We continue our regular monthly feature where we summarise some of our highlights from the previous month and offer recommendations for where you should visit or have on your radar for the month ahead. Encompassing new London restaurants and old favourites, pop-up venues, events and everything in between, here is the inside track for those sharking for chips and drinks.

If we’ve missed any exciting new places off this list, please get in touch in the comments section. In case you missed it – check out what OPENED IN APRIL in London.

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The Black Penny LogoThe Black Penny

When? May 12, 2015.

What is it? The Black Penny is a brand new coffee house located on Great Queen Street in Covent Garden, providing a dedicated space for dining, drinking and debate in the centre of the capital.

Who’s behind it? Head Chef George Notley is formerly of Lantana and Tom’s Deli.

Size? 34 covers.

What’s on the Menu? The Black Penny offers a range of traditional breakfast items including Bircher Muesli and pastries together with delicious fresh fruit compotes in innovative flavour combinations such as Grilled Pineapple, Chilli & Lime. The menu also includes a selection of larger dishes such as Crispy Duck Hash with a Poached Duck Egg, Sweet Potato, Baby Spinach and Spring Onion and Slow Braised Black Penny Beans on Sour Dough with Goat’s Curd and Chives.

At lunch, a selection of fresh, seasonal salads, including Chargrilled Cauliflower & Roasted Aubergine and Black Quinoa with Avocado, which are available alongside more substantial dishes, like Stone Bass Ceviche with Fennel & Radish and Ox Tail, Ale & Kale Pie. The Black Penny will also offer a range of alcoholic drinks including Prosecco, Bloody Marys and a selection of red and white wines. The Black Penny works with leading coffee roasters Alchemy to supply them.

Bookings? No bookings are taken at present

Contact: The Black Penny – 34 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AA. Ph. 0207 242 2580. WebsiteTwitterInstagram.

Trading Hours: Monday to Saturday: 8am – 8pm; Sunday: 10am – 5pm.

Google Maps.

The Black Penny - Covent Garden, London

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Newly Open: Beer & Buns - LondonBeer & Buns

When? February 5, 2015

What is it? Beer & Buns is a pop-up Izakaya that offers the UK’s largest range of Japanese craft beer and soft, pillow-like steamed ‘Hirata’ buns filled with a choice of delicious fillings and incredibly crispy Korean style jumbo chicken wings.

Who’s behind it? Julian Bartlett who has been in the industry for nearly 20 years and behind some of London’s most successful Japanese concepts; he was part of the original YO! Sushi management team and was most previously the Me Love Sushi operations director before opening Beer & Buns.

Size? Think Speakeasy meets Japanese dive bar, retro pin ball machines, chilled out seating areas, black graffitied walls.  150 capacity.

What’s on the Menu? Steamed Japanese hirata buns filled with delights such as Chicken Karrage, Pulled Duck Leg and Pork Belly. Kaki fry Vegetable Fritters with misos, slaws and chutneys. Korean-style jumbo crispy chicken wings marinated in sweet & spicy or smokin’hot sauce and tripe fried to crisp perfection. A large Japanese craft beer selection including Japan’s best-selling premium lager Asahi ‘Super Cold’ Super Dry draught lager, a traditional Sake selection, cocktails and innovations such as the delicious sweet potato beer ‘Beniaka’by Coedo.

Bookings? Booking is advisable as it can get busy.

Contact: Beer & Buns, ‘Upstairs @ K10’, 3 Appold Street, London, EC2A 2AF. WebsiteTwitterInstagram.

Trading Hours: Mon-Fri 5pm til late.

Google Maps.

Newly Open: Beer & Buns - London

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Kansas Smitty's - Broadway Market, LondonKansas Smitty's - Broadway Market, LondonKansas Smitty’s

When? May 21, 2015

What is it? East London’s new jazz and julep bar on Broadway Market. Situated in an intimate basement bar, Kansas Smitty’s will be the band’s clubhouse: an unpretentious, fun and approachable space bringing original swing music, real people and great cocktails to East London.

Who’s behind it? Owners, Head Chef and where they have previously worked

Size? 60 covers.

What’s on the Menu? Located underneath ‘Off Broadway’, the venue will serve up a menu centred on Kansas Smitty’s signature drink: the Julep. Smitty’s Juleps infuse raw spirit with botanicals and flavours to create eight wholly unique takes on the original cocktail. A sour mash of jazz genres, the Kansas Smitty’s gritty musical style is influenced by the sounds of New York, New Orleans, Paris, and Havana.

Bookings? Yes

Contact: Kansas Smitty’s – Underneath ‘Off Broadway’ – 63 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH. Ph.  WebsiteTwitter.

Trading Hours: Tue – Sun – 6pm to 12am.

Google Maps.

Kansas Smitty's - Broadway Market, London

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Cuisson - Burlington Arcade, LondonCuisson

When? April 21, 2015

What is it? A luxury afternoon tea pop-up in association with Cuisson and Laurent Perrier.

Who’s behind it? pastry chef Hideko Kawa (previously at The Fat Duck) has teamed up with Cuisson (a bespoke luxury catering service). Before developing desserts across Heston Blumenthal outletas Head pastry chef at The Fat Duck, Hideko trained at Le Cordon Bleu cookery school, beginning her career at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay before moving to The Connaught to hone her pastry skills under Helene Darroze. 

Size? Approx 12 upstairs at 20 downstairs.

What’s on the Menu?  Luxury afternoon tea including 2 glasses of champagne

Bookings? Yes/No or for groups larger than…. Yes

Contact: Cuisson – 66-67 Burlington Arcade, London, W1J 0QJ. Ph. 020 3695 1298. WebsiteFacebookTwitter.

Trading Hours: 12 – 7.30pm.

Cuisson - Burlington Arcade, London

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Joe's Southern Kitchen & BarJoe’s Southern Kitchen & Bar

When? April 13, 2015.

What is it? Spread over two floors in the heart of the increasingly trendy Kentish Town, the new Joe’s offers a hungry North London audience its trademark succulent fried chicken, belly-filling American dishes.

Who’s behind it? This is the second Joe’s Southern Kitchen site from the long established Maxwells Restaurant Group. Back in the early 1970s, when it was practically impossible to find a decent burger or grill in London, Brian Stein opened Maxwell’s Hampstead – a huge success. In the 1980s, Maxwell’s moved to the West End, and the group expanded in Covent Garden and beyond, now boasting eight venues, including Café De Paris, PJ’s Bar and Grill and Roadhouse

Size? Spread over two floors and occupying the former site of Kentish Canteen, the new Joe’s features a 90 cover ground floor restaurant and outside 20 cover BBQ and dining space, along with a basement bar called JAILBIRD.

What’s on the Menu?  The new menu at Joe’s Kentish Town features many of the favourites from the original venue, but the main focus is the venue’s signature new recipe, Sweet Tea Brined Fried Chicken with Lemon Salt & Tabasco Honey.

Alongside the signature chicken, the menu includes the brand’s famous Beef Short Rib and Southern favourites like Devilled Eggs, Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Gooey Corn Spoon Bread

Bookings? Bookings and walk ins. For larger group bookings (8 or more),email (bookings@joessouthernkitchen.co.uk or call on 0207 485 7331 to discuss requirements

Contact: Joe’s Southern Kitchen & Bar – 300 Kentish Town Road, London, NW5 2TG. Ph. 0207 485 7331. WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram.

Trading Hours: Monday to Friday 8am to Midnight  – Saturday and Sunday 9am to Midnight.

Google Maps.

Joe's Southern Kitchen & Bar

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Newly Open: Sesame - Covent Garden, LondonSesame

When? 15 May, 2015

What is it? Mediterranean street food, fast food with tradition, heritage and authority.

Who’s behind it? Sesame is the brainchild of Noam Bar, one of the founders of Ottolenghi. Noam grew up in Israel and has an intimate knowledge of the food traditions of the Mediterranean, as well as support and the creativity of his colleagues in Ottolenghi – Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi.

Size? Primarily take away, but seats 45

What’s on the Menu? http://www.sesamefood.co.uk/menu

Kebabs – freshly grilled meat wrapped in soft, flat bread filled with freshly cut vegetable salad and spiced with tahini and tangy condiments:

  • Paprika and Cardamom chicken with chopped salad, sauerkraut, hummus and zhoug
  • Lemon and za’atar chicken with chopped salad, hummus and zhoug
  • Spiced lamb kebab with chopped salad, tahini, mint yoghurt and zhoug
  • Sabick, a vegetarian Iraqi dish – specially prepared aubergines, hard-boiled egg and yoghurt tahini, topped with tangy mango pickle.

Salads:

  • Cauliflower with tahini and pomegranate
  • Beetroot with orange, honey and labneh (strained yoghurt)
  • Sweet potato with baby spinach and za’atar
  • Barley tabouleh – parsley and pearl barley
  • Savoy cabbage slaw with mixed seeds
  • Butternut squash with Greek yoghurt and sumac
  • Mixed green beans with sesame oil and chilli
  • Courgette and bulgur with lemon and feta

Breakfast

  • Toasted pitta panini with aged feta and fresh herb omelette
  • Toasted pitta panini with egg, bacon and spicy tomato sauce
  • Toasted pitta panini with semi-dried tomato and cheese
  • Porridge with date molasses
  • Porridge with with date molasses and mixed seeds
  • Greek yoghurt with honey and pomegranate

Bookings? No

Contact: Sesame – 23 Garrick Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9BN. WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram.

Trading Hours: 7am to 11pm daily

Google Maps.

Newly Open: Sesame - Covent Garden, London

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Newly Open: Pump Shoreditch, LondonPump Shoreditch

When? May 14, 2015. 

What is it? This summer the disused petrol station on Shoreditch High Street is being transformed into one of the area’s go-to dining destinations, with the launch of Pump Shoreditch street food market on 15th May, including a stellar line up of food, live music and art.

Who’s behind it? There are a variety of partners involved – including the food, music and street art.

Boneyard next door will also be giving guests a sneak preview of its new venue, before its formal opening on 1st June. Specialising in meat served on the bone, the team behind Boneyard will be providing tasters on the night to whet everyone’s appetite.

The vinyl-spinning House of Disco will be headlining the music for the event, with support from Tom Kirby, the founder of Breaks Magazine, and electronic duo Arveene & Misk.

The launch will also be unveiling a street art ‘battle’ that will take place throughout the evening, and see some of street art’s hottest talent compete against each other to create a live exhibition of their work for guests, including Malarky, Darren John and David Shillinglaw.

Size? It’s a streetfood market, so plenty of room!

What’s on the Menu? Some of London’s most exciting street food vendors will be setting up shop for the Pump launch street party, including Mediterranean meets Middle Eastern Pulled by Morito, Mexican outfit Tacotitlan, bagels with a modern twist from Bagel Bros – Shoreditch, Don Arancini with their handmade arancini balls, and healthy pizza company Pizza Rossa, to give guests an eclectic mix of gourmet taste samples to enjoy on the night. Renowned English chef and restauranteur, Mark Hix, will also be taking up a coveted space in the street food village selling his infamous Fish Dogs – a posh fish finger sandwich, with minted mushy peas and tartare sauce.

Bookings? No. 

Contact: Pump Shoreditch – The Old Petrol Station, 168 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6HU. WebsiteFacebookTwitter.

Trading Hours: 11am-11pm, Monday to Sunday.

Google Maps.

Newly Open: Pump Shoreditch, London

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London Laksa Co.London Laksa Co.

When? Open now at The Wick Fest on Sunday each week between 12pm-8pm and Kerb at Kings Cross (Cubitt Square) on Mondays between 12-2pm.

What is it? Food market stall selling Singapore laksa noodle soup.

Who’s behind it? Ian Fitzhenry.

Size? Food market stall size.

What’s on the Menu? Singapore Laksa Noodle Soup. A combination of chicken, prawn, fish balls and tofu with Vermicelli noodles covered with creamy spicy coconut soup. Topped off with crunchy onions and fresh herbs and beansprouts.

Bookings? No

Contact: London Laksa Co. Ph. 07985268112. FacebookTwitterInstagram.

Trading Hours: 11-8pm

London Laksa Co.

Giveaway!

For your chance to go in the draw for 2 serves of London Laksa Co.’s Singapore style Laksa Noodle soup – just share this page on Facebook and leave your name in the comments section below.

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Balls & Company Soho LondonBalls & Company

When? Opening June 2015

What is it? The first Soho restaurant to offer a gourmet meatball focussed menu.

Who’s behind it? Australian-born chef Bonny Porter, who has worked at top restaurants in her home country including Rockpool Bar and Grill and Manly Wine by Gazebo (both in Sydney, Australia). She was also a finalist in the Australian Masterchef TV series, and moved to London two years ago, where she has since worked in the kitchen at The Arts Club in Mayfair and Village East in Bermondsey.

Size? Split across two floors, the ground floor at Balls & Company will be exclusively for dining, seating up to 30 guests, whilst downstairs will be a more intimate space, with a bar and dining for up to 20.

What’s on the menu? The concise meatball menu will offer diners the choice of five varieties of ball, all using the highest quality meat produce and ingredients. Varieties served in Mauviel copper pans will include ‘Wagyu beef’‘Confit salmon’ and ‘Quinoa, beetroot & feta’, each served in portions of four. Sauces will range from the classic tomato sauce to the more robust ‘Romesco with red pepper, almonds, hazelnuts & garlic’. The menu will also offer a range of sliders and a revolving selection of elegant seasonal side dishes.

Bookings? Possibly.

Contact: Balls & Company – 58 Greek Street, Soho, London W1D 3DY. WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram. 

Trading Hours: Lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday.

Google Maps.

Balls & Company Soho London

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Newly Open: MOMMI - Clapham High Street, LondonMOMMI

When? June 2015.

What is it? Japanese-Latin Raw Bar + Grill.

Who’s behind it? Mint Group with Head Chef Paul Sowden.

Size? 85 covers, designed by Mister Important.

What’s on the Menu? Naturally nutritious small plates of MOMMI ceviche and Nikkei chirashi sushi will take centre stage alongside hot specials from the Robata grill with Executive Chef Paul Sowden leading the kitchen. Signature plates will include; Sea Bass with Sweet Potato, Olive Oil, Choclo, Burnt Yuzu Dressing and Red Amaranth; Pork Belly with Sweet Potato & Salsa Criolla Sanguche; and Shrimp & Mushroom “Salad” with Spicy Lemon Dressing and Japanese Purple Potato Salad.

Bookings? Yes

Contact: MOMMI – 44 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UR. WebsiteFacebookTwitter.

Trading Hours: 5pm ‘til 11pm Monday – Wednesday, 12pm ‘til late on Thursday and Fridays, and 10am ‘til late at weekends.

 Google Maps.

Newly Open: MOMMI - Clapham High Street, London

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Don’t miss out on any other London food & drink news – subscribe to the email list to receive every update (top right corner) and Follow @Shark4ChipDrink Know of any other places opening soon that aren’t on this list or that were missed? Let me know! Send Email. See you next month.