London’s best restaurants for Frieze week
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Le Magritte Bar
With an art collection that includes Magritte (it’s named after its prize painting), Emile François Jacques Compard and Slim Aarons, Le Magritte Bar at The Beaumont hotel in Mayfair boasts one of the city’s finer selections on its walls. The works sit against a chic art-deco backdrop, newly designed by Thierry W Despont and inspired by the American-style bars that appeared in London and Paris during the 1920s. Its menu, meanwhile, featuring bourbon, classic whisky cocktails and a selection of Cuban cigars, promises to make Le Magritte a buzzy after-hours destination. The accompanying Colony Grill Room restaurant has also been revamped with huge David Hockney-esque murals, and elevated American diner classics including Cobb salad with 24-month Comté, and “bespoke” ice-cream sundaes. Leaving the hotel, visitors can admire the giant semi-abstract Antony Gormley sculpture, inside of which is a bedroom that guests can book.
The Beaumont, 8 Balderton Street, Brown Hart Gardens, London W1K 6TF
St John, Spitalfields
What The French House in Soho was for Francis Bacon, Augustus John and Lucian Freud in the mid-20th century, St John was for the YBAs in the 1990s, and it’s maintained its clientele of artists ever since. “Chefs and artists follow the same hours – we all stay up rather late,” founder Fergus Henderson said in his Lunch with the FT. The walls are notably free of any artworks; Henderson and his co-founder Trevor Gulliver wanted to create a distraction-free space where the cooking would speak for itself. The traditional British food and French wine are all that’s needed: hake, chips and tartare; roast lop loin, turnips and mustard; and Eccles cake and Lancashire cheese are some of the now iconic dishes.
94-96 Commercial Street, London E1 6LZ
The Red Room
Past the champagne bar and through a red velvet curtain in Mayfair’s Connaught hotel, guests will find The Red Room, a new wine bar and cocktail lounge housing a collection of works by women artists, curated around the theme of red, that has been years in the making. Above the fireplace hangs Louise Bourgeois’ I Am Rouge, while a ruby-red hologram also by Bourgeois adorns another wall; Scarlet Mist by Vietnamese artist Ti-a Thuy Nguyen sits near the elegant curved bar; and above a seating area is Jenny Holzer’s Benghazi, a graphite and watercolour modification of previously censored US government documents. Visitors can savour the artworks over vintage wines by the glass – thanks to the Coravin system, which uses a hollow needle to extract wine through the cork – and a menu of small plates including sea-bass ceviche, roasted potatoes with truffle and parmesan and veal carpaccio.
The Connaught, Carlos Place, London W1K 2AL
From the team behind cult favourite 40 Maltby Street comes new European-style eatery Café Deco. Proprietor Anna Tobias is a Rochelle Canteen and River Café-alumna, and the menu features accordingly clever and straightforward food: egg mayonnaise crowned with an anchovy, roast chicken with tomatoes and olives, plum ice cream. The white walls are painted with a Jean Cocteau-esque frieze inspired, says Tobias, by “a slightly mad mural that used to be on the wall in the downstairs room when the space used to be a greasy spoon”, and her own collection of Cocteau posters and stamps.
43 Store Street, London WC1E 7DB
The aesthetic emphasis in Marylebone-based KOL is on craft. The warmly lit interior features burnt ceramics, pottery dating back to ancient Mexico, wooden sculptures, and lights by the Mexican designer Fernando Laposse made from totomoxtle – a material made from corn husks – and alebrijes (Mexican folk-art sculptures). This design was informed by a research trip made by studio A-nrd through Yucatán, Oaxaca and Mexico City, which took in the works of Luis Barragán and Frida Kahlo, as well as Diego Rivera’s home in San Angel. By Santiago Lastra (formerly of Noma Mexico), the menu features Mexican food made with British ingredients: lobster and smoked chilli tacos, whole grilled octopus with bone marrow and seaweed macha, and brown-butter tamal with figs and buttermilk. The newly opened Mezcaleria downstairs serves refreshing agave-based cocktails and an “Antojitos” menu – literally translated as “little cravings” – of Mexican street food and delicacies from indigenous communities, including Cornish-crab empanadas and rib-eye tostadas.
9 Seymour Street, Marylebone, London W1H 7BA
Stephen Harris at Quo Vadis
Kicking off Frieze week on Wednesday 13 October is a guest appearance from Stephen Harris of Seasalter’s The Sportsman at Soho’s Quo Vadis. What began as a “grotty rundown pub by the sea” (in his words), The Sportsman has since won a Michelin star and is now a culinary destination, beloved for its French-British classics such as mussel and bacon chowder and slip sole grilled in seaweed butter. The event is the latest in the Quo Vadis & Friends series, which sees chef Jeremy Lee invite “the most talented wooden-spoon wielders in the country” to cook in his kitchen. Harris will be taking over the second-floor members’ dining room and the Marx private room (where Karl Marx lived while writing Das Kapital), which also currently features an exhibition by self-taught artist Emma Wood.
26-29 Dean Street, London W1D 3LL
A stroll from Regent’s Park into Marylebone will bring you to Akoko, a West African-influenced restaurant formerly helmed by William Chilila of The Orrery in Marylebone, via a stint on MasterChef: The Professionals, and now run by Theo Clench. Surrounded by bespoke ceramics inspired by Nigerian potter Ladi Kwali, and artworks made with the pods of ekpiri seeds (which are typically used to create anklets worn by Igbo traditional dancers), diners can enjoy a tasting menu that takes inspiration from Nigerian, Ghanaian and Senegalese recipes that have been passed down through generations: Gambian oysters cooked over coals, barbecued lamb belly with suya spice and boab ice-cream with hibiscus.
21 Berners Street, London W1T 3LP
Heckfield Place at Frieze
“I’ll be spending the majority of my time at the fair,” says Eva Langret, artistic director of Frieze London. “We’ll have pop-ups from some of the city’s best restaurants including Moro, La Goccia and Heckfield Place.” Skye Gyngell’s Heckfield-farm-to-table restaurant, which is headquartered at Heckfield Place, promises to be the see-and-be-seen hotspot. Gyngell is bringing a menu of seasonal dishes including tagliatelle with Heckfield Home Farm cream, green garlic and San Danielle ham, and hazelnut and pear tart with espresso, which will be available on site at Frieze Masters for the duration of the fair.
Regent’s Park, London NW1
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