Best London Bar and Restaurant Openings of 2013

Some of our favourite new hangouts this year ...

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Restaurants

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Casse-Croute

We’ve fallen back in love with trad French this year and this bijou bistro is largely responsible. Tiny, with an ever-changing menu and staff who are more French than Camembert, it’s the type of restaurant everyone wants as their local.

Casse-Croute, 109 Bermondsey St, London, SE1 3XB; 020 7407 2140; cassecroute.co.uk

Hoi Polloi at the Ace Hotel

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The chaps behind Bistrotheque and Shrimpy’s, David Waddington and Pablo Flack, have played a blinder with this ‘modernist brasserie’. It’s not just that it is housed in a room so chic it would make Coco Chanel seem dowdy, it also serves delicate European food from morning until night. Try the date pudding – you may fall in love.

Hoi Polloi, 100 Shoreditch High St, London, E1 6JQ; 020 8880 6100; hoi-polloi.co.uk

Brasserie Chavot

Dinner at Eric Chavot’s latest eatery is like having a big, garlicky bear hug. The food is frill-less, expertly-executed and Gallic to its core. Order the choucroute garnie and you'll soon understand why Michelin gave it a star within months of opening.

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Brasserie Chavot, 41 Conduit St, London, W1S 2YF; 020 7183 6425; brasseriechavot.com

Koya Bar

The sister restaurant of John Devitt’s Soho udon noodle den, Koya, this titchy (25-cover) bar is the perfect place to have an umami-laden lunch in central London, and well worth braving the queue for a table.

Koya Bar, 50 Frith Street, London, W1D 4SQ; 020 7434 4463; koyabar.co.uk

Cafe Murano

Oh Café Murano, let me count the ways we love you: that marble-trimmed room, your Italian-led wine list, and, oh, that risotto Milanese with osso buco. Does chef Angela Hartnett ever put a foot wrong?

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Cafe Murano, 33 St James's St, St James's, London, SW1A 1HD; 020 3371 5559; cafemurano.co.uk

Rita’s Dining

Clever Jackson Boxer has resurrected Rita’s, his East London, fried chicken restaurant. Now in branché Hackney Central, it’s gone a little upmarket, and the Iberico pork chop with cornbread is so good it deserves its own poem.

Rita’s, 175 Mare St, London, E8 3RH; 020 3096 1530; ritasbaranddining.com

Grain Store

Brunot Loubet, the big French chef who likes dainty little dishes, lets the veg take centre stage at this restaurant in a former grain store in Kings Cross. Never before has so much been done so successfully with a heritage carrot.

Grainstore, Granary Square, 1-3 Stable St, Kings Cross, London, N1C 4AB; 020 7324 4466; grainstore.com

Gymkhana

An education in Indian food in W1, taste Keram Sethi’s strident butter pepper garlic crab and duck dosas and you’ll never want to eat a curry anywhere else.

Gymkhana, 42 Albemarle St, London, W1S 4JH; 020 3011 5900; gymkhanalondon.com

Bars

The Shenkman Bar at The Keeper’s House

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Tim Mitchell

Oliver Peyton has done the seemingly impossible: he’s made a bar in an art gallery sexy. The Shenkman, with its soft lights and bar as red as a robin’s breast, is smokin' hot. It also has the distinction of being the only place I know where, when you order a Bloody Mary, they puree the tomatoes for it as you wait.

The Shenkman Bar, Keeper’s House, Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD; 020 7300 5881; keepershouse.org.uk/food-drink/bar/

Basement at the London Edition

Alcoholic smoothies of Herculean strength, music programmed by Seb Chew and Aimee Phillips and lighting that looks like it has been appropriated from a landing strip – all make what is without doubt London’s hottest club.

Basement at the London Edition, 10 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NP; 020 7781 0000; edition-hotels.marriott.com/london

Clove Club Bar

The Young Turks have grown up and got themselves a proper home in the old Shoreditch Town Hall. If you have time, check out the five-course set menu in the dining room or else head to the bar for snacks and a glass of Chablis or three.

Clove Club Bar, Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London, EC1V 9LT; 020 7729 6496; thecloveclub.com

Sager and Wilde

It may have a name that sounds a bit like a mid-80s cop duo, but this place is very much at the bleeding edge when it comes to wine. It has a compendious list, some names are familiar others a surprise, and serves a vast number of them by the glass, too.

Sager and Wilde, 193 Hackney Rd, London, E2 8JL; 020 8127 7330; sagerandwilde.com

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