With London now recognised as the world’s gastronomic capital, Seven Dials is becoming an even more thrilling cultural and culinary melting pot. An enticing and eclectic collection of new restaurants have recently opened catering for every meal of the day from brunch through late dinner.
Start the day at London’s only specialist porridge café in its newly expanded Neal’s Yard hotspot. Encapsulating ‘hygge’ the Scandi notion of cosiness, so very winter 2016, 26 Grains (below), open from 8am, specializes in classic and innovative porridges such as Nordic Pear and cacao. Try cold bowls including fruit-packed “the smoothie” and savoury bowls from coconut, kale and chickpea to beetroot and halloumi.
For early birds (open from 7am) and healthy food, including breakfast on the go POD, at 2-4 Upper St Martin’s Lane has an innovative choice of globally inspired, nutritious dishes. Aside from chorizo porridge, there are breakfast toasties from sausage to avocado, chili and Greek cheese. Lunch choices include hearty soups, curries, Valencian stews, Korean bibimbap and shwarma wraps.
Balans Soho Society has landed in Monmouth Street and is a one-stop “pursuit of pleasure” whether for all-day brunch – try their High Society Eggs Benedict with Lobster or Eggs in Hell with tomato chilli sauce - supper or late night dining (infamous burgers, steaks, and the must-try Slinger of Seven Dials cocktail) – delivered in a laidback café style. Open daily from 8am-midnight.
Real bread matters not only at breakfast, but throughout the day. Seven Dials is thrilled Bread Ahead, based on the expertise of bakers Matthew Jones and Justin Gellatley (formerly head baker at St John’s Bakery) and their Borough Market stall and cookery school, has opened a shop/café on Monmouth Street. Their 3-day fermented sourdough, focaccia and fluffy salted caramel doughnuts are outstanding.
Swedens’ legendary cinnamon buns, dark rye bread sandwiches and definitive coffee are among the draws at Neal Street’s Scandi newcomer Nordic Bakery. A zen like ultra cool space designed by Kaj Franck, Alvar Aalton and Ilmari Tapiovaara, make it a peaceful retreat for a fika away from the hustle and bustle.
New to Monmouth Street is Cure + Cut, a New York style deli where they smoke their own Aberdeen Angus pastrami, part of their signature Rueben sandwiches, alongside substantial salads and desserts. Open from early until late seven days a week, Cure + Cut is the perfect spot to grab and go first thing in the morning or a post-theatre snack.
Michelin Bib Gourmand, modern Indian cuisine Talli Joe is an exceptionally fun place to dine serving up half plates and full drinks. Graze on devilled crab Scotch egg, black chickpea slider, seafood curry quaffing cocktails such as “Cutting Chai” with marsala tea infused vodka, lime, sugar syrup and egg white. Charmingly “Talli” means a happy state of mind and “Joe” an explorer of the unexpected.
Fried chicken aficionados including top chef Pierre Koffmann are already huge fans of Chick 'n' Sours (above) now at 1 Earlham Street. Expect classics with a twist influenced by travels from Thailand to China such as the trademark towering K-Pop burger, coupled with knockout cocktails and craft beer, plus original takes on soft serve ice-cream.
The Barbary (pictured above) brings to life the vibrant cooking of the Barbary coast from North Africa to Israel in Neal’s Yard. Diners sit at the zinc horseshoe bar and interact with the chefs to enjoy unforgettable baba ganoush, neck of Pata Negra with ras al hanout and date syrup, octopus with chickpeas and labneh and more. Don’t miss kanafeh, a dessert of shredded sweet pastry with pistachios and meltingly soft cheese. With just 24 seats, The Barbary has a Michelin Bib Gourmand besides featuring in Time Out’s top 100 Restaurants, so expect to queue. Open daily, except Monday.
Equally adventurous are the small plates of Italian and Peruvian dishes designed for sharing – from arancini to ceviche – at Monmouth Kitchen within the sophisticated Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel on Mercer Street. There’s a distinctive take on afternoon tea, too. Open from 7am, last orders 11pm.
Photo credits from top left to bottom right: Chick 'n' Sours, Pod, Balans Soho Society, The Barbary, Bread Ahead, Monmouth Kitchen, Cure + Cut, 26 Grains, Talli Joe.