I like my restaurants like I like my carparks. No, not made of poured concrete and smelling like somebody died in the stairwell: but multi-storey. There seem to be a number opening right now that it has to be something of a trend, venues with several restaurants within themselves (normally a cheap and spenny version). Either way, I set out to record their rise for posterity in the only way I know how. In a listicle…
One multi-storey that seems to have been round more times than the one-way-system at your local NCP is Smiths of Smithfield. Famously set across multiple levels, they’ve perfected the offering and after their latest re-boot I think Smiths of Smithfield really have smashed it. The ground floor plays host to a grungey cafe and bar, full of city workers knocking back pints in the evening and salads during the day. Head to the first floor for Death + Victory, fully of city workers sipping cocktails, on the second floor it’s city workers eating meat at The Grill. Or skip the rest and head up to the third floor for one of the city’s latest terraces and arguably one of the best restaurants. N0.3 Restaurant & Terrace doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, perhaps its stablemates confuse the offering, perhaps being part of Young’s Pubs puts people off (it shouldn’t at all), but the food is excellent. Try the beef Wellington, it’s brill.
In case you missed it, Hide was one of those ‘openings of the year’ of 2018, return of the prodigal Ollie Dabbous, this time in conjunction with Hedonism Wines. Multi-storeyed over three levels, Below is a basement bar, with an exhaustive list of wines and spirits thanks to Hedonism Wines who also supplied the venue and, we’re guessing, the cash. Which paid off, as Dabbous starts to wave his magic wand in Ground, with a simple, locally sourced menu across breakfast and lunch, capturing the the all-important afternoon tea market in the afternoons, before dinner. Which would be even better if you headed upstairs to Above, where Dabbous genuis is let roam free for beautifully prepared set lunches or his evening tasting menus with matching wine flights.
Writers seem to run out of superlatives to deploy when they’re describing Sketch. Which is fair enough, it’s bloody weird. Albeit in a good way. From the loos set in eggs (an Insta fave, of course) to the quirky art and installations throughout. But save your words ending in -est for the food. The Glade, a sort of mythical forest themed restaurant is great for a breakfast or lunch or evening cocktail, or maybe make it The Parlour for all the above. For real grub it’s the Lecture Room, a festival of pinks, or upstairs to the Gallery, a two-Michelin star restaurant that seriously punches. Yes, yes, the design is out of this world, but grab your knives and forks coz the food is too.
Jaks Mayfair is a self proclaimed ‘quirky venue’ that exists as a charming townhouse baring an eclectic style. Housed inside, you’ll find a lower ground cocktail bar, ground floor café & kitchen, first floor restaurant and bar, and second floor lounges, providing cosy and elegant spaces for all, and definitely making Jaks a worthy contender for our favourite multi-storey restos. Wander into one of the lounges and find tea and Champagne as your guide.
Or, if you’re more in the mood for finer dining then fresh home cooked food inspired by the Mediterranean, European, and British cuisines will tease the tastebuds. Before or after dinner, or possibly both, head to where the cocktails are shaken up and enjoy live music and a whole load of partying. Plus, the space is available for private hire events with a capacity up to 150 guests, so tail feather shaking is a must.
Stroll past Mayfair’s Novikov and it’s hard not to be struck by the very eclectic nature of the Novikov clientelle. While this clearly isn’t a restaurant for the demure, it’s perhaps one for the split personality because it’s at once Asian and Italian, a combo with seemingly little crossover. What crossover there is, seems to be hinted at in the addition of a Private Jet Menu, a menu specially designed to provide takeaways for private jets (yes, I checked it out, really a thing). So there we have it, Italian and Asian food venns at people who want you to know they have a private jet (I have a Saab, if this counts, but sadly the car and not the jet).
Admittedly not on separate levels, thus making a mockery of the whole multi-storey premise for this article, but we’ll press on with these two restaurants that side side-by-side multiple storeys high above Regent Street. Like Novikov one’s European (Spanish) in the form of Aqua Nueva, and the other Asian, the Japanese Aqua Kyoto. Which is where the comparison fizzles out. Aqua succeeds in being both unerringly cool (a trick they’ve pulled off for nearly a decade) while cooking up consistently top rate food. Thumbs up, or in this horizontal context, sideways.
Someone must’ve said at some point, ‘if only there was a department store for restaurants’. Either way, that’s what The Ned heard because off they went and opened a restaurant. And another one. And another one. They got it down to an art: another, another, ANOTHER until there were eight, all lined up one after the other like London busses in their depot. Currently there are eight of them, including the likes of Cecconis. And in case you’re thinking ‘ah, but it’s not multi-storey either, this article is a scam, fear not: there’s two further restaurants one upstairs and one down, just to cater for Soho House’s growing global army of members.