Ten new restaurants to dine at this summer – plus an old favourite  

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Ten new restaurants to dine at this summer – plus an old favourite  

This year has seen the reopening of Gilgamesh and Julie's, a second branch of Carmel and lots of exciting openings

Louisa Walters is Features Editor at the Jewish News and specialises in food and travel writing


The old adage ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ comes into play when talking about Arlington, the reincarnation of Le Caprice in St James’s, on the same site. If it wasn’t for the new name on the door you would think you were in the original restaurant with décor, menu and clientele fully representing those of yesteryear. My choices were a beautiful walnut, gorgonzola and chicory salad prefacing a delicious, tender calves liver with roasted carrots and broccoli with capers and mint. Desserts are old-school with a twist – cappucino crème brulee, tarte tatin with cinnamon ice cream, hokey cokey coupe. Worth getting dressed up for.


The new Gilgamesh on St Martin’s Lane is spread over three floors, meaning it’s an altogether more intimate experience than the cavernous space in Camden that was home to the OG. This is a very much place for cocktails – try the Shamash, a lychee and champagne combination or the scotch whisky-based Shurrupak. The menu is on the small side for Asian fusion and I love that it’s not overwhelming. We devoured edamame with truffle (a divinely delicious revelation), wagyu tacos with pineapple salsa which were melt-in-the-mouth meaty with a sweet and sharp hit in every mouthful, and duck and watermelon salad because how can you not? From the ‘baskets’ section chicken siu mai is a triumph of flavour and texture, and don’t miss out on tuna tartare with crispy rice bites. Shaking beef which is like a much-elevated teriyaki-style dish – and so tender. The must-have dessert is a banana caramel crumble with soft, gooey chunks of fruit, a rich caramel sauce and the chunkiest, crunchiest crumble topping. It which comes with vanilla ice-cream with teriyaki sauce. Yes really – and yes it does work.

Gravadlax and flatbread at Carmel

The outdoor terrace is one of the biggest attractions at Josh Katz’s Fitzrovia branch of Carmel, where the famous flatbreads take centre stage alongside a metamorphosis of flavour-busting dishes. If you’re in the mood for a carb fest then order the grilled challah with green chilli labneh to dip into butterbean hummus or blackened aubergine with tahini. And then I recommend the gravadlax, the Roscoff onions, and the lamp tepsi flatbread which is sweetened with pomegranate molasses and sharpened with pickled onion. Of course there’s grilled hispi cabbage and of course it’s a must, and nicely accompanies miso harissa grilled chicken or grilled seabream with chilli honey and saffron aioli. Plus there’s cheesecake – and it’s definitely one of the best in town.

Grilled challah at Carmel

Can’t be bothered to go out after a lazy day in the garden? Smkd is a delicious new American smokehouse offering that comes to you via Deliveroo. The menu includes beef brisket croquettes, jumbo sticky chicken wings and burgers plus herb-rubbed smoked chicken and an 18-hour smoked beef brisket bao bun.

Reuben’s has opened a kosher milky café almost opposite the iconic salt beef restaurant on Baker. There’s a full Israeli breakfast with bagels, cream cheese, smoked salmon and all the trimmings plus shakshuka, pasta, pizza salads and a full-blown afternoon tea. Everything is baked inhouse and the interior is a confection of bright sunny pastels.

Reuben’s Cafe

You’ve likely driven past Amaretto hundreds of times in the 21 years it’s been in Edgware. But judging by the number of times it doesn’t spring to mind when north Londoners seek a recommendation for a good local Italian, you haven’t been in recently. But you should. Because Amaretto is an authentic little family-run Italian trattoria, with all the classics and none of the frills, at reasonable prices with friendly service. On my recent visit I enjoyed nicely (but not too) spicy chicken wings and whitebait to start (lovely fat ones not those skinny bony things). And then a classic lasagne that was easily enough for two, perfectly textured, zesty scaloppine limone, rocket salad and really really good fried courgettes. And every dish was delicious. And authentic. And piping hot (except the salad). There are three of these restaurants – the others are in Hendon and Golders Green. Chef/owner Shani (who trained at L’Artista) and his two brothers run them, their kids work in them and you really do get the feel of a family passion project. They do a roaring trade in takeaway too.  Shani took the opportunity during lockdown to build a stunning bar, and this, coupled with movie posters and portraits of Hollywood icons, gives the place a teeny touch of New York vibes.


Taking of New York-style Italian restaurants, The Dover on Dover Street is a super-swanky cocoon of a restaurant with floor to ceiling wood panelling, white table cloths, low seating and sexy lighting, Young friendly waiting staff get down on their haunches to take your order. For all its high end-ness, the food is refreshingly casual, but really, really good. The classic zucchini fritti has been given an upgrade with the addition of sweet potato, there’s chopped salad, a stunning burger, pasta dishes and of course a ‘Dover’ sole.

Old but new… Who remembers Julie’s in Holland Park? After closing in 2015 for a refurb that took four years (!) it then closed again in 2022 but has now been over by a Cordon Bleu-trained chef (and former Julie’s regular) and she’s brought in a chef from the popular Notting Hill pub The Pelican. French brasserie classics are on the menu. Talking of The Pelican, the team has taken over The Hero of Maida Vale, about which Giles Coren said ‘magnificent place, very good food’ in his recent column.

The Wigmore

After closing both Le Gavroche and Roux at The Landau, Michel Roux is back at The Langham with Chez Roux, a restaurant offering British classics combined with traditional French cooking methods. And as one thing neatly segues into another, my new favourite ‘just on the edge of central London’ restaurant is The Wigmore, the pub at the side of the hotel, which has a tiny dining room at the back. It is here that I recently discovered what is surely the best pie in London – a rich, tangy, melting beef brisket under a layer of delightfully light puff pastry.

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