London chefs on the restaurants they can’t wait to visit in 2022

If there’s any group of experts with their fingers firmly on the pulse of the re-emerging restaurant scene, it’s chefs

Words by Louella Berryman

Rising star chefs Santiago Lastra, Chantelle Nicholson and Nokx Majozi

Restaurant seekers are starting to cast their nets further afield, diving headfirst into destination dining for the first time in the best part of two years. But the global restaurant scene has shifted dramatically, with many old favourites closing, and plenty of new openings yet to be explored, many having had to shut their doors promptly after their first service back in 2020. So what’s the lay of the land for food lovers now?

We asked seven London chefs at the helm of some of the most exciting culinary projects to tell us about the restaurants they’re most looking forward to visiting in 2022. After all, who knows the food scene better than those right in the middle of the on-the-pass action?

Their recommendations cover gastronomy hotspots like London and Tokyo and range from thali in Calcutta to French-Asian fine dining in South Africa. Some are getting excited for brand-new restaurants while others can’t wait to return to their favourite tables after a prolonged pause on international travel. Read on for their recommendations.

Seven London chefs on their 2022 restaurant wish lists

Chantelle Nicholson

Chef-owner, Apricity (opening spring 2022)

chantelle nicholson

‘I am super-excited about Lisboeta, Anglo Thai, Sichuan Fry and the new Bubala opening up in London. I’ve still not been to Rita’s, so that is top of my list to visit in 2022 – the food looks incredibly delicious, and the wine list is very enticing, too.

‘On the other side of the world, I’d like to go back to Homeland in New Zealand, which is Peter Gordon’s restaurant that opened a couple of years ago but closed due to Covid, so hasn’t really been running that long. I love Peter’s food and his amazing talent to mix ingredients and flavours together, plus he’s a lovely person.

‘I particularly like the ethos that these restaurants have in relation to their teams, menus, suppliers, wine lists and overall passion for hospitality.’

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Santiago Lastra

Chef and co-owner, Kol

santiago lastra

‘I really want to go to Manteca and check out their new location, and I’m also dying to go to Clove Club and A Wong, as I haven’t had the chance to visit yet. On my wish list outside of London are Osip in Somerset and Hjem in Northumberland – both happen to be run by good friends, and both look stunning.

‘On an international level, I can’t wait to be back at Copenhagen’s Noma and Mugaritz in Northern Spain. I used to go almost every year but because of the pandemic, I haven’t visited in ages. Plus, San Sebastian and Copenhagen are two of my favourite cities to travel to and eat in. A couple of new places that I would love to visit are Jatak and Koan, both in Copenhagen – they look insane.

‘I’m mostly excited to visit restaurants that work with local ingredients and bring them to a new dimension, using different inspirations from cultures around the world.’

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Asma Khan

Chef-owner, Darjeeling Express

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‘I can’t wait to go to Chourangi – a new restaurant in London that serves food from Calcutta in India, where I’m from. Another London restaurant on my list is Korean Dinner Party, designed by my brilliant restaurant designer and architect Alessio Nardi. I’ve heard great comments on the food, and I love the look of the restaurant. I’m also happy to see Mowgli Street Food has opened in London, so that’s on my go-to list, too.

‘Further afield, I’d love to revisit Kulm Country Club in St. Mauritz. The food there is lovely, and we used to have the best flammkuchen as part of our staff meal when I collaborated there with the head chef Daniel Müller. I’m also keen to go back to Soneva in the Maldives – the opportunity to have such fresh seafood was amazing and I’m really delighted that I’ll get to return there in November.

‘Back in Calcutta, Sonargaon is a must-eat spot. Last time I ate there I had the most spectacular Bengali thali. Chinoiserie, also in Calcutta, is on my list, too. I had the best edamame truffle dumplings there, so much so I regret not ordering a second plate.’

Masaki Sugisaki

Executive chef, Dinings SW3

masaki sugisaki

‘My go-to restaurant this year will be Roketsu in London. It’s run by Chef Hayashi who was trained at legendary Kaiseki restaurant Kikunoi in Kyoto and who has been one of the faces to bring traditional Kaiseki cuisine to the UK. I hope this will be a great addition to London’s Japanese restaurant scene.

‘I haven’t been able to go back to Japan in a long time due to the pandemic, so there are lots of places I want to visit there. One place in particular is Pesceco in Nagasaki. They only work with seasonal, local ingredients and champion local culture outside of large cities.

‘It has been a challenging time for restaurants, so the places I’m most excited to go to are not only just surviving, but thriving under the extreme conditions of the pandemic.’

John Javier

Executive chef, 17 Little Portland Street (opening in 2022)

john javier

‘One of my best friends, Daniel Calvert, has opened a restaurant called Sezanne with The Four Seasons in Tokyo. He’s one of the best cooks I know. When he was running Belon in Hong Kong, I’d eat there every Sunday. This is hands down the one place in the world where I want to eat the most.

‘In Australia, ELE is a new opening on my list. Federico Zanellato and Karl Firla are opening the restaurant on the old Momofuku Seiobo site in Sydney. Lumi (one of Federico’s other restaurants) was my favourite restaurant in Sydney, and I’m sure this new project with Karl will deliver on every level.

‘Over in Melbourne, Ross Magnaye is opening Serai in the next couple months. He’s doing something really special in modernising Filipino cuisine and it’s great seeing someone finally put it on a pedestal.’

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Nokx Majozi

Sous chef, Rosewood and head pie maker, Holborn Dining Rooms

nokx majozi

‘As a native South African I always like to see how the culinary landscape there is developing. Some of the places I’m most excited to visit in my home country are Loubar in Cape Winelands-surrounded Stellenbosch, Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia and La Parada Tapas Bar in Durban. Cargo Hold is another South African great on my list – the underwater restaurant is so unique, with great ambience and atmosphere.

‘Two other exciting places are French-Asian restaurant La Colombe in Cape Town – which has just been nominated as one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants – as well as The Waterside, which has just welcomed a new head chef.’

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Adam Byatt

Chef-owner, Trinity

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‘In the UK specifically, I am looking forward to visiting Sessions Arts Club in Clerkenwell, and to The Ledbury reopening after being closed since March 2020. I’ll also be visiting Gordon Ramsay’s Royal Hospital Road restaurant for the first time in fifteen years, and The Kitchin in Edinburgh for the first time ever.

‘Now that restrictions have lifted, I’m also hoping to visit Frantzen in Sweden, Frederic Anton in Paris and my favourite trattoria, Hosteria del Vicolo, by the harbour in Sicily for the most amazing red prawns.  

‘I’m really looking forward to getting back out and travelling again, and I’m particularly excited to see how people have adapted and changed after lockdowns, and how this has positively affected their restaurants – I know it has mine.’