Source: Standard UK, Ben McCormack

From classic French in St Pancras to modern British at the National Theatre, Ben McCormack names the new openings to get excited about in May.

The eyes of the world will be on London this May and while King Charles’ slimmed-down coronation offers proof of how Britain has become a less deferential society since his mother was crowned in 1953, visitors might reflect on how the capital’s restaurant scene has also changed beyond recognition in the intervening 70 years — not least due to the multicultural influences that have enriched eating out in the UK immeasurably.

May sees London restaurant launches reflecting Persian and Taiwanese cuisine that would have been unthinkable in the 1950s, the transformation of Empire-era monuments into proudly modern dining rooms — and, of course, the ongoing evolution of the local pub into somewhere to celebrate native ingredients along with a pint. Raise a glass to the King this May — preferably English fizz, in a new London wine bar that proves that every aspect of British eating and drinking is worthy of global attention.

The Midland Grand Dining Room

London’s most iconic railway terminus, St Pancras, will hopefully get the restaurant it deserves when this replacement for Marcus Wareing’s Gilbert Scott opens its doors — even if the launch feels more delayed than a Thameslink to St Albans. Kitchens overseen by chef Patrick Powell (of Allegra) will revive the dining room’s original Victorian reputation for classic French cuisine — chicken liver parfait with a truffle and Madeira jelly; Grand Marnier soufflé — while interiors by star designer Hugo Toro should vie for TikTok attention with the nearby St Pancras hotel staircase where the Spice Girls filmed the Wannabe video.

Opens: May 2

Euston Road, NW1 2AR,



Featuring a classic rattan peacock chair that once starred in a lightly pornographic French film from the Seventies, Emmanuelle might be retro in inspiration but it’s bang up to date in execution. The Clerkenwell wine bar majors in natural and biodynamic wines from small-scale producers, though one can’t help but feel that owner Yuma Hashemi has missed a trick by not offering a glass of Cristal Champagne to sip in honour of Sylvia Kristel, the actress who played the film’s titular star. Hashemi also owns Tehran-Berlin (formerly known as The Drunken Butler) over the road, and the snacky menu here will take a similarly Persian-led approach.

Opens: May 4

5a Rosebery Avenue, EC1R 4SX,



West London favourite Jesse Dunford Wood is on a roll: after long-running success with the Parlour, he took over Six Portland Road in Holland Park and now he’s opening this new all-day offering. Expect a focus on British coastal fish, direct-from-farm meat and UK-grown veg in the likes of whole sea bass with seaweed potatoes and samphire, Tamworth pork schnitzel, and asparagus and butter lettuce salad with a warm crispy egg. Breakfast should have plenty of local appeal too, given the new front terrace and covered back garden.

Opens: May 4

68 Chamberlayne Road, NW10 3JJ,


The Campaner

The team behind Barcelona’s paella specialist Terrassa Martínez are opening in the swanky if soulless surrounds of the re-developed Chelsea Barracks. There’ll be prawn paella here, prepared with Valencian-style crispy socarrat rice, but also charcoal-grilled meats and whole fish cooked in the Josper oven, fresh herbs and veg from the kitchen garden, and a signature dish imported from Spain of monkfish and lobster casserole served over two courses. A campanero, by the way, is the Catalan word for bell ringer — a nod to the location by the historic Garrison Chapel; take in the view with a glass of sherry from the terrace.

Opens: May 5

Chelsea Barracks, 1 Garrison Square, SW1W 8BG,


20 Berkeley

Can’t get into Annabel’s? Try this new restaurant on the corner of Berkeley Street and Hay Hill which promises Mayfair private club-style surrounds with an open-to-all ethos. Produce-driven menus focus on ingredients from around the British Isles given a light touch by head chef Ben Orpwood, who used to work round the corner at stealth-wealth hotpot Maison Estelle; tuck into Herdwick lamb or smoked Devonshire eel either in the first-floor drawing room or more casual orangery and leave some time for a post-prandial snifter in the Nipperkin cocktail bar. Owner Creative Restaurant Group is also behind Endo and Humo, so expect good things.

Opens: May 17

20 Berkeley Street, W1J 8EE,


Named after National Theatre architect Sir Denys Lasdun, this all-day British brasserie comes courtesy of the team behind east London gastropub The Marksman and will offer theatregoers rather better grub than a bag of wine gums: seasonal pies, grilled chops and smoked fish, say.

Opens: May 11

National Theatre, Upper Ground, SE1 9PX,



Big Mamma brings its tongue-in-cheek take on Italian restaurant clichés to Marylebone. Carlotta will channel the émigré cooking of the likes of New York’s Little Italy with Neapolitan and Sicilian classics amid decor wrapped up in leather, velvet and suede.

Opens: May 12

77-78 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5JX,


Bao Mary

Wisely dispensing with the eternal conundrum of how to pronounce “Marylebone”, Bao Mary sees the Taiwanese bun specialists opening in a super-handy location near Oxford Street. Expect classic bao, dumplings and small plates.

Opens: Mid-May

56 James Street, W1U 1HF,



A Battersea Power Station outpost for pasta specialist Noci, this will offer the same fresh, handmade dishes as the Islington original — think brown butter cacio e pepe ziti — washed down with cocktails on tap.

Opens: May 16

Unit TH-01, Turbine Hall B, Battersea Power Station, SW8 5BN,


The Apollo Arms

The posh pub operator behind Ganymede in Belgravia and Hunter’s Moon in South Ken is moving to another SW des-res with The Apollo Arms in Clapham. Expect appealingly approachable cooking in the vein of Fowey mussels with cider sauce and Morteau sausage.

Opens: May 21; 50% off food May 21-27 on tables booked ahead by email

13-19 Old Town, SW4 0JT,


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