Cool Tables: London’s Exciting New Restaurants And Bakeries to Thrill Your Tastebuds

Photo credit: Facing Heaven 

Despite the pandemic, the restaurant scene in London is brimming with exciting openings. Even better, they satisfy every kind of craving and cater to various diets. Here are four hot spots that should be on your radar list. 

Facing Heaven

If you’re an addict of anything that comes with Sichuan pepper or chilli of any kind, Facing Heaven is a real treat. Located on Bayford Street, the restaurant churns out comforting Sichuan dishes, with influences from Cantonese, Yunnan and Shaanxi cuisines. Think dan dan noodles and spiced potato salad, with numbing heat from crispy fried chilli. The most exciting part? All items on the menu are vegan. The hip vibe of the restaurant, with its neon lights and retro fittings, enhances the dining experience even further. 

Cédric Grolet at The Berkeley

London’s five-star deluxe hotel The Berkeley and world-renowned French pastry chef Cédric Grolet have joined forces to create Grolet’s very first pâtisserie outside of France. 

An elegant white and gold dining room with a gleaming “pastry lab” counter provides those who are fascinated by confectionery art with Grolet’s specialty: hyper-realistic fruit and flower cakes. Elsewhere on the menu are immaculate viennoiserie, cookies and cakes. 

To commemorate this new London opening, Grolet has created the trompe l’oeil scone, sold exclusively here. 

Before you go, it’s important to note that eating here can put a dent in your wallet, given that individual items cost a whopping £20 – £25. If you’re in the mood to splurge, opt for the £135 seven-course dessert tasting menu, paired with champagne! 

Sarap Bistro

Located on 10 Heddon Street, Sarap is a slick, bistro-style joint that dishes out delicious Filipino staples with modern twists. The restaurant is run by Filipino chef Ferdinand Montoya, who boasts experiences working in a Michelin-starred restaurant, Restaurant Story, and other London’s well-known dining spots, including Soho House and Foley’s in Fitzrovia. 

His first restaurant in Brixton Market, Sarap Baon, showcases the amazing street food of the Philippines, while his new opening focuses on delivering diners authentic Filipino food, presented inauthentically. 

At Sarap Bistro, the best-known dish is the pork trotter that has been deboned and stuffed with sticky adobo rice, before getting deep-fried to produce an audibly crisp skin. Other showstoppers include slow-roasted lechon pork served whole with truffle adobo rice; kinilaw (a coconut vinegar cured fish with calamansi gel); and charred hispi cabbage with fermented shrimp butter. 

When you’re there, do not miss a chance to order the addictive burnt cassava cheesecake for dessert. It comes with sweet macapuno cream and pandan syrup. Its dense texture and slightly bitter taste are perfect for “healthy” sweet tooths.

Criss Cross 

This cheerfully colourful cafe located on Old Compton Street in Soho is a celebration of croissants. It is not easy for anyone to walk past the glass display showcasing multi-colour striped croissants, without being compelled to enter the store. 

Here, all the croissants are hand-rolled and baked fresh every morning in the house, with both sweet and savoury options on offer. Best selling stars include the black yuzu croissant stuffed with yuzu cream and black sesame praline; the strawberry dream croissant packed with cream and strawberry gel; and the gorgeous pistachio croissant filled with pistachio cream and pistachio praline. 

For savoury croissants, there are the croque monsieur layered with creamy brie and ham, then topped with rich bechamel sauce; the beef pastrami; and the whiskey salmon (whiskey and soy cured salmon with seaweed mayonnaise). 

Those who are vegan can take delight in the sweet-scented apple crumble, or the chocolate raspberry croissant, or go for the veggie-packed one, with sauteed courgette, aubergine puree and sundried tomato.