Reasons to visit London in 2017
Author: Joe Warwick
Photography: Getty images (London) & Keiko Oikawa (Clipstone)
Breakfast: Foxlow Soho
The latest outpost of Foxlow, the diffusion line from quality British steakhouse purveyors Hawksmoor, takes its neigbourhood concept from the suburbs to the increasingly gentrified heart of Soho. Its basement and ground floor are laid out with a mix of counter seating around a large U-shaped bar, communal tables, plush booths and window seats that look towards Golden Square. Pop in for breakfast and dig into smoked haddock and egg muffins, fried chicken, egg and croissant waffles, and ham hock hash browns with fried eggs and sausage gravy - or maybe just a bowl of granola. For weekdays there's bottomless filter coffee; for weekend brunching, bottomless Bloody Marys. Or vice versa.
8-10 Lower James St, Soho, London.
Power lunch: Clipstone
Some of the best modern British cooking in London right now is coming out of the two kitchens overseen by chef Merlin Labron-Johnson. Two years after it opened, Portland in Marylebone is better than ever, while its younger sibling Clipstone, in an old clothing showroom in Fitzrovia, is getting all the attention and scooping up awards. Work your way through a menu that starts with cold cuts and raw things, then vegetable-focused small plates ahead of larger sharing platters that use the charcoal grill. Opt for the "leave it to us" £45 seven-course feasting menu to spend more time with the compact but clever wine list, half of which is available by glass and carafe.
5 Clipstone St, Fitzrovia, London.
Crudo of char with peach at
The two branches of Bao, the excellent Taiwanese joints serving buns and small plates, are still attracting regular queues. Now the same team has just opened Xu - pronounced "shu" - on the edge of Chinatown. The interior looks to 1930s Taipei, while the menu takes inspiration from the streets of Taiwan and runs with it in sophisticated dishes such as oyster and taro congee, squab with loquat, and mangalitsa rib rice - diced pork ribs mixed with spiced rice, steamed on a bed of sweet potato and topped with foie gras.
30 Rupert St, Soho, London.
Drink: Dickie's Bar
Having recently celebrated the centenary of his classy oyster bar Bentley's, Richard Corrigan has teamed up with Gregory Buda, of New York's award-winning The Dead Rabbit, and Richard Ryan, founder of design agency Drinksology, to open Dickie's Bar inside Corrigan's Mayfair restaurant. The recent Irish whiskey boom is showcased in the drinks lists, as are cocktails created with produce from Virginia Park Lodge, Corrigan's County Cavan estate.
28 Upper Grosvenor St, Mayfair, London.
Sleep: The Ned
The Soho House group has transformed Sir Edwyn "Ned" Lutyens Art Deco gem, opened as the Midland Bank in 1924, into a stunning vintage-style hotel with 252 bedrooms, a serious gym and spa, and nine restaurants that include a 24-hour lounge, a classic British grill, a New York-style deli and a robata-powered Asian-Pacific eatery. There's been a lot of talk about the risk of opening in the previously humdrum heart of the financial district. But with rooms starting at £250 that include access to The Ned's intimate lounge bar in the bank's old vault (membership from £1,500 a year) and the terrace with rooftop pool that overlooks St Paul's Cathedral and the Bank of England, it's looking like a safe £200 million investment.
27 Poultry, City of London.
Old World elegance at The
Coming soon: The Rib Room
Originally opened in 1961, The Rib Room in Belgravia is being rebooted later this year by Tom Kerridge, likeable televisual presence and chef-owner of the two-star The Hand & Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Expect the roast beef and the original artwork by Polish expressionist painter Feliks Topolski to remain as Kerridge remakes the classic British menu in his own likeable image for his first London opening.
Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Cadogan Pl, Belgravia, London.