All the latest openings you need to know about from the UK’s capital.
Image credit: L’Oscar
Hotel: L’Oscar, Holborn
Channelling Baroque-style extravagance combined with high-end London luxury, L’Oscar is a new head-turning hotel that lived a past life as a grade II-listed former church. Enlisting the design expertise of world-renowned décorateur, Jacques Garcia, a staggering £24 million makeover has dusted off this turn-of-the-century building and transformed it into one of the city’s most lavish hotels. Playful and opulent, everything from the velvet chaise lounges to the parrot sconces and seven-storey chandelier has been carefully selected to do justice to the design of this unique property.
The Baptist Bar & Grill is set in the church’s restored double-height chapel and Michelin-starred Executive Chef Tony Fleming can be found plating up exquisite dishes like rabbit tart with pickled carrots, created using the very finest British ingredients.
Image credit: Laki Kane
Cocktail Bar: Laki Kane, Barnsbury
Dishing up waves of tropical vibes, Laki Kane casts punters away to an Insta-worthy paradise in the big city. We’re talking exotic cocktails, bartenders in Hawaiian shirts and tiki décor that will transport the Saturday night crowd to the shores of Barbados and Jamaica.
Groups of like-minded bar hoppers can share an Octopussy cocktail of Bacardi Cuatro, peanut butter and caramel tea served in a bowl shaped like its sea creature namesake. There’s also a treasure chest of drinks to share, flaming cocktails and a romantic lychee concoction served in a mermaid-engraved chalice.
Restaurant: 1251, Islington
With nods to his Caribbean and Scottish heritage, Michelin-starred chef James Cochran’s newest venture sees him pack a hefty punch of flavour into modern British small plates made with local Kentish produce.
Expect to see diners chowing down a goat sharing board with roti, Scotch bonnet jam, black-eyed pea Dahl and coconut rice accompaniments, while the smoked kipper and leek toastie or Devon crab tartlet may satisfy the less ravenous.
Image credit: Scarlett Green
Brunch Spot: Scarlett Green, Soho
Melbourne and Sydney’s popular brunch scenes inspired the menu at this laid-back Soho eatery where the drinks flow all day long and the Vegemite, cheese and truffle doughnuts get the locals talking. A two-hour brunch booking is accompanied by Prosecco and mimosas (or champagne for those wanting to splurge), while standout menu items include the fancy bacon roll with poached eggs, roti and something they call holy f*ck hollandaise, and the sea bass ceviche with avocado, tigers milk and crunchy corn.
For those who sleep through brunch, live acoustic and DJ sets kick off around 4pm when locals can dust off their hangovers with imaginative cocktails and share plates (we’re obsessed with the haloumi fries and hot Bondi prawns).
Image credit: Annabel’s
Nightclub: Annabel’s, Mayfair
A legend on the London private members’ club scene, Annabel’s is a four-storey celebrity haunt where the likes of the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra and Lady Gaga have graced the starlit dance floor before being pounced on by swarms of awaiting paparazzi. Reopening earlier this year after a pricey refurbishment, entering Annabel’s is like falling down the rabbit hole into a world of imagination, seduction and opulence.
Picasso’s Girl with a Red Beret and Pompom painting hangs in the lobby, setting the tone for what is potentially London’s most glamorous venue, while gentleman can be found surrounded by a cloud of smoke in the cigar salon and the ceiling in the ladies’ loos is adorned with thousands of pink silk flowers. It’s extravagance at its finest with an annual membership costing in excess of a rumoured £2,000.
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