It’s fair to say that the pandemic and its many lockdowns devastated the hospitality industry, with lots of restaurants being forced to close permanently before they could figure out how to pivot to deliveries, meal kits and all the other things people did to stay afloat. Whilst the big C isn’t going anywhere, restaurants that have been closed since lockdown 1.0 are finally reopening, proving that London is getting back to normal.
BAO Fitzrovia – we’ve had new outposts of BAO – Cafe BAO in King’s Cross and BAO Noodle Shop in Shoreditch – open in the time that the Fitzrovia restaurant has been closed but now it’s swinging open the doors once again. There’s a new menu, including dishes like crispy noodle chips, whipped tofu with shredded crispy pancake & century egg, salt & pepper fried cheese, Meinung sundried daikon omelette, and Dorset cockles & loofa, and to celebrate the reopening, Three Sheets, Satan’s Whiskers, Happiness Forgets and A Bar with Shapes for a Name are shaking up spesh collab cocktails.
Peg – the Hackney spot from the P Franco and Bright team is back in action and they’ve also used their time away to switch up the menu from the skewer-heavy offering they had pre-lockdown. Now it’s a £45 set menu affair with around four to five courses featuring the best produce that comes into the kitchen, so you can expect dishes like cold potato noodles with wakame & sesame, brill with kohlrabi & lemon kosho, and meadowsweet ice cream & brambles.
Isla – Isla is returning to the Standard Hotel in King’s Cross and everything from the menu to the garden terrace has been re-designed. The all-day dining restaurant nestled within the hotel’s ground floor will focus on seafood and light dishes that change throughout the seasons, overspilling into the garden terrace to offer al-fresco dining too. When it comes to food, expect the likes of scallop XO and mussels; ‘nduja and sweet potatoes with aged feta and sesame; whole lemon sole with seaweed butter; and Ikejime trout with salsa verde.
Black Axe Mangal – while his restaurant was in hibernation, Lee Tiernan kept the BAM spirit going through lockdown with some limited edition meal kits. Now he’s brought it back with the new name of Restaurant Formerly Known as Black Axe Mangal or FKABAM, so we’re expecting some bits to be the same (surely the squid ink flatbread won’t be disappearing?) and some bits to be different.