London has the richest, most diverse and fun eating-out scene in Europe, if not the world. Whether you’re 40 floors up, enjoying perfectly formed tasting dishes while ogling at the endless views, or you’re munching down street food in a South London market, there is no end of incredible food, a constellation of Michelin stars and a lifetime to enjoy them. So what are you waiting for, here’s our take on the best restaurants in London.
To describe The Wolseley as a former car showroom doesn’t nearly do the rarified environs of this Piccadilly restaurant justice, Mick’s Motors it ain’t.
Named after the Wolseley cars that used to grace the restaurant’s marble floors, The Wolseley is the perfect spot for the most exquisite fry-up breakfast you’ll ever taste, a healthy lunch or a hearty dinner.
The modern European menu is expertly curated and carefully turned out by Head Chef Aussie mastermind David Stevens.
Martha Ortiz has taken London by storm with her new restaurant on Park Lane, and quite rightly too!
Her Mexican cuisine is second-to-none, drawing on her experience with her Mexico City restaurant Dulce Patria, consistently ranked as one of the very best in Latin America, Ortiz hits all the right notes with her Mayfair opening.
The signature dish is guacamole with a golden grasshopper garnish, proving that there’s far more to Mexican food than chilli con carne!
If the name didn’t give it away, City-based Angler is a Michelin starred fish restaurant, and one you’d be cray-zy to miss.
The setting is spectacular, with the light and the shimmering mirrored walls giving the impression that you’re lurking a couple feet below the surface of a highland river. In reality we’re several storeys high, ‘perched’ above the South Place Hotel.
Executive Chef Gary Foulkes’ fishy menu is even more delectable than the stunning setting and we’re sure you’ll be as hooked as we are.
Theo Randall made a name for himself at the River Café, working as Head Chef for 17 years and helping win the restaurant win its Michelin star before jumping ship and setting up on his own. The result was Theo Randall at The Intercontinental and it’s been a 10 year success story since he founded it.
The decor is light and a mixture of wood and muted colours, and you simply forget that there are actually no windows! The food, as at River Cafe, is Italian and Randall really delivers an exceptional meal at this Park Lane restaurant.
InterContinental, 1 Hamilton Place, Mayfair, London W1J 7QY 020 7318 8747
“Jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today” pronounced the White Queen to Alice. A visit to Sketch is like tumbling down the rabbit hole with Lewis Carrol’s most famous creation, except that it’s always “Jam today”! From the whacky to the downright unnerving, the world of Sketch is mad and wonderful and a wonder to behold. Set on Conduit Street among the super strait-laced townhouses of Mayfair you are met with a feast of colour, creation, art and invention with each part of the labyrinthine venue offering new sensory overloads.
Thankfully Executive Chef Pierre Gagnaire doesn’t overload the senses but instead treats and stimulates them with a truly varied and experimental menu that always delights. With two Michelin stars they must know what they’re doing.
Two Michelin stars don’t simply fall into your lap, and Marcus Wareing has evidently put multiple fat-traps full of elbow grease into ensuring his restaurant remains at the pinnacle of London’s Michelin mountain.
With an exquisite British-influenced modern-European menu, and light and airy surroundings we promise you’ll love this most elegant of restaurants.
Twentieth century intellectuals famously circled round the squares of Bloomsbury and chief amongst them was Virginia Woolf. So its only fitting that the Bloomsbury Hotel would name their restaurant after one of Woolf’s most memorable characters. We think high-society Mrs Dalloway would approve as much as we do. The selection of dishes is varied and tasty, ranging from fish’n’chips and the Bloomsbury Burger to pan-fried sea bass and super food salads.
The setting, a terrace with a retractable roof, is flooded with natural light and blends being outside and in with plants and creepers. Definitely worth writing home about, or maybe inspiration for another novel?
Corrigan’s successfully combines being an unrelentingly grand establishment with a celebration of chef Richard Corrigan’s humble roots in rural Ireland.
The food is British and Irish classic dishes with a real emphasis on seasonal produce. The surroundings are sumptuous and reflect the Mayfair location. The menu puts us firmly in the Irish countryside, though.
Despite having London quite literally at your feet, it’s difficult not to be transported to Northern China when eating at Hutong (hutongs are the name given to the narrow alleys that criss-cross Northern Chinese cities).
The Chinese cuisine is exquisite, inspired by the dishes served in the imperial palaces of ancient Peking. Or why take in the vista while sipping on a selection of cocktails inspired by ingredients used in traditional Chinese medicine?
Set at the very top of the so-called ‘walkie talkie’ building with it’s yawning great plate glass vista across London 37 Fenchurch was only ever going to impress. Thankfully this restaurant, one of three dining options in this incredible space, can fend for itself despite any competition from its surroundings. The modern British menu is put together by Head Chef Dan Fletcher and emphasises seasonal fresh food.
Arrive early and wander round the cavernous hanger in the sky before dinner, the views and the space are truly captivating. But so, too, will the food be.
Overseen by the transverse of the merry Michelin man stained glass window, this achingly elegant French restaurant well deserves its place on any list of leading London restaurants. The menu is full of playful flourishes that are as ingenious as they are delicious and daring.
With the recent arrival of Chef Claude Bosi as much light is now shining out of the kitchen as floods in through the huge windows. Bosi has earned two Michelin stars for his previous projects and this year was awarded the first star for Bibendum, which is fitting for the former home of Michelin tyres.
There’s nothing feral about Fera. Meaning wild in latin (its where we get ‘feral’ too) this stunning restaurant is all about getting back to nature.
With an overarching emphasis on using seasonal ingredients, foraged foods and embracing Mother Nature. Chef Simon Rogan’s experience atCumbria’s L’Enclume not only shines, but in Fera he’s filled a space famously left by Gordon Ramsay not only with style, but creating an instant classic in the process.
The Dining Room at The Goring is about as British as a red phone box drinking a pint of Spitfire at the Last Night of The Proms. Away from the pomp and circumstance, though, the menu is modern, the delivery is slick and the result is fantastic.
With a nod to the past but firmly looking forward Chef Shay Cooper ensures that this doyen of the restaurant scene is historic but never fusty. Which presumably explains the Michelin star, not to mention the two AA rosettes.
Madison sits atop One New Change, offering a taste of Manhattan while overlooking St Pauls. The sleek penthouse restaurant channels New York sophistication with a lineup of live DJs and a menu of US classics with an international twist to celebrate the Big Apple’s diversity.
Madison’s secret weapon is the roof terrace, with unparalleled views across London’s skyline.
Boisdale feels like an institution, the pillarbox red frontage and the tartan and green interior feel like they’ve been here forever. In fact the Scottish themed restaurants only landed in London in 1988, planting the saltaire firmly in the centre of Belgravia.
If you choose then there is all the hearty fare you’d expect, with a menu featuring more than it’s fair share of delectable offal in the form of haggis, black pudding and so on. However, the menu features plenty of opportunity for more delicate dishes such as the plenteous fish on offer.
The food is rich, the whiskey list is unparalleled and the surroundings are warm and friendly.
You might have wanted a table by the window, but what we have here is an entire restaurant by the window. Galvin at Windows certainly doesn’t disappoint on the view-front, and unlike competitors further East, where skyscrapers jostle for space, Galvin is on the 28th floor of the Park Lane Hilton in an area nearly devoid of tall buildings, so savour the uninterrupted viewz.
The food, on the other hand, stands nearly as tall as the Hilton with the French cuisine of Chef Patron Chris Galvin bumping up against the Korean heritage of Head Chef Joo Won to create an inspired menu taking in influences from both as well as wider afield.
It may now be dwarfed by some of its neighbours, but The Gherkin remains close to our heart as London’s loveliest tall building, at once quirky and graceful. At the pinnacle (the husk?) is Searcys At The Gherkin, a panoramic skytop feast for the eyes.
And for the body, Chef Barry Tonks makes sure that Searcys 39th floor restaurant is not lacking. His seasonal dishes provide ample distraction from the 360 degree views.
Given the film set venue, the fabulous food and the fact that it’s run by the same people who brought us Searcys at St Pancras Station, not to mention the Pump Room in Bath there must be a catch? There is. The restaurant is only open to paying members and tenants of the Gherkin. However, Searcys do operate a number of open days when civilians are permitted to enter. These can be found via their website.
It’s difficult to overstate the grandeur of The Royal Exchange. The nineteenth century Greco-Roman edifice has been the site of city trading since the sixteenth century. In recent years the trading floor has given way to retail and restaurants and it’s Sauterelle, serenely overlooking proceedings below, that we always make a beeline for.
The setting is impressive, on the mezzanine floor beneath a vaulted ceiling, but the food isn’t overshadowed. Chef Piero Leone has brought some of the magic from Quaglinos as well as his native Italy to bear in creating an incredible dining experience both on and off the plate.
If the name didn’t give it away, Sartoria is based on London’s most sartorial street, Savile Row. Which perhaps explains why the elegant surroundings, muted colours and are so cleanly cut and seamlessly executed.
Under Chef Patron Francesco Mazzei the attention to detail in the kitchen is no less exacting than it is in the cutting rooms and workshops up and down the street, with stunning Italian dishes fitting every occasion like a new pair of gloves.
It’s fitting that 1 Lombard Street should have been set up by a banker, the building is in the centre of The City, used to be a bank and serves more than it’s share of bank employees. But if that makes 1 Lombard Street sound square then think again.
The restaurant, dominated by Italian architect Pietro Agostini’s stunning glass dome, serves modern European food under the expert eye of Head Chef Juri Ravagli.
They don’t make dining rooms like this any more. The surroundings of The Gilbert Scott are epic and sumptuous, with ceilings taller than a most peoples’ houses it harks back to an earlier, grander, time.
Named after the eponymous architect of the wonderfully gothic Renaissance Hotel at St Pancras, in which its set, The Gilbert Scott also proves that surroundings can be deceptive; there’s nothing old fashioned about the menu.
As a Marcus Wareing restaurant diners can expect to be treated to seasonal British produce and cooking as impressive as the spectacular surroundings.
‘Quags’ has been a fashionable hangout since 1929, and at nearly a century old she’s still got it!
The St James’s subterranean restaurant exudes style and sophistication and as you descend down the sweeping staircase you arrive into a cavern of culture and excess.
The ‘updated’ art deco style are both a reminder of the restaurant’s history, but at once feel incredibly modern. Likewise the European menu nods back toward a golden era, there’s plenty of venison on offer, but with a thoroughly up-to-date take and execution.
Tower Bridge is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, we could sit and stare at it for hours. Which is good news, because Le Pont de la Tour (no translation required) lets us do just that given it’s right next door!
Sitting out on the terrace you can watch the ships come and go and the world pass by. Or you can tuck into some of the fabulous creations from the predominantly French menu.
Inside the decor is light, with walnut furniture and plenty of sunlight streaming through the windows.
Executive Chef Kim Woodward’s modern British cuisine is thoroughly contemporary and yet without being unapproachable. The food is delicious, whether you’re eating from the main restaurant or the more chilled-out grill. The two are separated by the bar with one of the best cocktail selections in London.
Not to be outdone, the surroundings of the Royal Festival Hall are impressive and hark back to Skylon’s namesake, the Skylon tower erected for Festival of Britain in the 1950s and the site of the Royal Festival Hall.
As the saying goes, ‘When in Rome… fly back to London and instead go to Palatino’.
This Roman restaurant is Chef Stevie Parle’s work and it shows. Specifically focusing on Rome means the menu isn’t simply a list of Italy’s greatest hits, but rather Parle seeks to draw out the essence of Roman cooking, partly inspired by the city’s Jewish heritage and partly the centuries old local traditions. The result is delicious and individual.
The aesthetic, meanwhile, celebrates a modern Rome, stylish and chic without being ‘fabulous fabulous’ in your face. Which is a perfect balance, for a near-perfect restaurant.
I’m all for popping to use the loos in the Asda cafe after a big shop, but I wouldn’t go there on a date; that’s not how shop restaurants work. But at Fenwicks, the Bond Street department store, things are a little different.
The Bond Street Kitchen is brought to us by now-defunct popup artists EventOracle, except this popup hasn’t popped down, probably because it’s so very good. Behind the wheel is Jamie Draper from Roux at The Landau so we know that the modern British menu won’t fail to disappoint.
Meanwhile the muted decor is elegant and decidedly fancy. Asda cafe it is not.
We hope you like meat, because you’re getting meat. At the oldest restaurant in Britain you’d expect nothing less than a brace of grouse and a dollop of mash, but Rules not only delivers on that, but does so with such skill and delicacy as to leave you wanting to come back every week end.
Founded in 1798 the history at Rules is nearly as rich as the menu, and while most restaurants only manage to last for one or two Head Chefs, David Stafford is the latest in a lineage going back centuries. And it’s a history that he doesn’t shy away from in delivering a classic game cookery, oysters, pies and puddings.
It’s a word synonymous with quality and luxury, even the mention of The Ritz sets the hairs on the back of our necks a-tingle. Which is the same feeling when walking into the restaurant at the most famous hotel in the world with it’s sky high ceilings held up by marble columns and dripping with chandeliers.
The grandeur may be jaw dropping, but Executive Chef John Williams MBE sees to it that so is the food. With a French style that is only fitting for such a Sun King setting the food is classic but fabulous.
Gordon Ramsay may hold the keys to a swathe of London’s notable restaurants, but only one has his name above the door. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is the start of the Gordon Ramsay story, his first restaurant, opened in 1998 at the age of 31. Within three years it had gained three Michelin stars, which it retains today.
The French menu is under the direction of Head Chef Matt Abé, who’s clearly doing more than just holding the fort for the big man.
Set in a Chelsea townhouse, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is intimate and special. The birthplace of a legend but in no way stuck in the past.
Clapham Old Town plays host to Trinity, a Michelin starred restaurant on the edge of Clapham Common.
Founded by Adam Byatt in 2006 dining at Trinity is sublime. Gone are any central London pretensions or grand hotel majesty, and instead Trinity brings us back to delight in simple basic ingredients and a not-too-showy decor.
British Historical is, unsurprisingly, a widely overlooked genre of cuisine. If anyone was going to dig it out then there would be no prizes for guessing that Heston Blumenthal would run with it. What is perhaps a little more surprising is not that he did, but that it was such a huge success.
Opening to huge acclaim in 2011 and located in Knightsbridge’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel the restaurant took the world by storm. It’s easy to understand why, the food, developed alongside Head Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts, is meticulously researched and beautifully presented, from dishes familiar to the court of Henry XIII to those inspired by Victorian novelist Lewis Carroll.
Tom Sellars has rightly received high acclaim for Restaurant Story. After five months he’d gained a Michelin star, aged just 26, and it’s utterly obvious why. Sellars’ British menu consisting of small, perfectly formed, dishes, each with it’s own memory-evoking story (geddit?).
The interior of this Bermondsey restaurant is cool and simple, almost Skandi. It was purpose built on the site of a former public convenience, we think Restaurant Story offers a far greater public benefit.
Supper clubs are all the rage, but a couple years ago James Ramadan and Sam Herlihy converted theirs into one of the most exciting restaurants to hit Dalston, if not London, with Pidgin. They have hit upon a winning combination.
The menu is a fixed four courses and it changes every week. What’s lost in flexibility is more than made up for in quality, which is simply undeniable.
The location and the surroundings may be low key, but the food is anything but.
There are no prizes for guessing what’s on the menu at Duck and Waffle, but that’s okay because the food is reward enough. The signature dish of duck leg and duck egg on a waffle and doused in maple syrup is only the start of it. The seasonal menu is versatile and fun and the work of Chef Director Dan Doherty.
And we’ve not even mentioned the view! On the 40th floor of Bishopsgate’s Heron Tower the views are endless and breathtaking. Inside the decor alternates between artsy grungy graffiti in the bar and modern cool in the restaurant. But it could be plastic picnic tables for all you’ll care after the food and views are taken into account.
Sleepy Wandsworth Common in South London is probably not the first place people might search for a Michelin starred restaurant, but if you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a great surprise. Chez Bruce is exceptional.
Founded by Bruce Poole (it’s Bruce we’re ‘chezzing’ with here) and Nigel Platts-Martin in 1995 the restaurant has managed to remain consistently at the top of all sorts of lists, including that of those people at Michelin.
The Modern French food is fantastic, the atmosphere is always buzzing and we can’t recommend Chez Bruce enough!
We’ve seen a couple former garages-turned-restaurants on these pages, think The Wolseley or Bibendum, but this is the real thing. A proper actual garage that’s no a restaurant, and leaves no doubt as to its heritage. It’s as though the last carbuettor was fitted just before the evening shift started and the tables have been hastily brought in to disguise the fact.
What isn’t possible to disguise, though, is the quality of the food which is excellent. It may be a little out of the way and a little funny looking but the kitchen is all-guns-blazing top end thanks to Chef Chris Denney who has really made his mark with 108 Garage.
108, in case you were wondering, is the street number.
Nikkei cuisine, that cross-over between Japanese and Peruvian food, is pretty big right now and ground zero has to be Chotto Matte, three floors of Nikkei goodness on Soho’s Frith Street.
A large bar dominates downstairs while upstairs is ‘where the magic happens’. The whole place is loud with a distinctive buzz and the pedigree is assured given it was opened by the man who brought Nobu to the UK.
Under Executive Head Chef Jordan Sclare, a seasoned (no pun) Japanese food specialist who spend months in Peru preparing for the role, the food is excellent and Chotto Matte’s a vibrant and busy lunch or dinner option.
Billing itself as ‘London’s Most Romantic Restaurant’ Clos Maggiore exudes a sexy French vibe, best shown through the decor, with foliage dangling and wood panelling on the walls. If you’re looking to propose, treating a loved one or you’re investing way too much on a first date then book Clos Maggiore and insist you’re in the scenic room with all the dangly bits on the ceiling, lest you miss out.
Either way, though, you won’t be missing out on some excellent French food. The excellent dishes are courtesy of Head Chef Marcellin Marc who, along with the magical surroundings, carries Clos Maggiore to a next level where the haughty staff and noisy tourists on the table next door simply don’t matter any more.
Our advice would be go for the later sitting, get the right table and soak up the equisite dishes and wondrous environment.
Bombay: the most vibrant city in the world, a melting pot of cultures, sights smells and tastes and the inspiration for Dishoom. Based on the Irani cafes of old Bombay Dishoom evokes a real feel of India, the art deco influences, British heritage and overwhelmingly Indian spirit. It’s no surprise that this St Martin’s Lane restaurant has spawned into a small chain and anyone who hasn’t been needs to grab their coat and rush toward Covent Garden immediately.
The food is a relatively faithful recreation of the menus back in Bombay, the lassis are excellent and the curries are, as you’d expect, delicious. The decor, too, is a fun impression of Bollywood charm and the only thing holding you back should be the long queues snaking out of the door as they don’t, for some reason, take bookings.
The guys behind the Experimental Cocktail Club have added a further feather to their cap with The Henrietta, an 18 bedroom boutique hotel and, most importantly, a brilliant new restaurant. Joined by Ollie Dabbous, who needs no introduction, they’ve put together a menu under Dabbous that gently accentuates French influences .
The surroundings, like the food, are clever but stylish and this Covent Garden newcomer is well worth a look in. It’s also the only place you can find Dabbous cooking until he relaunches himself with a new venture at some point in the next year!
The sun never sets on the Hakkasan empire, the Cantonese restaurant that’s taking over the world’s most glamorous cities. Bombay, New York, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Jakarta have fallen, even Las Vegas has a Hakkasan that also doubles as a super-club. But for the real thing London is the birthplace, and while Hanway Place holds the title as the epicentre of the Hakkasan earthquake it’s Hakkasan Mayfair that holds a place in our heart.
The dark, dramatic, luxorious interiors sets a tone of understated opulence, putting Chinese fine dining centre-stage on the global scene.
Executive Head Chef Tong Chee Hwee is responsible for an innovative Cantonese menu and won the restaurant its Michelin star.
For a nation obsessed with Indian cuisine, not to mention London’s palce as a city at the cross-roads of international trade and culture, the suprise isn’t the rise in seriously high calibre Indian restaurants in the capital, it’s that it took so long to come together. The last decade has seen some excellent Indian restaurants coming onto the scene and Jamavar is near the top of the crop, thanks to Head Chef Rohit Ghai, who jumped ship from Gymkhana to lead this import from Chennai.
The food is excellent, the small plates especially, and the flavours evoke all the best of Indian cuisine.
The surroundings are smart, we’re in Mayfair after all, and it’s easy to be reminded that Jamavar’s sister restaurnat is in an Indian palace. A lovely meal and luxorious surroundings.
The entrance is, puzzlingly, behind the counter of a wine shop on Victoria Street and the incognito arrival is marks the start of what is rather a fun destination. The bar is loud and brash, dark and sociable with booming music, but move through into the restaurant and suddenly everything’s demure and stylish, an utter juxtaposition but one that allows you to focus on the most important part, the steak.
There’s plenty on the menu, all of it excellent, but gravitate toward the steak because Chef Michael Reid is an out-and-out doyen with the insides of a cow. Credited with bringing the highest grade Kobe beef in the world to M, under his lead this restaurant is worth a visit; add in the efforts of his head sommelier and you’ve got a perfect evening.
The founders of Kricket clearly wondered if London really needs another Bombay inspired restaurant, and then decided that it definitley did. And thank goodness they did because Kricket approaches Indian food from the opposite end to some of its stablemates at the top of the Indian fine-dining tree; while others bring Michelin star experience to bear in crafting their wonderous creations, Kricket began life just a couple years back as a shipping container in Brixton.
The streetfood mentality continues now they’ve got their ‘bricks and mortar’ establishment in Soho, just off Regent Street, and the result is fantastic, authentic and delicious.
Chef Will Bowlby, along with his college friend and co-founder Rik Campbell, run this place in such a way as to feel like its still in popup mode, and this makes it all the more enjoyable.
The Israeli/Palistinian venn diagram seldom ‘venns’, but the crossover that’s most excitig is when it comes to food, and Palomar puts itself right in the centre of the diagram.
Serving the food of modern Jerusalem, the menu is as much a cultural hotchpotch as the city itself, with influences from Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant and all this masterminded by co-owner and chef Assaf Granit, who’s also responsible for Jerusalem’s MachneYuda, along the same lines.
The mix of foods is mouthwatering, with all the flavours you’d expect, and some you wouldn’t but you’re glad they put in an appearance. All in all it’s excellent.
Padella serves some of the best pasta in London, if not the world. Forget everything you think you know about pasta, that it comes encased in plastic from Sainsburys and you pour some orange looking sauce over it and knock it back in front of corrie; no, this is proper pasta, and Padella are the pasta-masters.
Set just outside Borough Market all the pasta is handrolled and fresh. Further, all the sauces and fillings are inspired by Italy and founders Jordan Frieda and Tim Siadatan’s trips there. And the result will have you standing by the ready-meal section of your local supermarket handing out flyers like pasta-Jehova’s Witnesses, pleading with shoppers unaware of what they’re missing out on.
Shaun Rankin won a Michelin star for his restaurant Ormer in St Hellier, Jersey, so when the restaurant at Fleming’s in Mayfair came available, it was a natural move to bring the whole shebang to London, and how lucky for us that he has.
Ormer, named after the crab variety, is inspired by Jersey, where the fish is so fresh that it might as well be swimming. Mayfair seeks to recreate this and does so with style with the same combination of sustainably-sourced, locally foraged seasonal produce.
With Rankin at the helm this restaurant is a joy; elegant and a showcase for the very best of Jersey.
These ‘popolo’ (Italian for ‘people’ in case you’re not conversant in Italian) have come up with a great little creation in Popolo, a small Italian that really packs a punch. The menu is Italian, but influenced by Middle Eastern and Moorish influences.
The format is small plates and sharing is actively encouraged, but belive us you won’t want to share anything! The food is delicate and delicious, the pasta’s hand rolled before every sitting and the wine is provided by small Italian growers producing natural and low intervention wines.
Chicama is a costal village on the Peruvian coast and also the name of this Chelsea restaurant serving food inspired by both Peruvian cuisine and the sea. To this end fresh fish is delivered daily from Cornwall and are delectably prepared by Head Chef Erren Nathaniel.
This King’s Road restaurant couldn’t be further from the South American coast, but a few small plates in and you’ll be convinced you’ve been transported to the land of Machu Picchu and Paddington. So much so you won’t want to come back.
Founded by Iqbal Wahhab, also responsible for Westminster’s Cinamon Club, Roast sets out with a simple goal: to produce the best roast dinners in London. And it’s fair to argue that they’ve succeeded.
Bathed in light from the enormous windows it’s the most sublime Sunday lunch destination, or equally perfect for dinner; perhaps less so if you’re a veggie…
Borough Market is the home to so much street food and tasty bites served from market stalls, but in the midst of the bustle there’s a discrete entrance to a wonderous fine dining restaurant, set above the commotion below and serving exactly what it says on the tin, roast. Except this roast certainly hasn’t come out of a tin.
Founded by Iqbal Wahhab, also responsible for Westminster’s Cinamon Club, Roast sets out with a simple goal: to produce the best roast dinners in London. And it’s fair to argue that they’ve succeeded.
Bathed in light from the enormous windows it’s the most sublime Sunday lunch destination, or equally perfect for dinner; perhaps less so if you’re a veggie…
The king of Mount Street, this venerable old restaurant started plying their oysters in the 1850s and has been on Mount Street since the late 1960s. What Scotts hasn’t learnt about fish in 170 years probably isn’t worth knowing.
The quality of fish available is consistently stratosphericly high and under Head Chef Dave McCarthy the cooking is equally exciting.
You may be too engrossed in your oysters to notice, but the surroundings are pretty grand too. Dominated by a central marble-topped seafood bar surrounding an ice-filled fish display that’s tantamount to an altar to Neptune, the restauraunt is beautiful and comfortable.
The tables outside are where the stars come to be seen or, in the case of Charles Saatchi, to strangle their wives, while inside the clubby feel is impossible not to love.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten has Michelin stars coming out of almost every orriface, his New York restaurant simply named Jean Georges had, until recently, three all to itself. 2017 was the year he landed at The Connaught, revamping the restaurant at the front of the hotel and joining Hélène Darroze who runs the restaurant round the back and has already ammased two stars herself.
The cuisine is French Asian, with a British twist, and the fact that’s not nearly as muddled as it sounds is entirely down to Jean Georges, who is quite probably an actual wizard. The food is splendid, the menu comes together effortlessly in a creschendo of undeniable deliciousness.
The new look is also noteworthy, light filled with wraparound stained glass and looking out onto Mount Street, perfect for people watching as you sit at the low tables and enjoy your meal. That one hotel should have one restaurant of this quality is impressive, to have two is plain greedy!
When mash potato is your signature dish you know it’s not going to take itself too seriously and despite its Michelin Star l’Atelier doesn’t have the same high self regard as some of it’s peers, and this is refreshing and attractive.
Set in Covent Garden this is an outpost in the Joël Robuchon empire and the dark interior is the perfect place for a delicious meal.
Possibly the most famous prostitute of them all, Kitty Fisher was an 18th century pin-up girl, painted by Reynolds and famed for her numerous high-society affairs. So perhaps an ideal name for a restaurant based in Shepherd’s Market, which still retains something of it’s historic red light district and sits close to Fisher’s old house.
That’s about where analogy ends, there’s nothing seedy about Kitty Fisher’s. Reputedly David and Samantha Cameron’s favourite hang-out it’s got a chilled out vibe, no fussy tablecloths, it’s got a slightly olde-worlde feel but a thoroughly up-to-date menu, British with a Spanish twist.
The most sought after restauraunt for a year or two, Chiltern Firehouse has now come of age and while it may be less of a celeb magnet, the food on offer has, in our opinon, only got better, or perhaps it just seems it when half the guests aren’t looking around to see the Beckhams or one of the One Directioners.
Set in a Marylebone grade II-listed Victorian fire station and under the expert eye of Nuno Mendes, who came from Viajante, the food is excellent, inventive and pleasing.
The hotel remains exclusive and mysterious and adds to the allure.
Most people can seat more in their sitting room, but at nine guests per sitting The Araki really rocks the ‘less is more’ principle.
The Japanese set menu restaurant serves a highly curated selection of food and wine from the genius mind of 3-Michelin-starred Mitsuhiro Araki. It may be the world’s most expensive sushi, but if you’re one of the 18 people an evening (there are 2 sittings) then you’ll certainly remember it!
Clapham may be better known for its nightlife, its common or the busiest train station in the world, but the restaurants are worth a look in too, and none less than The Diary. The Diary is low-key, recycled furniture and a thrown-together feel but the small-plates menu is anything.
The food is seasonal British and the places is run by husband/wife team Robin and Sarah Gill and you’re gauranteed to feel very looked-after.
If you thought you’d learnt everything there is to know about Scandinavia from Ikea and The Bridge then think again. Philip Hamilton opened Aquavit last year on the back of the original New York restaurant which has now got 2 Michelin stars.
The setting is informal and bistro-ish, with Skandi classics like pickled herring and vennison taking centre-stage. Obviously there’s also meatballs and mash with lingonbery jam, should you be missing it. All this is led by Swedish chef, Executive Chef Henrik Ritzen.
River Cafe was iconic in the 80s and 90s, the height of chic in daring Hammersmith. Now come of age it remains a must-eat restaurant which hasn’t failed to remain relevant 30 years later.
The Italian restaurant, by the Thames (hence ‘River’), still serves some of the best Italian food this side of Milan and the wharf warehouse setting is a trumph of design, thanks to architect Richard Rogers who happens to be married to River Cafe owner and Head Chef Ruth Rogers.
Hélène Darroze is one of the world’s legendary chefs and her 2 Michelin Star restaurant at The Connaught deserves every accolade that’s been thrown its way (Darroze was named the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef, for instance).
Set in the stunning hotel alongside Jean Georges who has recently arrived at the other side of the building, the food is inspired by Darroze’s native South West France and combines the very best of the region.
In the world of gastronomy, Peckham doesn’t normally get much a look in. But it’s well worth the pilgramage for Coal Rooms which opened this August. Located in the old Peckham Rye station’s 1930s ticket office its on-site buchery provides the staple of a menu dominated by meat.
Everything is grilled in a special coal oven and the effect is fantastic and is seriously worth going to visit.
Imagine being the place that The Queen goes for dinner! She was down at The Ivy the other month and was just one of many ‘famouses’ packing out this venerable venue on any ordinary evening. It’s had a revamp lately and looks even better than it already did, dazzling and luxurious and with a menu to match.
The food is British traditional, with a much loved shepherd’s pie, sausage and mash or fish and chips sitting alongside more complicated dishes. Fit for a Queen!
Set on Berkely Square, Benares is stunning to take in as you arrive with a dark but stunning bar area and the restaurant beyond.
The menu serves a modern take on Indian cuisine, much of it made on the restaurant’s two charcoal tandoors and it’s clear from the first mouthful that Atul Kochhar has more than earned his two Michelin stars.
Dark, intriguing and with some of London’s, if not the world’s, best Indian food.
Say fish in London and you might as well say “Bentley’s” because they’re pretty much synonymous (not a hard-and-fast rule: you can’t buy a Bentleying rod). Bentley’s has been around for just over a century, in the same spot since 1916, and that’s a long time to practise until you’ve got it perfect, and thats what Bentley’s have managed.
Their oysters are as exquisite and supremely fresh, they literally shuck them at the table in front of you. And the freshness doesn’t end there, the range is decent and the cooking second-to-none.
Upstairs, the grill serves non-fishy fare, but why would you bother?
Taken over, and turned around, by Richard Corrigan over a decade ago Bentley’s is on top of it’s game and looking sprightly despite its age. In summer the terrace on Swallow Street provides excellent people watching.