Whilst we may not be able to travel abroad, London offers an eclectic collection of restaurants, dishing up that sought after sense of escapism we’re all lusting after. From a taste of Japan, searing your own Kobe beef Ishiyaki style, to an evening of Italian fare among verdant surroundings and the city’s trendiest Tel Avivian destination – just moments from Regent’s Park; here we’ve rounded up some of the best restaurants that will transport you away through the power of taste.
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Sear your way to Japan at Hot Stone
The union of steak and sushi is an appealing duo many of us have been in absence of over lockdown. Hot Stone – the award-winning and critically acclaimed Japanese dining concept now has two restaurants in Islington and Fitzrovia offering just this. Transporting you deliciously to Japan, Executive Chef, Padam Raj Rai’s culinary successions include Tsukiji within Mayfair’s Westbury Hotel, alongside notable names such as Nobu and Zuma.
Inspired by the historic Japanese art of cooking on hot stones, dine on the Ishiyaki menu alongside freshly prepared sushi, sashimi and seasonally changing hot dishes. These include the 48-hour marinated black cod and homemade tofu all made using only the finest ingredients. A particular highlight includes Hot Stone’s certified Kobe beef and freshly grated Japanese wasabi each that ensures both a rare and authentic experience.
A tasty trip to Tel Aviv at Chameleon
One of the places to eat in London that has the most exciting opening is Chameleon it celebrates all things food, music and entertainment al fresco style. Set within one of London’s most dramatic venues; the Grade I listed, One Marylebone – this trendy Tel Avivian hotspot, which opened back in April, dishes up delicious sharing plates across 150 covers, and nine individually styled Greenhouses.
Critically acclaimed Israeli Chef, Elior Balbul from Tel Aviv is the Executive Chef. Elior and his team offer diners an array of exquisite Tel Avivian gastro sharing plates – from Yemen brioche challah, deconstructed falafel, aubergine carpaccio, shrimp shish Barak, Morrocan octopus and charcoal-grilled lamb sirloin with cabbage gratin. Wash these down with the Chameleon signature cocktail: ‘The Rimon’ – a freshly squeezed pomegranate margarita with a twist.
Come together with cacao at Rabot 1745
Travel straight to St Lucia whilst in the heart of Borough Market at Rabot 1745 – Hotel Chocolat’s very own cocoa restaurant. A combined restaurant in London, bar and cafe with a terrace overlooking the bustling Borough Market, Rabot 1745 offers the rough-with-the-smooth charms of a Saint Lucian cacao farmhouse. Alongside a mix of inventive cacao cocktails, Rabot 1745 offers a menu of contemporary dishes that draw on the finest culinary traditions of the Caribbean, West Indies, and Britain – using freshly roasted cacao as a subtle savoury spice.
Settle on their open-air dining space overlooking Borough Market, for laid-back dining and drinks from a menu that surrounds cocoa, (their key ingredient) across sweet and savoury dishes. With much of their produce sourced from their doorstep at Borough Market, the oldest and most renowned food market in the Capital, discover cacao cuisine that uses the best part of the cocoa pod. This includes the tangy pulp, roasted bean, aromatic shell or crunchy nib, as the rich heart of an indulgent dessert or a complex savoury spice.
Escape to the charisma of Lake Como
With huge olive trees in the centre of the restaurant and botanical plants inspired by Lake Como, is Como Garden, a place dishing up authentic Italian tapas on Kensington High Street. Inspired by the picturesque and stunning scenery of Lake Como, the interiors feature green and cream hues with eye-catching foliage displays, hanging plants and statues influenced by the Italian renaissance era.
Mirroring the impressive botanical gardens found in the Lombardy region, Como Garden is a romantic haven festooned with greenery and pretty potted olive trees across the restaurant and bar area – providing the ultimate date spot or a long leisurely lunch with friends and family. Glamorous lighting along with unique features and fittings all help to transport guests to the charming shores of Lake Como.
Following months of development, Como Garden’s menu champions the freshest produce sourced directly from Italy. The star of the show is the handmade pasta which is as fresh as if you were eating it in some of the most famous regions in Italy. Served as a tapas/sharing concept, the menu also features a myriad of meat, fish, and veggie options with a strong focus on seasonal flavours.
Awesome Aegean dining at Pascor
Embodying the rich cooking styles of the countries situated in the Aegean region of the Mediterranean Sea, (including Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Turkey) is Pascor which opened its doors this year also on Kensington High Street. Translating as ‘feeding and nourishing’, Pascor leads with high quality mangal cooking that infuses the dynamic culinary styles from across its specialist region.
Kickstart with Pascor’s clay baked Bazlama style bread to soak up the delights from their meze selection. These include the creamy, Ottoman style hummus with sumac, the Cypriot tzatziki with cucumber and the wood fired, Levant style babaganoush with toasted almonds and pomegranate.
Larger dishes from the mangal, span from the smoked slow-cooked short rib of beef and grilled octopus with blood orange. To end, there are desserts including Baklava cheesecake with poached cherries and roasted pistachio and dark chocolate delice with salted caramel.