From tonkotsu-style pork bone broth to vegan ‘beer cheese’, welcome to your gastronomic guide to March
Words Sophie Jean-Louis Constantine
A new season means changing temperatures, wardrobes and… appetites. So, in the spirit of all things new, read on for a selection of the best restaurant openings the capital has to offer this month. From the juiciest plant-based burgers to slow-cooked Turkish cuisine, there’s something to whet everyone’s appetite. Tuck in.
Lost Boys Pizza
Lost Boys Pizza lands in Camden with a vampiric The Lost Boys movie theme (what else?!) Expect a booming 80s soundtrack and a ceiling plastered with monochrome book pages. In the restaurant upstairs, friendly staff serve signature pizzas made from black charcoal dough. Try the vegan option, ‘Kale All Vampires’, topped with kale and caramelised shallots, or the ‘Frog Brothers Special’, covered with apple-smoked ham and artichokes. Once stomachs are sufficiently lined, the basement absinthe bar, dubbed Croque Monsieur, beckons. The vibe is bohemian Paris, each table accessorised with a luminous absinthe fountain. Strap in for flowing cocktails and riotous fancy dress.
Chef Civan Er brings his take on traditional Turkish cuisine to Soho with Yeni, the sister of Istanbul-based eatery Yeni Lokanta, which opened six years ago to much acclaim. The space is designed with flair – think cerulean floral tiles, glass chandeliers and a navy banquette. Er’s menu features casual but elevated dishes, the highlights being çig kofte tartare with sumac molasses and whole lamb shank with tamarind, rainbow chard and porcini. British influences play out in dishes such as diver-caught scallops, which aren’t native to Turkey but are given an Anatolian twist with the addition of walnuts and tarhana. Finish with a raki-based cocktail before heading out into the night.
The new vegan joint on everyone’s lips is Filth, the brainchild of celebrity chef Gizzi Erskine and nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson. Hailed as ‘health food for hedonists’, its fast food without the junk. What does that translate to? Well, sustainable burgers, for one thing. Billed as three of your five a day, these plant-based beauties are stuffed with vegan ‘beer cheese’, smoky miso, roasted garlic aioli, cucumber pickles and crunchy onions to boot. The ‘meat’ is a no-GMO soy mince, stuffed into a beetroot bun. This hearty vegan pop-up is only in situ for 3-months, so don’t sleep – get your healthy ‘junk food’ fix now.
With its sound-studio, radio station and record store sitting alongside a restaurant and bar, music is central to Spiritland’s identity. The Berlin-esque Kings Cross space is industrial in design and serves a breakfast and weekend brunch menu as well as small plates in the evening, such as Moroccan chicken wings and burrata with truffle honey, pickled tomato and sorrel. To get the party started try the Red Clay, a killer cocktail made with mezcal joven, cassis, ginger and lime. The beauty of Spiritland is that it has all bases covered, meaning you can eat, drink and dance all night long in one spot. Diners can enjoy nightly DJs sets, which play out via the bespoke audiophile sound system, with performances from the likes Benji B and Eric Duncan and talks from music industry insiders.
Masatoshi Ogata built his first ramen shop in 1969 with his bare hands, using scrap wood from a local school. And so Yamagoya was born in Fukuoka, Japan. Fast forward to 2019 and a branch has opened on Shaftesbury Avenue. The interior is simple, with natural wood finishes and a smattering of lanterns. But the main event is the piping hot bowls of goodness they serve – Yamagoya has truly perfected the humble ramen. Marinated Burford Brown eggs, wood ear fungus, the very best noodles and pork chashu belly sit in a tonkotsu-style pork bone broth. For dessert, it has to be the raindrop cake, which looks like a water droplet and melts upon eating. Close with a glass of premium Shochikubai sake.
Sophie Jean-Louis Constantine
Sophie is a freelance fashion, lifestyle and travel writer. An alumna of the University of Manchester, where she earned a BA in English Literature, Sophie went on to work at Conde Nast Traveller. She is a fervent North Londoner and happiest curled up with a book.