Restaurant Aquavit  has come to London showcasing modern Nordic cuisine

LONDON: Starting out as a pop-up taco shack, street food success story Breddos now has its first restaurant in London’s Clerkenwell, using British produce in its colourful Mexican -American dishes, which are inspired by the roadside taquerías and eateries the owners encountered on their travels. El Pastór, named after the Mexico City favourite, a shawarma-style ‘el pastor’ meat taco has opened in Borough Market. And, in Soho, flavours at new Corazón Taqueria include rich barbacoa 12-hour slow roast lamb with tangy tomatillo salsa, plus ‘huevos benedict’ tacos at the weekend.

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It’s not just London, though. Taco fever has spread to Newcastle Quayside in north-east England, where Barrio Comida – once a pop-up Mexican food event – opened its first restaurant. You’ll find tacos ranging from charcoal grilled prawns to black beans and avocado, alongside other dishes such as ceviche tostada.

 Permanent Pop-ups. Breddos and Barrio Comida join a host of pop-up eateries so in demand that they’ve opened permanent sites – and the trend is continuing into 2017.

From its beginnings in a little 20-seater shipping container in London’s Brixton, fans of Kricket – with its Mumbai-inspired food, décor and music – are rejoicing at its January opening in Soho. Combining local British ingredients with spices, flavours and aromas of India, Kricket’s food and punchy cocktails, including the Espresso Chaitini, get very good reviews.

Bleecker St Burger is opening its first permanent home in London’s Victoria, serving its classic American burgers alongside milkshakes and beer. In Manchester, acclaimed street food trader Bangers and Bacon is bringing its passion for all things meaty to its first (and aptly-named) restaurant, BEASTro. In Scotland, A’Challtainn Bar & Kitchen at BAaD (Barras Art & Design Centre) is a brand new, multi-purpose venue concept dedicated to Glasgow’s booming food scene from the creators of successful Glasgow pop-ups.

Perilla launched its first permanent site in north London, serving high-end dishes in a casual atmosphere, at an accessible price. The menu focuses on modern interpretations of European flavours with a twist, including dishes such as cuttlefish Bolognese. Chef Ben Marks previously cooked at the likes of Claridges and Noma, while front-of-house, Matt Emmerson brings relaxed service style to the table.

 Nordic flavours. Renowned New York restaurant Aquavit  has come to London with its Executive Chef Emma Bengtsson (the second female chef in the US to win two Michelin stars), showcasing her modern Nordic cuisine.

If fine dining isn’t your thing, Danish bakers Ole Kristoffersen and Steen Skallebaek have brought one of Copenhagen’s best bakeries, Ole & Steen , to London, located in St James’s Market and featuring an all-day menu. Meanwhile, in Covent Garden, Nordic Bakery opened its fourth site, serving up Scandinavian favourites such as dark rye bread and traditional twisted cinnamon buns from Finland. Aster will be opening in Victoria’s new Nova complex with a café and deli on the ground floor and an upstairs restaurant and bar. Executive Chef Helena Puolakka’s menus will blend classic French techniques with the Nordic cuisine of her Finnish heritage.

Dry January. After the excesses of the festive season some of us need a break from alcohol, and luckily there is a fresh new solution to ‘what to drink if you’re not drinking’ dilemma. Hotels Lancaster London and The Arch London have joined the likes of restaurants Sexy Fish, Chiltern Firehouse, Hand & Flowers and The Fat Duck by featuring the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit, SEEDLIP, on their drink menus. This sugar and sweetener-free alternative to alcohol comes in different blends and uses distilled fresh herbs. The best bit? Zero calories!

And finally… Dinner in the Sky, which hosts dinners suspended from 30 metres in the air, is now taking bookings for 2017 in Glasgow, London, Bristol, Newcastle and Southampton.

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