There is something to be said about being the first to know—and a new website focused on London allows for just that. “There is a lot of social currency in checking out new openings before the masses,” says editor Kirsty Hathaway, who started the site Just Opened London with cofounder Lauren Scott. “[We allow] readers to be a step ahead with minimal effort.”
The premise is simple. Instead of creating a compendium of all the restaurants, shops and bars in one of the world’s most traveled towns, the duo zeros in on the best new offerings. A click on the site’s calendar reveals an up-to-the-minute guide on where to be and what to see—a useful service for scene-loving locals and visitors alike. “Given the fast-paced nature of the world, travel guides tend to be outdated before they’re printed,” says Hathaway. “We’re all about the now.”
The pair plans to expand the model to New York, Los Angeles and Shanghai. For now, they let us in on the most anticipated spring restaurant openings in their inaugural city. JustOpenedLondon.com.
Bird of Smithfield (Opening May 1)
Alan Bird, the former executive chef at The Ivy, ventures out solo with this eponymous restaurant and bar. He serves up his famed shepherd’s pie in a five-floor Georgian townhouse alongside an intimate live-music venue called The Birdcage. 26 Smithfield St.; birdofsmithfield.com.
Casa Negra (Opening in May)
Following the overwhelming success of its sister eatery La Bodega Negra, which serves Mexican street food, Casa Negra will take over the old Great Eastern Dining Room in Shoreditch to dole out its own Mexican cuisine. 54-56 Great Eastern St.; casanegrarestaurant.tumblr.com.
The Clove Club (Opened March 4)
This is already becoming London’s must-book eatery (pictured above). Daniel Willis, Johnny Smith and Isaac McHale, founders of the restaurant Upstairs at the Ten Bells, settle into Shoreditch Town Hall with a nightly tasting menu. 380 Old St.; 44-20/7729-6496; thecloveclub.com.
Restaurant Story (Opened April 19)
Tom Sellers has worked alongside the likes of Tom Aikens and Thomas Keller—and now he’s opening his own place. His Bermondsey restaurant has two kitchens (one within the dining room) and cooks up a six- or ten-course menu for dinner and a three-courser for lunch. It is British food with simple ingredients. Perfection. 201 Tooley St.; restaurantstory.co.uk.
Social Eating House (Opened April 18)
Jason Atherton's third venture offers a delicious contemporary bistro menu paying homage to the best of British cooking with international influences. Atherton wants the Social Eating House to be, well, social. 58 Poland St.; 44-20/7993-3251; socialeatinghouse.com.