In the cut-throat world of London’s F&B scene, it’s rare to strike gold on the first try. In fact, most of our favourite restaurants and bars are on their second or third iterations, honing both their craft and offering each time. These comeback kids just get better with age – first impressions might count: but second chances are just as fun.
Missy Flynn and Gabriel Pryce have hardly been away – last time we checked in they’d launched Bodega Rita’s and since then they’ve been running a pop-up in Paris’s buzzy CAM restaurant as well as a stint at Giant Steps. But the news we’ve all been waiting for is finally here: Rita’s is opening in Hackney once again. Taking up residence in Redchurch Brewery, they’ve launched a region-spanning tickbox menu: yes, the modern American influences are there, but spliced between British, Thai and Mexican. We say burrata with salsa negra and clay pot cumin chile aubergine won’t eat itself – get to it!
News of Ellory’s closure in February raised eyebrows across the board: the London Fields favourite had won and retained a Michelin star – why rock the boat? But as Leroy, owners Jack Lewens and Ed Thaw’s vision comes into its own in the back streets of Shoreditch. By bringing their focus back into town on a second wind, Ed, Jack and head chef Sam Kamienko have all the benefits of their previous experience at Ellory, but with enough of a buzz around something new to bring in the crowds – it’s the F&B dream.
Margaret Crow and Brett Redman’s original project, The Richmond in Hackney, was Team UJ’s favourite spot for oysters in the east, but tucked into a corner of De Beauvoir, it stayed under the radar. That’s anything but the case for Margaret and Brett’s second project: for Neptune, they’ve gone nuclear. Just a few months after opening, it’s become the go-to hangout in Bloomsbury: lavish OTT décor, daytime afterparties et al – we’re pleased they shared the love this time.
All in? It’s good to have these comeback kids back in town. Now get out there and support!