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The finest new openings in London. Check out the restaurants everybody will be talking about in March

From a pop-up-turned-permanent restaurant part-owned by a telly comedian, to an Alice in Wonderland themed eatery and a curry house that encourages you to get up and dance to its 70s disco soundtrack, there's plenty to get excited about this month. Put on your elasticated pants and get yourselves down to the best restaurant openings the capital has to offer!

Parsons Green
Opens March 15

Freak Scene is the creative, Pan-Asian small-plates pop-up by former NOBU Head Chef and Kurobuta owner, Scott Hallsworth (above). It enjoyed a well-reviewed spell in Farringdon back in 2017, before finding what was supposed to be a permanent home in Soho a year later. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit before it had a chance to stand on its own two feet and Freak Scene looked to be a goner.

Fast forward a few years and a partnership with fellow Aussie and longtime Freak Scene fan, Adam Hills - yep, ‘him off The Last Leg’ - has seen it rise again in Parsons Green.

The restaurant will serve favourite dishes from back in the day as well as fresh and seasonal sushi and sashimi, plus seasonal fish dishes based on the day’s catches.

With Hallsworth’s stellar background, you know this’ll be a popular destination and with just 46 covers - a mixture of bar/counter seats and traditional table settings - you’ll want to plan ahead.

website 28 Parsons Green Lane, London SW6 4HS

Covent Garden
Opens March

Regular readers will know that we’re big fans of Tom Sellars - his Restaurant Story is still one of our most talked-about meals in London.

So we’re giddy with excitement at the prospect of Story Cellar opening this month. The concept is a little less ambitious than its fairy tale themed namesake, but a “Parisian-inspired rotisserie style restaurant” will be a winner with the Michelin-starred chef at the helm.

You’ll be able to wash that chicken down with top grog from a Coravin wine system - a fancy machine that allows you to sample fine wines without having to buy the whole bottle - and a location in beautiful Neal’s Yard ticks all the boxes for a winning restaurant.

website 17 Neal's Yard, Seven Dials, London WC2H 9DP

Opens late March

London Shell Co. currently consists of two, barge-based restaurants - the Prince Regent, which pootles up and down the canal, and the Grand Duchess (pictured above), which very much stays in Paddington Central. But those with a map will know that Highgate, atop a lung-busting hill in North London, boasts no canals, and this will be London Shell Co’s first foray onto dry land.

Word on the street is that Grace Bryson of the Grand Duchess will be taking over food duties at the new spot, which promises a daily two-hour window of discounted oysters at £2 a pop and space for 30 to enjoy their famed seafood dishes.

There’s also going to be a wine shop and fishmongers under the same roof. The people of Highgate are a lucky bunch.

website Unit 4, Sonny Heights, Swains Lane, London N6 6AG

Kentish Town
Open March date TBC

There’s nowt as gratifying as cooking over fire, and that’s the central premise behind new Kentish Town restaurant, The Parakeet.

It’s taking over the site of The Oxford Arms pub and a flame grill built exclusively for The Parakeet is where the charring will take place. The website promises an ever-revolving menu that will change with the seasons

The venue’s new owner is the team behind the Jazz Cafe and The Blues Kitchen, and the man in charge of the grub is former Brat and Steirereck Chef, Ben Allen. With a dream team like that, we reckon it’s on to a winner.

website 256 Kentish Town Rd, London NW5 2EN

The City
Open now

LARCH brings the charm of a casual neighbourhood trattoria to central London, with its huge terrace and cosily-lit interior.

You’ll find this Italian eatery in the base of the City’s 20 Fenchurch Street - that’s the Walkie Talkie, or the Sky Garden tower, for those without Google Maps to hand - and though you won’t enjoy the views of the guests 155 metres above, you WILL be able to order Burrata three ways, classic Italian pizza and pasta and truffle and parmesan chips which, if we’re honest, sounds easily as good.

There’s a generous cocktail menu featuring concoctions with names like Passegiata, Mozzafiato and Negroni Sbagliato, which become slowly more impossible to pronounce with every glass you finish.

The materials used at Larch are all sustainable and the oak-tiled bar - inspired by a honeycomb - is a perfectly serene place to pull up a stool and enjoy a drink. But come summertime, you’ll want a spot beneath the pergola on the terrace.

website Larch, 1, Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF

West End
Opens March 17

Since Lío first launched in Ibiza, restaurateurs around the world have tried to imitate the uber-lux, cabaret/restaurant/nightclub concept, with varying degrees of success. But after a few pop-up tester runs, the concept has now found a permanent London home at Café de Paris. It’ll house a whopping 200 diners between the dance floor and a wrap-around mezzanine and a refurbishment to the 1920s venue will see plenty of original features kept alongside mirrored ceilings and even a moveable DJ booth.

Taking charge of the Ibiza-influenced menu will be Adam Rawson, previously of The Standard King’s Cross and Laylow and they’ve nabbed Chiltern Firehouse’s Romaine Aurdrerie to come in as sommelier

website 3-4 Coventry St, London W1D 6BL

Notting Hill
Opens March

Gunpowder has more than earned its position as one of the UK’s finest Indian restaurants. Creating dishes that are as easy on the eye as they are on the tastebuds, they’ve managed to build a restaurant that impresses the Michelin judges as much as it does your Instagram followers.

So news that they’ve turned their attentions to west London should have Notting Hill residents on high alert. Their new concept, called Empire Empire is a celebration of the 70s disco scene in India and dancing will be ‘strongly encouraged’ in the restaurant, which itself is designed to look like a curry house from back in the day.

You’ll want to finish your lobster biryani before kicking off the dishes for the YMCA, but we guarantee Empire Empire is a night to remember.

Instagram: @gunpowder_london 16 All Saints Road, London W11 1HH

Opens March

While it’s fair to say that London has been swamped with various ‘immersive’ events over the past few years - and plenty of Alice in Wonderland themed ones, at that - we’ll make a case for Alice’s Adventures Underground being a slightly different proposition.

For a start, it’s been nominated for an Olivier Award, so it’s a cut above your average production, but also because it brings with it an F&B offering that stands on its own, two feet.

The Rosarium, which is the restaurant side of things, is headed up by Executive Chef Harvey Ayliffe, hose CV includes Bentley’s, His, 34, Rules and The Ivy West End - they’re certainly not messing around in Wonderland.

The offering will take on an English garden theme, with the expected ‘surreal twist’ that comes with the Alice in Wonderland territory, and the bar next door - Underland - will seat over 200 people for cocktails.

Labyrinth Waterloo, Waterloo Station, London SE1 8SW

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