Harden’s survey finds the best new London eateries and bars opening at rapid pace

London does it again. It has far more restaurants and bars eating out of its hands than anyone else and at a record setting rate, totaling 179 newcomers over the last year. Peter Harden, co founder of the Harden’s London Restaurant Guide, has been keeping evidence since 1991 and the tally exceeds the pre-2008 financial score of 158 restaurants and bars and in 2014, 148 establishments opened. On the down side, 56 of those businesses shut down, however those numbers compare to 47 closings the year before.

Some of the restaurants that have gone in are Le Chabanais and Racine. “The growth of London’s restaurant scene is jaw-dropping in comparison to its recent past, never mind the ‘Dark Ages’ in which we founded our guide 25 years ago. It is wonderful to be celebrating the guide’s silver anniversary in what is a golden age for restaurant goers,” said Harden.

Also, a fraction of the openings is Asian cuisine while 10% of the newcomers are serving Japanese food. This is parallel to the number of new Italian cafes. Harden goes on to say that it’s overwhelming to see the number of pop-ups as of late…it’s a lot for the brain “to absorb on a weekly basis.” It’s a lot to take in as expectations are exceedingly high with the variations of hasheries and hideaways.

Who’s Who in the Business

With the openings of Richard Caring’s Ivy Chelsea Garden, Bao and Kitty Fisher’s, the numbers outweigh the 56 closures by three to one. Harden published the 2016 London Guide on Thursday last week and names Michel Roux’s Le Gavroche as the city’s crowning culinary art experience, knocking down Notting Hill’s, The Ledbury. The Ledbury is most infamous for its food and has held this spot continuously, because of the menu selection. The uprising of new chophouses will lift London’s fame as one of the countries most exotic places to dine.

Chef Jason Atherton’s City Social has protruded as being one of the Top 10 business outlets, only to be held back by The Wolseley and two others. Clos Maggiore holds it down as the romantic spot to be and the Chiltern Firehouse stands at No. 1 as a big  disappointment. Nonetheless, the favorite establishment is Chez Bruce and it has been for the last 11 years. The guide also suggests prices for dinner at around £50.51, up a little from last year’s £49.46.

Take a look at a few of the rankings based on the 6700+ diners who signed up for Harden’s guide:

Top Gastronomic Experience
1. La Gavroche (2)
2. The Ledbury (1)
3. Chez Bruce (4)
4. Fera at Claridge’s (-)
5. Dinner (3)
6. Gordon Ramsay (7)
7. Pied a Terre (6)
8. Pollen Street Social (5)
9. Story (-)
10. Hedone

Best for Business
1. The Wolseley (1)
2. The Delaunay (2)
3. The Square (3)
4. City Social (-)
5. Galvin La Chepelle (4)
6. L’Anima (9)
7. Coq d’ Argent (7)
8. The Don (6)
9. Scott’s (8)
10. Bleeding Heart Restaurants (5)

Most Overpriced
1. The River Cafe (1)
2. Oxo Tower Restaurant
3. Chiltern Firehouse (-)
4. Dinner (3)
5. Gordon Ramsay (4)
6. Marcus (5)
7. Alain Ducasse (6)
8. Pollen Street Social (10)
9. Aqua shard (-)
10. Savoy Grill (-)

Favorite
1. Chez Bruce (1)
2. Clos Maggiore (3)
3. The Wolseley (10)
4. Le Gavroche (5)
5. J Sheekey (2)
6. Gauthier Soho (-)
7. Le Caprice (8)
8. La Trompette (-)
9. The Ledbury (4)
10. Moro (-)

What Visitors Will Note

What the visitors will likely notice the most is the sense of grandeur at the German Gymnasium in King’s Cross. It’s building was initially England’s first “purpose-built” gym and hosted the first indoor Olympic games, in 1866. The building was refurbished by Conran and Partners. The interior depicts the luxury of the cafes in central Europe, yet retained it’s age reflective and natural décor.

The menu is carefully designed by none other than Bjoern Wassmuth, formerly of the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, in Hamburg.  The chef will serve European style entrees, alongside a German, Hungarian and Austrian based wine list.

Urban Coterie is “the M by Montcalm hotel’s new 17th floor restaurant.” The eatery will feature a new menu each month, however, it will serve a British cuisine that will ensure the indulgence of repetitive customers. Of the options, Brixham Crab with Apple and Celeriac or Shin of Veal with Roasted Vegetables are anticipated to be on the menu.

The season’s change has brought about another spurt as London’s ice rinks have enclosed the city with multiple openings. The wintertime arena at Kensington’s Babylon opened on November 3 and runs till February. To keep warm, the cafe will serve specialty comfort foods and steaming gourmet hot chocolates and blazing hot cocktails.

Likewise, the Rosewood London Hotel is due to set up in Holborn a winter terrace and also run through February. The Rosewood will deliver its best hot toddies and other heart warming beverages along with an unpretentious a la carte menu. Lodge d’Argent is Coq d’Argent’s winter esplanade, which is framed by frosted, fur bearing Christmas trees. The city will be able to enjoy croquet raclette and branded cocktails.

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