We’ve looked into our crystal ball to predict what 2024 will bring for Knightsbridge’s dining scene, including new restaurants in Knightsbridge and some wider food trends
Words: Stefan Chomka
New Restaurants in Knightsbridge 2024
The Middle East-based Japanese dining concept made its UK debut this February in a site located close to Harrods and the newly refurbished Knightsbridge tube station. No expense has been spared, with CLAP including a rooftop bar and lounge alongside a main dining room. The luxury-leaning menu draws upon the traditions and flavours of Japan with a range of sushi and sashimi as well as dishes such as Hokkaido scallops and foie gras; wagyu beef tartare and biwa caviar; roasted tamara king crab leg; and pistachio-crusted baby chicken with yuzu and daikon. The restaurant’s design is described as being playful, chic and contemporary with an open kitchen in the main restaurant providing some welcome theatre.
Superstar international chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is boosting his presence in the London restaurant scene in early 2024 with an opening within sleek new Knightsbridge hotel The Emory. Vongerichten has restaurants across the world, including one at The Connaught in London, and this will be the first time he is bringing his abc brand to the UK. Designed by Rémi Tessier and featuring artworks by Damien Hirst, the restaurant will be open for breakfast onwards and serve an all-day menu that will combine elements from a trio of Vongerichten’s New York locations – abc kitchen, abcV and abc cocina – to create a cool new concept.
Dave Pynt’s cult modern barbecue restaurant Burnt Ends will be firing up within Harrods as part of the department store’s continued drive to attract international chefs into its fold. Located in Singapore’s Dempsey Hill, Burnt Ends is known for its brilliant modern Australian barbecue food as well as its four-tonne custom wood-fired grill and Harrods will be looking to recreate the fun and fiery vibe when it touches down over here. Expect a daily written menu of supreme barbecue food and killer cocktails, with a buzzy atmosphere to boot.
© Simon Pynt
Harrods is giving its famous tea rooms a refresh in the spring with them being reopened as The Georgian. Due to close in April, the rooms will be revitalised by the design team at David Collins Studio with a fresh concept that will explore the history of afternoon tea, and which will no doubt give a nod towards the history of Harrods itself, which started out as a tea merchant.
Launching on the former La Brasserie site on Brompton Road, Brasseria Brompton will be the third restaurant in the Brasseria Family, joining the group’s La Brasseria Milanese in Marylebone and Brasseria Notting Hill restaurants. Spread across two floors, the New York-style grand Parisian brasserie will be led in the kitchen by executive chef Giulio Rossi, who will serve a menu of classic brasserie dishes with a touch of theatre that will include cotoletta alla Milanese; hand-made fettuccine della casa with porcini mushrooms and truffle cream; and Dover sole alla mugnaia that’s plated and deboned tableside. The large restaurant will come into its own in the summer months with two terraces for alfresco dining.
The Knightsbridge restaurant will celebrate its 50th anniversary in style with a makeover, having been bought by Los Mochis owner the Thesleff Group in early 2023. The much-loved Italian trattoria will close in January for a major overhaul and reopen a month later with an updated menu of sharing primi and secondi dishes, with Sale e Pepe classics such as the vitello Milanese and linguine all’aragosta to be transformed into larger dishes to be taken by the whole table. The facelift will give Sale e Pepe a modern feel, but fans of the original will be pleased to hear that none of the old-school hospitality for which the Sloane Square restaurant is known will be lost.
Middle Eastern cuisine has been prominent among new restaurant openings over the past decade and Knightsbridge itself is home to a wide selection of Lebanese, Turkish and Moroccan restaurants. In 2024 we’re likely to see the arrival of more geographically specific Middle Eastern cuisines coming to the fore, with food from countries including Egypt, Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey set to make more of an impact in the capital as chefs look to explore the varied cuisine of the region more deeply. If you can’t wait, places to try now include Al Basha, which is an exploration into Egyptian and Middle Eastern food; Lebanese restaurant Al Arez; and modern Turkish restaurant The Mantl.
Fine dining restaurants have undergone many changes in recent years as chefs rethink the traditional model and respond to a younger, more social-media savvy dining crowd, and we’re going to continue to see this change in 2024. Kicking things off in the new year is Michael O’Hare, who is turning his Michelin-starred Leeds fine-dining restaurant into a more casual “surf shack”, and he’s not alone. The team behind Hackney-based Pidgin are taking their restaurant back to its roots to create more of a “neighbourhood” dining spot, while Harrods has recently tapped into the trend for fine dining with a fun edge with its buzzy Dining Hall welcoming new high-end concepts such as Kinoya Ramen Bar and Sushi by MASA, bringing luxury Michelin food to a more informal setting set against a backdrop of live music.
The pub sector has had it hard in the past few years, with many places across the country closing as people’s lifestyle habits change. But the institution that is the great British pub is far from dead, and we are going to see a revival of brilliant boozers in the coming year. The charge is being led by Soho newbie The Devonshire, which counts former The Fat Duck executive chef Ashley Palmer-Watts as a co-founder, and which has shown that the appetite for a properly-run pub that pays as much attention to the food and the drinks as it does to looking after its customers has never been stronger. For your pub fix in Knightsbridge, hit up The Bunch of Grapes, The Paxtons Head, and The Wilton Arms, among others.
If 2022 and 2023 were the caviar years then 2024 could be the year of the crustacean, with different types of shellfish looking to compete with lobster at the top table. Part of the lobster family, langoustines are growing in popularity with chefs and diners thanks to their sweetness, and also a slightly lower price, and they are likely to crop up on more menus this year as a result. Additionally, the revival of the pub is inspiring a rise in popularity of pub classics such as pints of prawns, the classic prawn cocktail and potted shrimp. If lobster remains your go-to shellfish of choice then Burger & Lobster in Harvey Nichols will never disappoint.
The UK’s love of Asian food is showing no signs of dwindling, and 2024 is set to bring a host of new Asian concepts to London as restaurateurs look to keep things fresh. Restaurants on the cards include a new Japanese venue from sushi master Endo Kazutoshi at The OWO, Ellen Chew’s Singaporean-focused restaurant Singapulah, and contemporary Cantonese restaurant Ho Lee Fook, which is looking for a site. Then there’s the team behind Knightsbridge restaurant The Aubrey at Mandarin Oriental, which is looking to bring its Mott 32 Chinese restaurant brand to London at some point. Until then, The Aubrey offers an exceptional izakaya-style experience, or for an Asian dining experience with even more pedigree, Mr Chow is the place to go.
Stefan Chomka is editor of Restaurant Magazine