SOSHARU AND 7 TALES BAR, EC1
Star chef Jason Atherton is trying his hand at Japanese cuisine. Sosharu and 7 Tales bar in Clerkenwell is decked out by Shanghai/London design practice Neri & Hu. The ground floor is framed by a timber structure, inspired by Minka houses — simple traditional timber homes found in Japanese farming and fishing communites.
Eco-builders are increasingly using wood in the UK today as an important component of low-cost construction. Downstairs there is the urban basement bar, 7 Tales, where Tokyo’s subculture is reflected. Look out for the playful neon sign, ideal for that Instagram moment.
MR FOGG’S TAVERN, WC2
Mr Fogg’s Residence & Tavern in Covent Garden plays up to its English heritage. Based on the adventures of fictional explorer Phileas Fogg, this is the latest offering from friend of the royals Charlie Gilkes and his business partner Duncan Stirling, responsible for the eccentric Maggie’s, Bunga Bunga, Barts, Mr Fogg’s and Cahoots.
Charlie has a theatrical design eye. The downstairs has a warm wooden interior with 19th-century artefacts adorning walls and ceiling. The upstairs Gin Parlour and Salon has a cabinet with theatrical props, wigs and old scripts, plus one of London’s largest gin collections. Ornate glass chandeliers and damask curtains enhance the drama.
Japanese design is having a moment in London. The capital’s first yakitori (grilled chicken) restaurant has popped up in north London’s über fashionable Dalston. Named Jidori, it is designed by Giles Reid Architects whose earlier work can be seen at the Shard and in Helsinki’s main library. This is a smaller but perfectly formed number.
Seating 40, there is an open kitchen and grill. Giles wanted the space to feel airy during the day and intimate by night — it is a lesson in mood lighting. The bar is made with sycamore and the seats are cork which is very eco-friendly and warm to the touch. Cork is a great product in the home because it’s relatively cheap, very versatile and it’s definitely making a comeback. The retaurant’s oak flooring is spread diagonally across the room. Light grey walls create a cocoon effect and globe lights are suspended from the ceiling. Bespoke ceramics by Yuka Kikumoto Designs add a signature touch.
8 MOUNT STREET, W1
For glamour at its finest, book a table at 8 Mount Street, Mayfair. Clément Blanchet, the man behind the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, has fitted warm brass panelling and a 30ft-long marble dining counter. Crisp white linen and leather banquettes make this a smart choice.
Frenchie is a new darling of the dining scene. Following husband and wife duo Greg and Marie Marchand’s restaurant of the same name in Paris, the two-floor London outpost is styled by former set designer Emilie Bonaventure. Whitewashed walls and exposed brickwork warmed by brass, copper and zinc accents, with leather banquettes and a striking staircase, create a chic concept.
THE KENSINGTON HOTEL, SW7
Head to South Kensington for period conversion ideas. After a 12-month renovation, The Kensington Hotel has reopened. The townhouse hotel, spread across three properties, has been revamped by bright young thing Alexander Evangelou (of Alexander Waterworth Interiors) who cut his teeth with Martin Brudnizki. Large bay windows, jewel-toned furniture, wingback chairs, tartan accents and heritage sports artwork create a members club feel.
GOOD & PROPER TEA, EC1
Off to Old Street for Japanese crockery fused with a very British tradition. Good & Proper Tea kicked things off in a crowd-funded mobile brew bar which roamed the festival circuit. Now they have a permanent tea and crumpets shop in The Bower Building with a Soho branch soon to follow. Specialist tea, sourced from all over the world, is their bag. They also sell beautiful pots, cups and spoons handmade by Japanese artisans.