Summer kicks off with a cluster of openings of small, inventive offerings.
We're only half way through the year, yet London has seen four openings by key chefs. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Fergus Henderson's St John Hotel, Jason Atherton's Pollen Street Social and Marcus Wareing's The Gilbert Scott.
And still there's more on the way in June - particularly a handful of smaller, innovative locations.
José Pizarro - ex-chef partner of Tapas Brindisa at Borough Market - opens tiny sherry (19 by the glass or bottle) and tapas bar, José, on June 1. He joins the immensely popular modern Italian, Zucca - also on Bermondsey Street - as well as Magdalen, Constancia Argentine Grill and others in an area developing fast. Pizarro is already working on another eponymous restaurant somewhere in SE1: expect news later in the year.
da Polpo, the fourth chapter of Russell Norman's bacaro/speakeasy empire, opens in Covent Garden's Maiden Lane early June, building on the Italo-American theme à la Spuntino alongside Venetian-inspired small plates. Expect meatballs and pizzette, Norman's trademark distressed decor/Brooklyn hip interiors, well-tattooed staff and an Aperol bar downstairs.
The appearance of various grills, like the Josper employed to great effect at Opera Tavern, Les Deux Salons and Dinner, show that flamed meat has moved beyond the cliché of Leicester square steak houses. Red Dog Saloon is set for a June launch in Hoxton Square, with a Deep South inspired menu: hickory and mesquite smokers and monster grills, alongside regional US specialties like Philly cheesesteak, Boston butt and St Louis cut ribs.
Simon Rogan - of two Michelin starred L'enclume in Cumbria - will be brining his signature modernist British cooking to 19 Blandford Street, Marylebone, for a two-year "extended pop-up", Roganic.
Further down the calendar, top steaks, burgers and cocktails outfit Hawksmoor will open a third site in the City this October, near the Spitalfields original and following the success of its 2010 Seven Dials gaff.
Meat enthusiasts continue to be spoilt with CUT at 45 Park Lane, opening September for American uberchef Wolfgang Puck's first foray into London's steak scene. Prime dry and wet aged beef will dominate at the Dorchester Collection hotel. Over east, Mark Hix is mooted to return to Hoxton (he owned the Rivington Grill before it was sold to Caprice Holdings) - apparently turning a tram shed into a shed-sized eatery. No date as yet.
Whether it's small plates or big grills you're after, summer's early debutants prove London's restaurant scene continues to simmer.