Eat the seasons: Spring dining in London

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We might still be waiting for the weather to warm up, but spring is definitely in the air at some of London’s top restaurants. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen proud chefs tweeting and emailing out new menus packed with delicious seasonal dishes. If you need some dining inspiration this month, here are five of our favourite spring ingredients and where to eat them in London.

GrainStoreAsparagus – The tender green spears are delicious in soups and salads or simply grilled and dunked in hollandaise. The imported stuff may be cheaper but British asparagus is unbeaten when it comes to flavour, so make the most of the short season. In London, try:

– Spring vegetable and flower salad, tofu and miso custard, and herb dressing at Grain Store.
– Atlantic shrimp, Wye Valley asparagus and blood orange salad at Holborn Dining Room.
– White asparagus and Paloise sauce (like Béarnaise but with mint, not tarragon) at Comptoir Gascon.
– Risotto primavera with asparagus, broad beans and garden peas at Newtons.
– English asparagus, broad bean, ricotta and mint crostini at Bistrot Bruno Loubet.

45ParkLane

Crab - Whether you prefer the sweet white claw meat or the rich brown flesh from the shell, crab is one of the most popular and versatile types of seafood. This spring, try:

– Dorset crab and lobster ‘Louis’ with spicy tomato horseradish at CUT.
– Crab croquettes or whole brown crab with lemon and mayo at Wright Brothers.
– Cornish crab linguine with garlic, lime, chilli and coriander at 21.
– Alaskan king crab salad with white truffles at L’Etranger.
– Dorset crab with avocado guacamole, peanut and Avion mango at Arbutus.

ChiswellSt

Lamb - The flavour of tender, early season lamb is unbeatable. At home, treat the family to roast loin or simply grilled chops with potatoes and freshly podded peas. In London, try:

– Herdwick lamb rump, sticky ribs, fondant potato, and braising juices at Chiswell Street Dining Rooms.
– Lamb’s onglet with peas, asparagus and mint at Quo Vadis.
– Rack, shoulder and shank of lamb with Jersey Royal potatoes, morels, wild garlic, rosemary mayonnaise, baby onions and lamb jus at Little Social.
– Roast loin of lamb with aubergine, mint compote and Madeira jus at Hunter 486.

WildHoneyMorels – These distinctive wild mushrooms can be tricky to find and their season is relatively short. They’re great with chicken and in spring pasta dishes. In London, try:

– Potato and Parmesan gnocchi with morels and asparagus at Wild Honey.
– Label Anglais chicken with morels and fresh peas, also at Wild Honey.
– White asparagus, morels cooked in vin d’Arbois, crispy chicken wings and aged Parmesan at Petrus.
– Tarte fine of new season onions, morels and wild garlic at Almeida.
– Wild garlic gnocchi with asparagus, morels, aged Pecorino and crispy hen’s egg at Duck & Waffle.

Boulestin

Wild garlic – You can find these pungent leaves all over London, if you know where to look. Foragers can be very secretive about wild garlic hot spots! Use them with fish, in pasta and risotto, or whizzed into mayonnaise or pesto. Can’t find any? Try:

– Lemon sole, wild garlic and almond butter at Café Murano.
– Wild garlic and asparagus risotto at Antico.
– Wild sea bass with samphire and wild garlic at Boulestin.
– Skate with wild garlic, cucumber and tarragon at Racine.
– Spinach and wild garlic soup with crème fraiche and chervil at The 3 Crowns.

These dishes were on the restaurants’ menus at the time of writing, but we recommend calling ahead to make sure a specific dish is still on offer. If you need more inspiration, check out more of our spring dining recommendations on Mr Hyde.

Tags: City Guides, Dining Inspiration, Featured, London. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Welcome to the family – New restaurants on toptable

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Looking for somewhere new to eat this month? Check out some of the great restaurants that recently joined toptable, including some of London’s hottest new openings.

Dinner with a view at Hutong.

Dinner with a view at Hutong.

Hutong – Situated on level 33 of The Shard, Hutong offers panoramic views of the London skyline and a menu of delicious dishes from Northern China. Visit at lunch for cocktails and dim sum or bag an early evening table so you can watch the sun set over the city. Don’t miss signature dishes like crispy soft shell crab with Sichuan dried chillies, roast Peking duck, and spicy ‘ma la’ prawns.

One Sixty – This NW6 newcomer has already impressed the locals with its classic cocktails, craft beers, and flavoursome slow-smoked meat. Don’t miss the incredible smoked lamb and tender ox cheek.

Big Easy Covent Garden – If you love barbecue, head to Big Easy’s new Covent Garden restaurant and pig out on slow-smoked brisket, pork ribs, whole grilled lobsters, and lethal frozen cocktails.

One Kensington – This glamorous new restaurant overlooking Kensington Gardens is perfect for leisurely lunches and intimate dinners. Perch at the counter bar for a quick bite or celebrate in style at the elevated Champagne table. The set lunch menu (2 courses for £24) is excellent value for money. Read More…

Tags: City Guides, Dining Inspiration, Featured, London, New to toptable. Total of no comments in the discussion.

A taste of home: Comfort food in London

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Thanks to everyone who entered our Mother’s Day competition – we loved reading about your mum’s signature dishes! Some dishes turned up in a lot of your stories, from traditional stews and Sunday roasts to fish pie and homemade lasagne. If you can’t make it home this week, here are some of our favourite comfort foods and where to find them in London.

Roast beef at Tom's Kitchen.

Roast beef at Tom’s Kitchen.

Sunday roasts – For those lazy Sundays when you can’t face cooking, you can find first class Sunday roasts at toptable favourites like The Bull & Last, The Harwood Arms and The Delaunay. For a special Sunday blow-out, head to Hawksmoor for their legendary roast rump of beef with duck fat roasties, Yorkshire puddings, roasted veg, and lashings of bone marrow gravy.

Lasagne – If you’re having a bad day, lose yourself in layers of silky pasta, slow-cooked beef ragu, and plenty of stringy melted cheese. toptable diners are fans of the traditional lasagne at Obika and La Gourmandina and the delicate Dorset crab version at Galvin La Chapelle. For a real treat, you can’t beat Pizza East’s beef lasagne which arrives still bubbling from their wood oven.

Sausage and mash – If it’s cold outside, you can’t beat a plateful of good quality sausages, smooth mash and plenty of onion gravy. You’ll find this British classic on the menu at gastropubs all over London and its done particularly well at The Narrow, The Jugged Hare, and the buzzy Albion café. Fancy something more upmarket? Try Bar Boulud, where diners can choose from spicy lamb merguez, a Provençale inspired pork sausauge, and boudin blanc with truffled mash. Read More…

Tags: City Guides, Dining Inspiration, Featured, London. Total of no comments in the discussion.

RestaurantFEED – toptable restaurant news

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TingShard

London gets a new restaurant with a view in May when the Shangri-La Hotel’s restaurant, Ting, opens on Level 35 of The Shard. Using produce from nearby Borough Market, the all-day restaurant will serve ‘European dishes with a hint of Asian flavour’ and boast 360-degree views across London.

If you like your food spicy, get ready for Chilli Chilli Bang Bang – a fiery food and booze festival at Dalston Yard in May. The team behind Street Feast have got together with Wahaca co-founder Thomasina Miers to bring you two days of chilli-spiked street food, chilli chocolate, guest chefs, a spice market and more. Tickets go on sale on April 8th – don’t miss out.

Busaba Eathai will celebrate Thai New Year with a Songkran festival in Hackney on April 13th. Spread over three floors at the new Fairground space, it will feature a pop-up restaurant, cookery classes, traditional music and dancing, and kid-friendly mask making and cake decorating workshops.

Visiting Bath this summer? Chef Martin Blunos has just opened a fish and seafood restaurant called Blunos at the County Hotel. The menu will focus on fresh fish cooked simply and the day’s catch will be displayed on a seafood counter where diners can perch and enjoy a few oysters. Read More…

Tags: City Guides, Featured, Food Events & Festivals, London, RestaurantFEED. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Enter our Mother’s Day competition and win Champagne afternoon tea for two!

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Lobby Lounge

From domestic goddess to kitchen novice, every mum has a signature dish. Is there one dish you always head home for? A meal that will stick in your memory, for better or worse? A knock-out family recipe? With Mother’s Day fast approaching, we would love to hear about your mum’s signature dish.

Tell us about your mum’s signature dish in the comments section below and you could win Laurent-Perrier Champagne afternoon tea (worth over £100!) for you and your mum at the five-star Corinthia Hotel near Trafalgar Square.

Tea is served in the hotel’s elegant Lobby Lounge, which is illuminated by a stunning Baccarat crystal chandelier. The exquisite afternoon tea offering has received rave reviews from toptable diners and was recognised with an Award of Excellence by the UK Tea Guild in 2013.

You can enter in the comment section below until midnight on Thursday 27th March and we will announce the winner on Friday 28th. Be sure to read the full terms and conditions and get scribbling!

Tags: City Guides, General, London. Total of 193 comments in the discussion.

Our Mother’s Day dining guide – London restaurants that are as special as she is!

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MothersDay

If you haven’t made plans for Mother’s Day, now is the time to finalise your choices and get that winning table booked. We know that all mothers are different, so we’ve put together some ideas to help you plan a special meal that will mean as much to her as she does to you.

For mums who love… brunch

Get Mother’s Day off to a great start with brunch at foodie favourites like The Riding House Café, Kopapa, and Plum & Spilt Milk. The Mother’s Day brunch at Sixtyone is a steal at £28 for 3 courses and in the City, 3 South Place’s offer includes bottomless brunch cocktails like Bellinis and Mimosas!

For mums who love… to travel

Treat well-travelled, adventurous mums to a taste of Peru at Coya, tapas at Iberica, or a modern Indian feast at Trishna or Roti Chai. If she prefers Oriental flavours, head for the West End and try dim sum and cocktails at Hakkasan or a spicy Sichuan meal at Barshu.

For mums who love… celeb chefs

Treat your mum to a special Mother’s Day lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s Union Street Café, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, or Angela Hartnett’s Café Murano. If you’re looking for something that hungry brothers and dads will enjoy, try the legendary chicken and steaks at Mark Hix’s Tramshed or contemporary curries at Atul Kochhar’s Benares. Read More…

Tags: City Guides, Dining Inspiration, London. Total of no comments in the discussion.