1 | For Chic Nordic Dining: Aster
Embrace the Nordic temperatures set to sweep the city by exploring that new Victoria development everybody's talking about, Nova; straight out of the tube station, you'll find Aster, a Nordic-French brasserie that offers a sleek retreat from the outside with its gleaming Russell Sage-designed interiors. Finnish-born executive head chef Helena Puolakka is classically trained, and has worked in not one but two treble-Michelin-starred establishments. Her menu nods to all of this in one go, as beautifully exemplified in her signature starter: pan-fried foie gras with dainty dots of smoked eel and apple, topped with potato lace (precisely what it sounds like). Mains are hearty in flavour but elegantly served, with curious combinations confidently executed. The beetroot and chocolate dessert is the talk of the town, but it's the pine ice cream served with salted caramel that so simply sums up this chic but comforting place.
150 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5LB; aster-restaurant.com
2 | For Award-Winning Scotch Eggs: The Drapers Arms
As awards season gets into full swing, arguably the most important of them all – the Scotch Egg Challenge – has this week taken place. All sorts of variations were put to the judges, including beef, black pudding and mushroom, ham hock and pease pudding, a gluten-free and veggie shiitake and peanut one, and good, simple venison. But the winner was The Drapers Arms in Islington, with a haggis and panko breadcrumb egg. You can now taste this award-winning specimen at the imposing North London gastropub, which is a firm favourite with its locals.
44 Barnsbury Street, London, N1 1ER; thedrapersarms.com
3 | For Cocktails With Flair: The Beaufort Bar
The Savoy's Beaufort Bar has spent more than a year coming up with its new cocktail menu which, in true Savoy style, is a work of art on the page before you even get to the drinks. Based on the tales of the hotel's past, each drink has a corresponding work of art within a bespoke storybook and many get served at your table with a dose of theatre. Just have a go at Under The Stars (a nod to the time Fred Astaire danced on the roof with his sister Adele), which is a take on an Old Fashioned containing Woodford Reserve bourbon and rye, champagne syrup, chestnut, a sherry blend and bitters. There's an Impressionist ode to Monet featuring Grey Goose vodka and Ruinart rosé champagne, a celebration of Thirties aviator Amy Johnson with Hendricks gin, coconut, lemon and ginger, and nods to Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock and Duran Duran among others. Award-winning head bartender Kyle Wilkinson has gone at his first Savoy project with all guns blazing so make the most of it for a treat come date night.
The Savoy, Strand, London, WC2R 0EU; fairmont.com/savoy-london
4 | For Matcha Treats: Kova Patisserie
If you're still feigning something to do with health in January's wake, then fool yourself with a matcha mille crêpe cake from Japanese patisserie, Kova, in Soho. Though rather an astounding shade of green, this multi-layered confection is light as a feather and makes a gleeful change from the usual teatime biscuits. It comprises 15 layers of thin pancakes separated by custard cream. They are hand-made every day and if you're really fan, you can upgrade from dropping in for a single slice to pre-ordering one giant cake. We're not here to judge.
Unit 5, St. Anne's Court, London, W1F 0BB; kovapatisserie.com
5 | For Oodles of Noodles: Bone Daddies, St James Street
The Bone Daddies ramen bars are doing a roaring trade these days, with one brand new outpost in Marylebone as of this week and plans for another in Victoria's Nova (see above). This dynamic restaurant will fit in well with the bustling Oxford Street crowds, with two floors of activity, an open kitchen and a cocktail list by the incomparable Talented Mr Fox (he is a real person, promise). In addition to the big bowls of goodness we've grown to know and love, this branch has a special Kushiyaki skewer menu, the ingredients marinated and then slow-cooked over a Robata grill. Choose from chicken, salmon, prawns, ox cheek and shiitake. Wholly inexpensive and lots of fun, this is a great one to have up your sleeve for a weekday lunch or quick weeknight bite.
46-48 James Street, London, W1U 1HA; bonedaddies.com