New OpenTable restaurants: Café Monico, Rofuto, Ellory & more

With the Bank Holiday weekend stretched out ahead of you, there’s never been a better time to try somewhere new. Here are some of the fantastic UK restaurants you can now book on OpenTable.

CafeMonicoCafé Monico – The latest venture from Soho House is now open on Shaftesbury Avenue, serving French-Italian dishes in a relaxed brasserie setting. It’s open from breakfast until late and is already proving popular with the pre-theatre crowd. Pop in at lunch for the great value prix fixe or splash out on classic dishes like moules frites or steak tartare.

Ours – This Knightsbridge restaurant serves a modern European menu overseen by chef Tom Sellers (Restaurant Story).

Blacklock – Charcoal grilled chops, decadent Sunday roasts, and cocktails for a fiver – there’s a lot to love about Blacklock. They take bookings for groups of 6 or more in the evenings, so round up some friends for a proper meat feast.

Galley – Situated on busy Upper Street, this modern seafood restaurant is perfect for lunch or a romantic supper. The menu changes often but expect dishes like sea bream carpaccio, lobster linguine, and lemon sole with Cornish cockles.

Ellory –  This Hackney bar and bistro is a joint venture from chef Matthew Young (ex-Mayfields) and sommelier Jack Lewens (ex-Spring and River Café). The menu is a list of dishes (rather than starters and mains) so you can drop in for a glass of wine and a few plates, or settle in for a leisurely meal.

Kanada-Ya – Ramen fans rejoice! You can now book a table at this authentic Japanese ramen bar near Piccadilly Circus. As well as their delicious tonkotsu ramen, they also serve chicken karaage, onigiri (rice balls), and matcha ice-cream.

Also new in London: Cielo Blanco, Picture, Blandford Comptoir, Atrium Kitchen, Duende, Cocotte, C’Alice.

NingNing – If you like Malaysian food, you’ll love this stylish south east Asian restaurant in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Try their authentic beef rendang, sambal prawns, or fragrant curry laksa, washed down with a Lychee Martini.

Sea Spice at The White Lion – Already a hit with Aldeburgh locals, Sea Spice combines local Suffolk produce with classic Indian flavours. The menu includes Goan-inspired seafood dishes, tandoor grilled meats, and some excellent craft beers.

Rofuto – Restaurateur Des McDonald has opened a modern Japanese izakaya-style restaurant in Birmingham. Diners can snack on sushi, tempura and dishes from the robata grill while enjoying the stunning view of the city skyline.

Catch Seafood – Situated in West Vale (just outside Halifax), Catch serves fresh fish and seafood delivered daily from UK ports. Kids will love their fish and chips, while grown-ups can enjoy oysters, seared scallops, and pan-fried sea bass.

Prèvost – At his latest restaurant in Peterborough, local chef Lee Clarke is showcasing top quality ingredients in creative British dishes. Combined with friendly service and a great wine list, it’s guaranteed to impress even the fussiest of foodies.

Need more inspiration? Find great restaurants in your local area on OpenTable.

The Power Hour: Live the foodie life on your lunch break

Last week, the Evening Standard reported that more than half of Londoners admit to eating at their desk at lunchtime, the highest number of any region in the UK. The research, commissioned by Deliveroo, also revealed that Londoners take an average of just 33 minutes for lunch. Taking a proper break is proven to make you healthier and more productive, so to inspire you to get away from your desk, here are nine ways to live the foodie life on your lunch break.

Photo Credit: KERB Facebook page.
Photo Credit: KERB Facebook page.

Seek out street food – If you usually pack yourself a healthy lunch, why not reward yourself with a street food feast? Try Manchester’s Piccadilly street food market or one of the excellent KERB markets in London.

Pack a picnic – On those rare sunny days, find a park or a bench and soak up the rays while you have lunch. Jamie Oliver has some great ideas for picnic lunches, from spring onion tart to spiced beef empanadas. You can invite your office bestie to join you, or just enjoy the peace and quiet.

Try a top restaurant for half the price – It’s no secret that many of the UK’s top restaurants offer great value set lunch menus. It’s a good way to try somewhere special without blowing the budget or committing to a lengthy tasting menu. Hot Dinners has a handy round-up of restaurants offering prix fixe lunches, including restaurants like Fera at Claridge’s, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Murano, and Frenchie.

Make a meal plan – It’s easy to start the week with good intentions and then descend into grab-and-go lunches and unplanned takeaways. If you take a few minutes on your Monday lunch break to plan meals for the week ahead, you could save cash, eat healthier and cut down on your shopping trips. If you’re stuck for inspiration, treat yourself to a copy of Delicious magazine or browse for recipes on BBC Good Food and Buzzfeed.

Organise a pot luck lunch – Challenge some foodie colleagues to cook and bring in a dish each and host an office ‘pot luck’ lunch. It’s a great way to bond with your team and show off your cooking skills!

LAtelierdesChefsLearn something new – Some UK cookery schools offer lunchtime classes, so why not brush up on your knife skills or tackle a new cuisine? At London’s L’Atelier des Chefs, they run speedy 30-minute classes where you can master the perfect flat iron steak or pad Thai, and then eat what you’ve cooked before heading back to the office.

Plan a cookbook cook-off – We’ve all got them, those beautiful cookbooks that we love but never actually use. You don’t have to go full on Julie & Julia and cook your way through the whole book, but why not use your lunch hour to bookmark some recipes you’d love to try? Better yet, pick three courses and plan a proper, grown-up dinner party.

Make reservations – If you know you’ve got a birthday or an anniversary coming up, use your lunch hour to find and book somewhere special. It sounds like common sense but top restaurants book up months in advance so it’s worth getting organised. No special occasion? No problem. Surprise your other half with a mid-week dinner date or bag a table at a local gastropub for Sunday lunch with friends. Your social life sorted in under 60 minutes!

Visit food shops for recipe ideas – If you’ve got a great deli near your office, or perhaps a good butcher or Asian supermarket, have a look around and get inspiration for new recipes. Nowhere ‘foodie’ nearby? Hit the World Foods aisle of your nearest supermarket and get creative – that curry paste or jar of pickles could be the base for your new favourite dish.

Have you got any top tips for making the most of your lunch break? Let us know in the comment or via twitter.

London Wine Week: The Highlights

London Wine Week is back with a packed schedule of pop-ups and tasting events! Swing by the Nyetimber Hub at Devonshire Square to pick up your free wristband, enjoy some £5 wine flights, and find out what’s on this week. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights below, but be quick – tickets are selling fast.

LondonWineWeekMonday: Loire Valley masterclass at Sager + Wilde – Kick-start your week at one of London’s finest wine bars with a special masterclass featuring six Loire wines. Stay for more wine or book a table for dinner nearby at Brawn or Beagle.

Tuesday: Let’s Get Fizzical with Three Wine Men – Join Oz Clarke, Tim Atkin and Olly Smith for a Champagne and sparkling wine tasting extravaganza at East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf. (£35 per person or £60 for two).

Wednesday: Loire Valley Wines rooftop BBQ at the Queen of Hoxton – If you’re a TimeOut card holder, snap up a £10 ticket and enjoy wines from the Loire Valley and a delicious barbecue feast while the sun sets over Shoreditch.

Thursday: Ribera Uncorked with Jane Parkinson at New Street Wine Shop – Try wonderful wines from Spain’s Ribera del Duero paired with charcuterie and tapas in a tasting session with Saturday Kitchen’s Jane Parkinson.

Friday: What’s Everybody Drinking? at Le Cordon Bleu – At this relaxed tasting evening, you’ll taste different styles of wine and analyse the different categories of drinkers so you can pick the perfect bottle for dinner parties, gifts and more.

Saturday: LWW x Disappearing Dining Club: Argentinian Twilight Banquet – A former warehouse above Devonshire Square has been transformed into a candlelit dining room for an exclusive Argentinian dinner with wine pairings.

Sunday: France Off The Beaten Track at Patron – Head to Kentish Town for a celebration of regional French wine and food at Patron Cave à Manger. A great opportunity to taste wines from excellent, lesser- known vineyards.

If you’ve only got time for a quick drink, wristband holders can enjoy £5 wine flights and bespoke offers at over 125 London bars and restaurants including Foxlow, Quo Vadis, and HIX Soho.

Five of the best date night restaurants in Birmingham

Looking for somewhere special for date night dining in Birmingham? We asked Roz from The Foodie Couple Blog for her top five recommendations for restaurants with great food and the perfect atmosphere for a dinner for two.

Turners

Turners – For a more special night, head to Turners restaurant in Harborne. Complete with a Michelin star, this restaurant has been turning out top quality fine dining for many years. The restaurant is small and intimate and offers top quality service alongside the dazzling food. As well as a la carte and tasting menus, they also offer set menus on certain nights like the Taste of Turners on a Tuesday, offering 5 courses for £35. Exceptional value for this standard of cooking. Expect dishes such as sea trout with quinoa, kohlrabi and wild garlic or Jersey Royals with duck egg, buttermilk and truffle.

Andersons Bar and Grill – This Steak House is in the pretty and picturesque St Paul’s Square in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. They put a lot of focus on sourcing great quality meat and produce from the local area which is so important. If you’re not a steak lover, fear not – the menu caters for every taste with plenty of fish and vegetarian options too. Try classics such as a Shorthorn Porterhouse steak for two to share, Andersons Surf & Turf or blue cheese linguine with roast artichokes, wild mushrooms and rocket pesto. They even do a twist on tapas, perfect for sharing and nibbling in the bar with a few drinks.

El Borracho Del Oro – This Spanish restaurant in the leafy suburb of Edgbaston (only a mile or two from the city centre) has only been open a couple of years but is making waves with their excellent traditional Spanish cuisine. Their tapas are a favourite of mine! The large open plan restaurant always has a great atmosphere, and you can pop in throughout the day for breakfast, a full meal or just some tapas at the bar. And in the evening if you’re lucky you can catch one of their wonderful live music events.

HotelduVinLasan
Photo Credit: The Foodie Couple Blog

Hotel Du Vin & Bistro – Hotel du Vin is a great place for lovers of classic food, wine and ambience. This French influenced hotel and restaurant is found in the heart of Birmingham’s business district in a beautiful old Victorian building that used to be an eye hospital. The Bistro serves French home style cooking and the spring menu for 2016 is now in full force with such delicacies as Provençal soup and sole meunière. They also have a great priced set menu at £16.95 for 2 courses or £19.95 for 3.

Lasan – If you’re looking for fantastic Indian food in the Balti capital of England, but want your food with a bit more style and pizzazz, then Lasan is the place for you. It serves contemporary Indian food cooked with passion and there is so much detail and care in the flavour and presentation. Chef Aktar Islam has previously featured on Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word and more recently Great British Menu. Dishes such as the Elaichi Beef (beef blade braised overnight, marinated sirloin, bone marrow pakora and tandoori sweetbread served with black cardamom scented cashew nut gravy) is just one example of their mouth-watering modern Indian cooking.

Still hungry? Visit OpenTable to find more great restaurants in Birmingham or check out The Foodie Couple Blog for reviews of restaurants like Rofuto, CAU and more.