Taste of things to come Hot, happening and opening soon

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The Independent Culture
One of the UK's finest restaurants, three-Michelin-starred Chez Nico at Ninety Park Lane (0171 409 1290), is attempting to banish the winter blues by offering set-price lunch menus and a 30 per cent discount off all wines until the end of March. One menu offers three courses for pounds 25, and includes such dishes as pithiviers of pheasant with smoked bacon and mushrooms, while another costs pounds 40 for three courses and includes such house specialities as warm ballottine of quail with salad and crisp potato.

Italian international and Chelsea football player Roberto di Matteo has clearly decided it's not enough to dazzle his host town with fancy footwork - he's now trying to its good folk a thing or two about food. Di Matteo has become the latest sporting star to turn his attentions to the restaurant scene and - along with a partner - has opened Friends (0171 376 3890) on Chelsea's Hollywood Road. The menu features pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven and freshly made pasta.

After a six-week closure to allow for pounds 200,000-worth of new kitchen to be installed, Zafferano (0171 235 5800, pictured above) will reopen in Belgravia in early February. Customers will see no changes in the interior, but chef Giorgio Locatelli hopes they will appreciate the more complex dishes and elaborate deserts on his menu.

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