Food, Mixology Blend at New London Spots
London is already well-established at the epicenter for European, business culture and wealth, so there’s a seemingly endless stream of new dining and mixology destinations opening across town week to week.
On my most recent journey to the British capital, I managed to catch two of the newest and hottest now doing business.
Serving as the primary dining destination at the newly renovated Marylebone Hotel a stone’s throw from Bond Street Station, the 108 Brasserie at the Marylebone Hotel offers a spot-on blend of a semi-formal dining room with a casual adjoining bar (above). The food side serves up sophisticated takes on British favorites, including mixed grills, roasts and a little fish and chip action (below).
The dress code is dress casual, inviting the working Londoner in off the street. The cuisine is prepared with precision, leaning more toward the comfort food end of the spectrum than the pretentious micro-plate experience other upscale spots choose. The 108 also operates under a farm to table philosophy, sourcing the closest possible UK ingredients whenever possible. The service is white apron/black bowtie, relying on the finest tradition of London formality without turning their collective nose up at any request.
After an outstanding and relaxing evening sampling the chef’s work, I restored to the bar for a shot at its signature, in-house mixology recipes. There’s a full selection of beer, ales and wine (alongside all of the traditional cocktail and highball classics), but take a look at The 108 Edition or The Italian Job, Admittedly, neither will rank as the butch’est drink you’ve ever downed, but get over it. They’re delicious.
Moving away from Bond Street and into the elite neighborhood of King’s Road, Chelsea, an unlikely Japanese pub – Kurobuta – is doing killer business. Inside its dark, intimate and often crowded confines (…Business real estate in Chelsea is expensive, and you have to make maximum use of space…), the concept is small, shared, ala carte plates. Think Spanish tapas style dining, but with pub food blended with Asian flare.
I was fortunate enough to have more or less the entire menu tossed at my table during my review, and I can report every dish satisfied. From that collection, I’d most recommend the BBQ Pork Belly in Steamed Buns with Spicy Peanut Soy and the BBQ Kurobuta Pork Ribs with Honey-Soy-Ginger Glaze.
For the non-meat eaters of London, Kurobuta offers an extensive vegetarian menu. But, I don’t bother with that, so let’s move on to the booze. The restaurant offers a complete selection of classic and in-house cocktails, but I recommend you sit in for a tasting of the small, exclusive collection of imported Japanese rums waiting behind the bar.