These London Restaurants pack a punch in design and flavour
London is a city known for its culture, design, and food scene. On our continued search for the less ordinary, we’re shining a light on the restaurants that bring together those three aspects to create an unforgettable dining experience. Read on as we share the new London restaurants that have delivered on both design and flavour. Because if you’re looking for a Less Ordinary dining experience, why not pop into a restaurant that’s not just a feast for the belly, but a feast for the eyes too? 
1. Cornerstone
Image by Holland and Harvey Architects
When Tom Brown decided to step out of Nathan Outlaw’s Michelin-starred kitchens and into one of his own, the food world was eagerly waiting to see what he would come up with.
His debut restaurant, Cornerstone, is named after his favourite Arctic Monkeys song, and pays homage to the produce and gin of his hometown of Cornwall. Not only is Brown an Outlaw protégé, but he also featured in last year’s Great British Menu. His menu at Cornerstone features dishes such as cured sea bream with lime pickle and coconut yoghurt, and Cornish mille feuille with strawberry, saffron, and clotted cream. 
Holland Harvey Architects were given the responsibility to design a space that connects Brown’s Cornish heritage with the industrial history of Hackney Wick. They describe the kitchen as being the central focus of the restaurant. Tables are arranged around the kitchen so that all diners have theatre-style viewing of the stage from which Brown and his team perform every night. As a project that is near and dear to the chef’s heart, the restaurant was designed to reflect both his upbringing and his journey through food.
2. JoleneImages by Patricia Niven Photography
Voted Eater London’s most beautiful restaurant of 2018, Jolene is a newcomer that is certainly firing on all cylinders. Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim and David Gingell, the duo behind Primeur and Westerns Laundry, teamed up with DJ-turned-farmer Andy Cato, to bring the sustainable bakery/café/restaurant to Newington Green.
To say that Jolene oozes with unassuming East London cool would be an understatement. Everything is made from scratch everyday and they use 100% unaltered grains. Designed by Cometto-Lingenheim himself, the café’s lyme-washed, plastered walls and exposed pipes give off a raw, distressed vibe.
According to Jeremy and David, “Our approach at Primeur and Westerns Laundry has always been attuned to the need for sourcing well-farmed produce that’s ethically grown with soil fertility in mind and tended with care…We’re bringing the same values and narrative to Jolene, this time with breads baked with Andy’s incredible grains and inspired by his passion for sustainable, efficient and sensical farming methods.”
3. EkteImages by Jade Nina Sarkhel
Set in the stunning Bloomberg Arcade, Ekte is a Nordic kitchen which promises to give guests a true taste of the North. The restaurant’s name comes from a Norwegian word meaning “genuine” or “real”. Through his new outpost, owner Soren Jessen aims to bring simple, ingredients-focused dishes to London. The menu includes traditional Scandinavian sandwich options on house rye bread, roasted root vegetable salads, grilled duck hearts with pickled gooseberry, watercress salad and sourdough toast, and a rack of lamb with a rustic Swedish casserole and green wave mustard.
The glass-fronted space was designed by Danish studio JLKDS and has a central food bar, open kitchen, and outdoor seating for warmer months. The interiors are sleek and simple and include design elements like oak and marble table tops, Werner chairs, Danish lighting, and a leather banquette curving along one of the walls. According to Jessen, the restaurant is all about "Pure, clean, simple, edgy, elegant, cool. The materials used are a mix of polished steel walls and patinated brass details.  Smoked nordic oak tabletops are mixed with white-grey polished granite. The surfaces are earthy and tactile with a charred wall and a mounted steel framed fireplace." And when asked where he goes for a meal, he says it's "Rochelle Canteen by Margot Henderson in the summer, The Ladbroke Arms in winter or Kitty Fisher’s."
4. Bar Douro
Though not exactly a new opening, we thought it was important to give props to Portuguese wine bar and restaurant Bar Douro located in the new Flat Iron Square development in London Bridge. Architect and interior designer Steph Gallia was called in to bring owner Max Graham’s childhood memories of traveling through the Douro Valley to life. Drawing inspiration from the traditional cervejarias (breweries) and tascas (taverns) of Lisbon and Porto, Bar Douro’s interiors showcase distinctly Portuguese features such as the bespoke blue and white Azulejo tiles by Ceramica Bicesse, an Aveiro Portuguese marble bar, copper light fittings, and Portuguese granite skirting as an homage to the exposed granite buildings in Porto.
Their small plates-focused menu includes traditional dishes like croquettes de alheira (Portuguese smoked sausage croquettes), octopus with sweet potato, and grilled black pig choriço with pickled red cabbage.
Speaking on what they represent, Bar Douro tells us: “Our ethos is traditional and authentic Portuguese small plates and beautifully sourced wines, all from Portuguese suppliers. Exploring key wine growing regions and highlighting the huge range of native grape varieties that Portugal has to offer, Max is working closely with independent winemakers importing a selection of wines not currently available in the UK.”
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Words by Ina Yulo

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