Since opening in 2014, Chiltern Firehouse may have been attracting the jet set and celeb crowd but it’s not just about people spotting. The food by Michelin-starred chef Nuno Mendes is American-inspired but with a few twists: think pigeon tacos, monkfish cooked over pine and teriyaki mackerel. The restaurant is opened from breakfast to brunch through to dinner. And, if you can, try to blag it into The Ladder Shed for post-dinner cocktails.
Without even talking about the food, The Palomar ticks most of the boxes: great tunes, reservations and walk-ins, friendly staff, up-tempo vibes, and they’ve even crept in a pink neon sign (#UJLoves). Flavour wise, from the raw bar to the creative Levantine menu and fresh and boozy spritzers, it nails it.
La Bodega Negra
Disguised as a Soho sex shop, La Bodega Negra may be old by London hotspot standards (it opened in 2012) but it certainly hasn’t passed its use-by date. Descend to its underground space of dark corners, fantastical art and tequila barrels, and get started on the margarita list. The food is good, but it’s all about the vibe here: fun, fun, fun. You’ll definitely need a reservation though, so be sure to book.
Sager + Wilde Hackney Road
We have a lot of love for Sager + Wilde – mostly for introducing to the most unlikely combo: grilled toasties with fine wine. And it works. Pop into the cosy bar, order a bottle of plonk, with a toastie to go with. The classic melt always goes down a treat, but who can really go past the melted cheese with pesto?
Petit Pois Bistro
It’s been awhile but the neo bistro is back on our radar – and with good reason, as it’s by Alastair Burgess and Chris Smith of Happiness Forgets and Original Sin. The cosy French bistro keeps things simple with dishes such as moules marinière, steak frites with béarnaise, and duck confit with gratin Dauphinoise, rounded off with chocolate mousse served tableside from a huge bowl. Perfect
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