(NB. With the effects of Covid-19 continuing to impact businesses, it’s advisable to call or check each restaurant’s website and social media for updated opening hours before visiting.)
St JOHN, Clerkenwell
One of London’s best restaurants, St JOHN is set to reopen on 17th May, and is now taking online bookings. Expect the daily-changing menu to feature a collection of St JOHN classics (including that bone marrow and parsley salad) for which the pioneering nose-to-tail restaurant has become so famous for, as well as highly seasonal British dishes, best washed down with the restaurant’s own label wine.
St JOHN Smithfield is set to reopen on Monday 17th May. Further information can be found at stjohnrestaurant.com.
Mangal II, Stoke Newington
During the early 1990s, Ali Dirik opened the first Mangal Ocakbaşi restaurant in Dalston, soon before opening a second venue on Stoke Newington Road. Today, the family has no involvement with the first restaurant, but Mangal II is now run by Ali’s sons, Ferhat and Sertac Dirik. One of London’s best Turkish restaurants, Mangal II honours its Anatolian roots, but also reflects a modern palate with its concise menu. A selection of locally-brewed beers and natural wines are also available. From the ocakbaşi grill, highlights include a selection of kebabs (lamb sweetbreads, in particular), whole grilled aubergine, and spicy ezme salad.
Mangal II is set to reopen on Monday 17th May. Further information can be found at mangal2.com.
Coal Rooms, Peckham
With the café having remained open for takeaway coffees, pastries, and vegan sausage rolls, Coal Rooms will reopen for indoor dining on Tuesday 18th May. On Tuesday and Wednesday evenings the Peckham restaurant will serve its new Coal Rooms Steak Menu, featuring ex-dairy Shorthorn from the UK, aged for 48 days, and grilled over English Holm Oak, with a selection of seasonal sides. A five course tasting menu will be served on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings; while the restaurant’s famous roasts will continue to be served on Sundays.
Coal Rooms is set to reopen on Tuesday 18th May. Further information can be found at coalroomspeckham.com.
Tigre Tacos at The Gunmakers, Clerkenwell
A food truck pop-up that began its life at Nine Lives Alley, Tigre Tacos is set to open its first permanent space at The Gun Makers in Clerkenwell, in addition to running the truck at Nine Lives. Opening on Monday 17th May, Tigres Tacos will continue to serve ‘Mexi-Cali’ cuisine, inspired by street-food taquerias and trucks. Here, chef Ramon “El Tigre” Ramos’ menu will exclusively feature seafood and vegetarian options. Expect the likes of lobster tail tacos, a Baja ‘no-fish’ taco made with banana flower, and Calbacitas tacos with courgette, baby corn, and hibiscus flowers.
Tigre Tacos at The Gunmakers is set to open on Monday 17th May. Further information can be found at tigretacos.com.
With its sister restaurant Circolo Popolare having opened its popular terrace last month, Gloria will reopen on Monday 17th May. One of London’s most unashamedly over-the-top Italian restaurants, Gloria’s long-awaited return is welcome, with new dishes joined the menu, including carbonara crocchetta, double filled giant raviolo, veal Milanese, and a melting chocolate lava cake. Classics such as the restaurant’s famous lemon pie will also be available, plus ‘La Gran Carbonara’ and pasta al tartufo.
Gloria is set to reopen on Monday 17th May. Further information can be found at bigmammagroup.com.
KOL and KOL Mezcaleria, Marylebone
First opened last October, as a collaboration between chef Santiago Lastra and MJMK Restaurants, KOL will reopen on Tuesday 18th May (closed on Mondays) and will also launch its brand new KOL Mezcaleria on Wednesday 19th May. On the lower ground floor of the restaurant, the Mezcaleria is described as “an explorative drinking and dining experience”, centred around agave spirits. Housing more than 80 varieties of tequila and mezcal, from small-scale and independent distillers, KOL Mezcaleria will offer a cocktail menu combining Mexican and British ingredients. Drinks will take a culinary approach, tying in with the kitchen’s ‘antojotos’ or ‘little cravings’ – a selection of street food-style snacks inspired by delicacies found in Mexico’s indigenous communities.
KOL is set to reopen on Tuesday 18th May. KOL Mezcaleria is set to open on Wednesday 19th May. Further information can be found at kolrestaurant.com.
Manteca is set to reopen on Monday 17th May. Further information can be found at mantecarestaurant.co.uk.
Rosa’s Thai, Various
With some Rosa’s Thai sites already open for outdoor dining, where possible, all of the group’s restaurants will reopen for indoor dining on Monday 17th May. With 19 restaurants in London (plus a selection of delivery-only sites) and sites in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, and at Bluewater, the reopenings will also include the brand new site in Greenwich. Having grown up in northern Thailand, Saiphin Moore arrived in London in 2006 and soon launched Rosa’s Thai. Since then, the restaurant group has become renowned for its Thai food, with menu highlights including the likes of exceptional pad Thai, Panang curries, and summer rolls.
Rosa’s Thai will reopen for indoor dining on Monday 17th May. Further information can be found at rosasthaicafe.com.
One of the first fine dining restaurants in London to pivot to home delivery back in March 2020, Benares was also one of the first to support the NHS throughout the pandemic, donating a hot meal for every order they received. Having also received a Michelin star earlier this year, the modern Indian fine dining restaurant will reopen for indoor dining on Monday 17th May, with executive chef Sameer Taneja having devised a new menu. Highlights including Gol Gappe ‘Classic & Contemporary’; Kashmiri lamb Rogan Josh; and baked Malabar scallop.
Benares is set to reopen on Monday 17th May. Further information can be found at benaresrestaurant.com.
Brasserie Zédel, Soho
A hidden oasis beneath Piccadilly Circus, Brasserie Zédel will reopen for indoor dining on Monday 17th May, alongside Bar Américain, Crazy Coqs, and ZL Café. A huge French restaurant, taking customers back in time, the grand room has space for 450, so social distancing is no problem. On the menu, the a la carte menu features classics such as French onion soup; frog’s legs; choucroute; and boeuf Bourguignonne. The prixe fixe set menu, on the other hand, offers two courses for £10.95 – an absolute steal.
Brasserie Zédel is set to reopen on Monday 17th May. Further information can be found at brasseriezedel.com.
Murger Han, Various
Championing the cuisine of Xi’an (capital of China’s Shaanxi Province), Murger Han will reopen its restaurants on Monday 17th May. Importing herbs and spices directly from the area and preparing dishes according to strict, traditional recipes, Murger Han’s menu is dominated by breads and wheat noodles, including superlative biang biang noodles with tomato and egg, plus the addition of glossy braised pork, slow-cooked slices of beef and lamb, and spring onions; rampant with soy, vinegar, pak choi and mashed ginger, all working in perfect harmony.
Murger Han is set to reopen on Monday 17th May. Further information can be found at murgerhan.com.
Ikoyi, St James’s
Michelin-starred Ikoyi’s menu is built around British micro-seasonality, with a vast collection of spices used, drawing particular inspiration from sub-Saharan West Africa. Set to reopen for indoor dining on Monday 17th May, highlights from the St James’s Market restaurant’s menu include overripe plantain with preserved apple and roasted kelp; aged sheep kebab with Green Goddess and Brittany seaweed; and smoked jollof rice with rich crab custard.
Ikoyi is set to reopen on Monday 17th May. Further information can be found at ikoyilondon.com.
Lyon’s, Crouch End
Closed on Mondays, Lyon’s will reopen to dine in guests on Tuesday 18th May. An independent, family run restaurant in Crouch End, the team at Lyon’s are passionate about sustainably sourced seafood, aiming to deliver the highest quality food and service in a relaxed, welcoming environment. As for the food, there’s a prominent focus on oysters, while a “nose-to-fin” ethos is also championed.
Lyon’s is set to reopen on Tuesday 18th May. Further information can be found at lyons-restaurant.com.
Royal China, Various
With six restaurants in London, including Royal China Club, the Royal China Group will reopen its restaurants on Monday 17th May. Renowned for their traditional Chinese food, Royal China’s dim sum is particularly notable, served at lunch time. Highlights include char siu sou (honey barbecue pork puffs); xiao long bao; steamed chicken feet in black bean sauce; and clay pot rice with wind-dried sausage.
Royal China restaurants are set to reopen on Monday 17th May. Further information can be found at royalchinagroup.co.uk.
With the restaurant’s original Shoreditch site having permanently closed, due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Andina will re-launch with a new venue on Wednesday 19th May. Taking over a larger site on Commercial Street, just opposite Spitalifields Market, the Peruvian restaurant will continue to serve dishes paying homage to the restaurant’s Andean roots, specifically focussing on excellent ceviches. Moreover, a new downstairs bar, Bar Mistura, is also set to open next month, serving cocktails and a menu of tacos.
Andina Spitalfields is set to open on Wednesday 19th May. Further information can be found at cevichefamily.com.
Peckham Cellars, Peckham
Neighbourhood restaurant, wine bar, and bottle shop, Peckham Cellars, is reopening with a new dinner menu, as well as offering a weekend brunch for the first time. Joining the wine list with around 100 options, the new dinner menu has been created by chef Henry Freestone, including the likes of ‘salt beef sando, house pickles, mustard and swiss cheese’ and ‘torched mackerel, rhubarb, fennel and thyme oil’. Brunch will also be served at the weekend, including highlights such as ‘sausage or roasted portobello mushroom breakfast burrito, with egg and hash brown’, and Henry’s signature ‘filo wrapped asparagus, dippy duck egg & anchovy aioli’ (also on the dinner menu).
Peckham Cellars is set to reopen on Wednesday 19th May. Further information can be found at peckhamcellars.co.uk.
Tendril at The Sun & 13 Cantons, Soho
Mostly vegan chef Rishim Sachdeva will launch a mostly vegan Tendril residency at The Sun & 13 Cantons. Running for six months, the pop-up will open on Wednesday 19th May, with the chef serving a menu showcasing his plant-first dishes, as well as the type of food he likes to eat at home. Having been put on hold for the past year, Tendril’s launch menu will focus on fresh, seasonal British produce, with dishes including the likes of ‘grilled squash, red pepper paste, crackers and summer slaw’; ‘chipotle grilled oyster mushroom, smoked leek and peanut sauce’; and ‘ratatouille, basil puree, ras el hanout and herb crumb’.
Tendril is set to open at The Sun & 13 Cantons on Wednesday 17th May. Further information can be found at tendrilkitchen.co.uk.
Legare, London Bridge
On the cobbles of Shad Thames, near London Bridge, Legare is a modern Italian restaurant from Jay Patel and chef Matt Beardmore. Following months of closure, the restaurant plans to reopen for indoor dining on Wednesday 19th May, with a new look interior and a fresh menu for summer 2021. At the time of writing, the new menu is yet to be unveiled but will continue to champion a selection of broadly Italian dishes, with a prominent on pasta and seasonality, using high quality ingredients. A low intervention and natural wine list is also served to accompany.
Legare is set to reopen on Wednesday 19th May. Further information can be found at legarelondon.com.
Luxury boutique hotel, Flemings Mayfair has appointed Sofian Msetfi as executive chef of its fine dining restaurant, Ormer Mayfair, which will reopen on Wednesday 19th May. Focussing solely on tasting menus, the restaurant will serve three seasonally changing options, including a five-course lunch, plus seven-course and nine-course dinners. From the kitchen, signature dishes include Cornish crab with brown crab biscuit, lime, avocado, and spiced crab broth; roast rack of Dorset lamb, confit of lamb breast, cucumber, and dill; and truffle honey ice cream, frozen kefir, and extra virgin olive oil.
Ormer Mayfair is set to reopen on Wednesday 19th May. Further information can be found at flemings-mayfair.co.uk.
Having been operating for over 90 years, Quaglino’s will reopen for indoor dining on Monday 17th May, bringing a new menu, cocktails, and performances by Mica Paris and DJ Trevor Nelson. A glamorous restaurant in the heart of Mayfair, the new Quaglino’s menu has been created by new executive chef Jack Smith. Embodying the venue’s quintessentially modern European roots, expect the likes of Herefordshire beef tartare with confit egg yolk crémeux, bone marrow butter, and summer truffle; pan roasted salmon ballotine, clam and mussel broth, and foraged sea herbs; and strawberry and pistachio verrine with fromage blanc and basil sorbet.
Quaglino’s is set to reopen on Monday 17th May. Further information can be found at quaglinos-restaurant.co.uk.