John O' Ceallaigh, The Daily Telegraph, April 5, 2013
With London still lumbering through an extended winter, some of the capital's restaurants and bars are feeling the effects of inclement weather. Opened last month, Radio rooftop bar at the Me by Melia hotel is still waiting for prolonged clear weather to show off its views over the South Bank, Thames and City of London. Staff at the open-air rooftop bar Vista, opening this month, will also be hoping that the city heats up soon. There are still plenty of options for anyone looking to try somewhere new, however. In addition to April's new restaurants, it's also a good time to visit recent openings that are now somewhat calmer. You can see a list of March's new London restaurants here, February's are listed here, and January's are here .
Bird of Smithfield, Farringdon
Head chef at The Ivy for 15 years and a former chef at Soho House Group. Alan Bird this month opens his own venue, Bird of Smithfield. The Farringdon restaurant will be spread over five floors of a Georgian townhouse, with the classically styled dining room set to feature Harris Tweed and herringbone fabrics. The vast space will also incorporate a lounge bar, private dining floor with chef’s table, roof terrace with views over Smithfield market, and The Birdcage, an “intimate music venue”. The menu is set to feature modern British dishes and the establishment’s cocktail offerings are being developed by Fluid Movement, the team behind Purl and The Worship Street Whistling Shop. Bird of Smithfield is set to open on April 29.
Vista rooftop bar, Trafalgar Square
The interminable winter of 2013 has been an annoyance for all of us, not least the people behind Vista . The open-air, rooftop bar at The Trafalgar Hotel, which has great views of Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery, officially opened on April 1 but it doesn't operate when conditions are bad. If you’re planning a visit be sure to call in advance to confirm the venue is open. When open, the bar charges £5 for entry.
Dîner des Grands Chefs, The City
Relais & Châteaux this month shows off the calibre of the chefs associated with its properties by hosting the Dîner des Grands Chefs . On April 22, 45 Relais & Châteaux chefs will gather at Old Billingsgate where, typically in teams of three, they will devise menus that showcase the best of British cuisine. The London event follows similar gatherings in Versailles and New York, and up to 600 guests will be able to sample the chefs’ creations this time round. The Relais & Châteaux chefs representing the UK are Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones from Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Andrew Fairlie (Restaurant Andrew Fairlie) and Claude Bosi (Hibiscus); other participating chefs include Patrick O’Connell from The Inn at Little Washington. A proportion of funds raised on the evening will go to Action Against Hunger; tickets for the night cost £650 per person.
The Lab, Tobacco Dock
For three nights this month a ‘flavour experience’ involving esteemed chefs from around the world takes place in Wapping. Featuring Alex Atalia of Sao Paulo restaurant D.O.M., Ashley Palmer-Watts of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Bruno Loubet, among others, The Lab features masterclasses, tutorials and live entertainment in addition to the opportunity to try culinary creations by the participating chefs. Organised by the team behind Taste of London, the event uses a similar token payment system, with visitors buying special poker chips to use as currency at the event. It takes place from April 25-27; standard-price tickets cost £75, which includes four dishes and two drinks.
The Pearson Room, Canary Wharf
Opening on April 24 in Canada Square, The Pearson Room will serve ‘eclectic’ all-day fare from a menu overseen by head chef Vagner Matos and general manager Johnny Gonzales, both formerly of The Swan, Shoreditch House and Cecconi’s. With sharing plates a focus, sample dishes will include fish tacos, guinea fowl crown and jam and custard doughnuts; Trishna sommelier Sunaina Sethi has overseen development of the wine list. The 120-cover venue is named after the Nobel Prize-winning Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.
The Greenhouse, Mayfair
At the helm of The Greenhouse for a year now, executive chef Arnaud Bignon continues to put his stamp on the restaurant with a succession of constantly changing tasting menus. This month the five-course, £90 tasting menu features a perhaps unexpected smattering of English dishes from the French restaurant. Cornish crab is served with Granny Smith apple, cauliflower and curry; the meat dish is Yorkshire lamb. Bignon’s inventive but unthreatening cooking impresses throughout, however, and the restaurant is also a reliable address for wine lovers – its wine collection includes over 3,300 bins and is said to be one of the largest of any restaurant in the country.