For many, January is a time to hunker down, stay indoors and forego many of life’s pleasures. A considerably better new year’s resolution for 2023, however, would be to venture outside and book yourself a table at one of the world’s hottest new restaurants. This month sees the very welcome return of Chef’s Table star Asma Khan’s beloved Darjeeling Express, plus the fourth Italian opening from the ever-eccentric Big Mamma Group in London (see Gloria and its vine-adorned ceiling for an idea of the extravagance to come).
Across the pond, escape the chill and experience a taste of coastal Italy at New York’s Casino – chips not included. And in South Africa, you’ll find a very special five-month pop-up from chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen (who heads up Michelin-starred JAN in Nice, France) in a stunning historic cottage on La Motte wine estate. Keep reading below for more exciting new restaurants to book a table at this month.
New restaurants to visit around the world in January 2023
Inspired by and named after Israeli chef Assaf Granit’s grandmother – a holocaust survivor who lived in Jerusalem – Berta has opened in the boutique Precise Tale Berlin hotel in Potsdamer Platz. A blend of traditional family recipes with a modern twist, Granit said he looked to the varied aromas and tastes from the streets of Jerusalem where he grew up to inspire the menu. Find cauliflower schnitzel, barbecue and raw tahini, and ‘Not a Spaetzle’ – smoked sea bass with herbs, spaetzle and chraime sauce. With restaurants already in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, London and Paris – including the Michelin-starred Shabour – this is Granit’s first highly-anticipated opening in Germany.
New York City, USA
Hit the jackpot at artsy restaurant Casino, the first from Aisa Shelley, who owns buzzy bars Mr Fong’s and Primo’s. There may not be any slot machines, poker tables or roulette wheels around, but you will find a coastal Italian vibe, trendy café and bar with curvy walls and bold checkerboard flooring, a 70-cover dining room with red booths and white tablecloths, plus a 30-seat cocktail lounge for private events. Seafood is the star of the casually extravagant menu, with wood-fired prawns and a whole turbot to pair with a wine list featuring bottles from around the Mediterranean.
Asma Khan’s celebrated restaurant Darjeeling Express is making a spiritual return to Kingly Court, where it first opened in 2017. After outgrowing the original 55-cover space, Khan opened up in Covent Garden in late 2020 – only to close again in summer 2022, as the restaurant didn’t have an open kitchen to showcase her incredibly talented team of women. The third incarnation will be in a larger spot in Kingly Court, serving a hearty mix of Bengali, Hyderabadi and Kolkatan food, including the famed celebratory Bengali goat curry, plus a new Sunday breakfast and brunch menu.
New York City, USA
Five Acres is the first Manhattan restaurant from chef Greg Baxtrom, who’s behind Brooklyn favourites Olmsted, French-Japanese fusion Maison Yaki and neighbourhood spot Patti Ann’s. The botanical oasis hidden away on the rink level at the Rockefeller Center offers a seasonal and vegetable-forward menu with plenty of crowd pleasers. Start with the Cheddar pumpkin soup with pickled black trumpet mushrooms, confit chestnuts and house Cheez-Its, before the Maine lobster trio entrée, and of course, make sure to leave room for the fun DIY s’mores dessert.
Opulence, decadence and a whole lot of fun can be had at any of Big Mamma Group’s lavish restaurants. In January, the maximalist mini chain launches its fourth spot in a former bank on Kensington High Street. Over-the-top dishes will be on the menu, including pasta served in a four kilogram wheel of Pecorino, stuffed pasta generously covered in fresh black truffle, truffle cream and Parmigiano Reggiano foam, and fondue made with half a kilogram of Valrhona chocolate. With dramatic decor to match the food, Jacuzzi promises a Sicilian-style mezzanine terrace with a retractable roof, giant lemon tree and disco toilets, with space for 170 diners over four floors.
Franschhoek, South Africa
South African culinary hero Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen has brought his dining experience JAN (usually found in Nice) to La Motte wine estate in Franschhoek. Until the end of May, 16 diners a night can visit the stunning Veepos building, a historic cottage set in the middle of picturesque lavender fields, and enjoy a menu that is half a la carte, half tasting menu. The food is inspired by regional cuisine, with locally-sourced ingredients, all paired with wine from the estate. Although the entire pop-up sold out in hours, you can still add your name to the waiting list.
From the banks of Bristol’s historic Wapping Wharf harbour to England’s smallest city of Wells, famous for its grand architecture (and as the filming location for Hot Fuzz), Root is the second restaurant from Josh Eggleton and Luke Hasell’s brand, which will be looked after by head chef Rob Howell and restaurant manager Meg Howell. A vegetable-led small plates restaurant championing local suppliers and producers, expect exciting flavour combinations and some tough decisions to make. Or, go with a few friends and order one of everything from an enticing menu that includes hispi cabbage, Caesar dressing and Old Winchester cheese, and the delicate and fresh cured Cornish trout, lemon, crème fraîche, dill and pickled fennel.