Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, autumn is most definitely here and with it comes a slew of new dishes to whet the appetites of London. From the latest openings to our favourite must-book menus, here’s our pick of what to eat in November that will really tickle those tastebuds.
1. Sample the dark side of Mexican dining
Esteemed Mexican chef, Martha Ortiz, is celebrating Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) through the Painted Black menu at her authentically modern Mexican restaurant, Ella Canta. The Park Lane dining room encourages guests to discover the flavours of Mexico with a touch of the colour of death, in honour of the famous Mexican holiday.
Available until 16th November, the dramatic menu of six courses includes a series of traditional Mexican meat and fish dishes, including Octopus with Black Sesame and Lime and Seabass with Onion Ash powder and Potato Puree. Guests will end their experience on a sweet note, with a refreshing Hibiscus sorbet, with beet and orange candy and for the grand finale, they will discover María la Catrina, a creation which represents immortality, an ornate creation inspired by La Calavera Catrina, the elegantly-dressed skeleton figure and symbol of the Day of the Dead celebrations. Don’t forget to accompany your deadly feast with one of their new cocktails; The Lady in Black is a citrus focused margarita made with Amarillo Chile infused Patrón silver tequila, Cointreau, Rinomato Bianco aperitivo, lime juice, angostura bitters and Serrano Chile. Spine-chilling.
Available until 16th November at £70 per person, inclusive of a cocktail.
2. Dine the deep sea without leaving Covent Garden
The clue is in the name, but FishWorks’ arrival to theatre land brings with it the very best fresh fish and seafood, responsibly sourced from Devon and Cornwall’s fish markets and day boats. With its beautiful marble oyster bar, in-house fishmonger and an opulent private dining room, the new FishWorks Covent Garden – sister restaurant to the existing Marylebone site – the purse- and time-friendly theatre menu offers two courses for £16.50 and three for £20.50.
With lavish lobster dishes, towering fruits de mer platters, classic fish and chips, bottomless brunches and a seafood bouillabaisse with £1 from each bowl to the Fishermen’s Mission charity, it’s a pescatarian’s dream. For those who fancy themselves a bit of a home chef, the Marylebone restaurant is hosting a Christmas cookery masterclass on Saturday 23rd November with a crash course in how to fillet your fish, shuck your oysters and cure your salmon, followed by a lunch with individual wine pairings and a selection of seasonal sides. The masterclass runs from 10am -12.30pm and is priced at £200pp.
FishWorks 2-4 Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JY
3. Swap Spain for California with Victor Garvey’s latest launch
Fans of Victor Garvey rejoice, for his award-winning Catalan restaurant Rambla is relaunching as SOLA. The Soho space will be serving food from and inspired by California, after undergoing a total refurb and reopening with its new look next week.
The chef’s followers will know he always has an eye on the next project and, with the successes of Encant, Sibarita and Rambla behind him, the latest adventure – a portmanteau of ‘Soho/Los Angeles’ – sees a shift away from the Spanish food of Rambla to the modern cuisine of his father’s native California. Expect a menu featuring high class American comfort food like Lobster Pot Pie, Kingfish Crudo with gazpacho vinaigrette, white miso ice-cream, watermelon, tomato raisins and Mussels & Clams with pistachio, lime & chilli butter, dipping soldiers.
SOLA 64 Dean Street, London W1D 4QQ
4. Get your Alpine fondue fix ahead of ski season
Switzerland comes to Mayfair this season as the Swiss ski resort of LAAX has unveiled their LAAX baby! bar at Mews of Mayfair. The ski bar transports drinkers to the snowy slopes of LAAX, where laid back living, meets nostalgic party vibes, serving a wide range of alpine cocktails, in collaboration with One Gin and the UK’s most celebrated sparkling wine, Ridgeview.
The cocktail list includes the Galaaxy Shots – a shot of frozen apple and One Sage Gin to really get the après-ski party started – the kirsch and moscato tinged White Haze and a Rocks Negroni, but it’s the food menu that will get your stomach growling. Traditional delicacies on the menu include a Bündner Teller, a charcuterie board of air dried meats, wagyu bresaola, fennel & garlic salami, coppa and Swiss Comte cheese, as well as a traditional Swiss cheese fondue, made from a blend Le Gruyere AOP, Schlossberger and Reblochon Cheese, melted down with white wine and a splash of kirsch. It’s as delicious as it sounds.
LAA baby! at Mews of Mayfair, 10-11 Lancashire Ct, Mayfair, London W1S 1EY
5. Start feeling festive with a winter afternoon tea
Now Halloween is over we’re allowed to start getting excited about Christmas… right? Festive dining is my kryptonite, and the new winter afternoon tea from Scoff & Banter is going straight to the top of the nibble list. A contemporary British tea with a wintry twist, the new treats will be available in their Tea Rooms at Oxford Circus and in their Kensington location, which has also partnered with the iconic Natural History Museum Ice Rink for a unique ‘Dine & Skate’ experience, with packages from £28.50 including a two or three-course meal or afternoon tea along with tickets to the ice rink. New sweet treats on the menu include lemon & white chocolate meringue, a raspberry & vanilla choux crumble and coconut glazed sponge cake.
Over at the Scoff & Banter Tea Room on Oxford Circus, guests can choose from winter comforts includingmini Yorkshire puddings with roast beef, horseradish creamed potato and red wine sauce and pancetta-wrapped wild boar and apple sausages with roast potatoes.
6. Get your Freak (Scene) on at lunchtimes
Soho pan-Asian restaurant Freak Scene has launched a new street food concept for its lunch offering alongside a brand new autumn menu. The brainchild of chef Scott Hallsworth, since opening last March it’s continued to showcase inventive and creative Asian cooking. Eight new dishes will pack a serious punch for the colder months and will include Phar’s Thai mackerel tacos with kaffir lime mayo, whole butter roasted lemon sole with spicy shiso ponzu and Takikomi gohan – Japanese rice hotpot with roasted pumpkin, fried tofu and wasabi.
With a new lunch menu inspired by Scott’s travels in Thailand earlier this year, The Freak Scene Kanteen (situated in the restaurant) is open Monday – Friday 11am – 3pm and customers can choose from a base of jasmine rice or thin egg noodles and a top of crispy frame fried chicken, spicy Thai pork sausage, miso grilled aubergine with a chilli, lime & tomato relish and walnuts and slow cooked sweet soy and ginger short rib, customised with homemade sauces and all from just £6.50.
54 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4SL
7. Get a festive food fix at Taste of London
Fans of the Regent’s Park summer event will revel in four days of festive delights at Tobacco Dock, where you can celebrate best food and drink from London’s internationally renowned culinary scene.
New additions include Soho favourite Berenjak, Thai barbecue masters Smoking Goat, Lewis Hamilton-backed Neat Burger with its plant-based burgers, and the hotly anticipated Bubala, which opened in September and features vegetarian Middle Eastern food from ex Berber & Q and Barbary chefs. Also joining the line-up are Taiwanese legends BAO and XU and finally Master Wei, bringing a taste of Shanxi cuisine with its legendary noodles, as more than 120 artisan producers will line the Grade 1 listed former warehouse, transforming it into a winter wonderland with dozens of foodie workshops on offer, including alcoholic jam making and interactive paella-cooking tutorials. Fans of a festive tipple can also enjoy pop up bars and masterclasses from the likes of Tanqueray No. TEN, Ketel One and Johnnie Walker Whisky.
Open from 21st – 24th November