Unlike the original Soho restaurant, Hoppers in St Christopher’s takes bookings for dinner, and offers four semi-private dining vaults for groups of eight. Plump for the ‘Taste of Hoppers’ sharing menu (£32pp) to avoid food FOMO and try the kitchen’s very best Sri Lankan dishes. All of which are best taken with a cleverly crafted cocktail like the Toddy Tapper, a Margarita with an Asian twist.
77 Wigmore Street, W1U 1QE
Never been able to face the queue for Padella in Borough Market? Its sister restaurant in Islington takes bookings. The decor is laidback and minimal, letting the homemade pasta and charcoaled Italian dishes steal the show. The simple tagliarini cacio e pepe (the cheese and pepper pasta dish) is a winner, while an ever-changing wine list never disappoints.
300-302 St Paul’s Road, N1 2LH
Mazi, Notting Hill
Taste the flavours of the sun-drenched Mediterranean at this neighbourhood favourite. Serving an
elegant take on Greek food, its dishes are designed to be shared. Pick a mix of jars (cold dips), salads and hot plates, and fight politely over the last bite. Favourites include the feta tempura, king prawns saganaki and the fava bean dip. Cocktails nod to Greece, with the ‘Rose Daiquiri’ and the ‘Tzatziki Martini’ catching our eye.
12-14 Hillgate Street, W8 7SR
Inspired by the Peruvian coastal town of Chicama, this Chelsea restaurant from the team behind Pachamama specialises in seasonal seafood and healthy vegetable-based dishes. The decor has a beachy feel (salvaged wood and vintage mirrors) with a modern twist (an Instagram-friendly marble bar with blush pink stools) and the cocktail list exciting. Try the ‘Mellini’, a melon take on the classic prosecco drink.
383 King’s Road, SW10 0LP
Unlike many of its neighbours in Brixton market, Nanban takes bookings. Its menu of ‘Japanese soul’ sharing plates is perfect for groups. Fusion favourites include the nasa dengaku (roasted aubergine topped with sweet miso sauce and toasted almonds) and the yellowtail sashimi (with spicy tropical fruit ponzu, coriander oil and crispy noodles). The drinks choice is tough: will it be cocktails, the sake flight or craft beer?
426 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LF
Brunswick House, Vauxhall
Dine in the crumbling grandeur of an antique-filled Georgian mansion in an unexpected corner of Vauxhall. Brunswick House has a special-occasion feel and its à la carte menu has something for all tastes and dietary requirements. The roast cod, mussel, baked fennel and aioli is delicious, while the chocolate pot always gets rave reviews.
30 Wandsworth Road, SW8 2LG
Coal Rooms, Peckham
Within the former Peckham Rye train station ticket office, the private dining room at this much-hyped restaurant is perfect for a celebratory girls dinner. A feasting menu (£35pp) includes sharing starters, sides and desserts, with a choice of main from the seasonal, charcoal grill-focused menu.
11a Station Way, SE15 4RX
Gloria Trattoria, Shoreditch
For an all-singing, all-dancing girls night out, there’s no better place than Gloria Trattoria. The East London branch of the much-loved Paris Italian comes with an OTT interior (think ivy-covered walls, overflowing terracotta pots and retro crockery), a menu of decadent Italian classics and Instagrammable cocktails. La Gran Carbonara, a homemade spaghetti chitarra for two served in the whole round of pecorino, is not to be missed.
54-56 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3QR
Berber & Q Grill House, Old Street
Found in a beautiful converted railway arch in Haggerston, Berber & Q serves up charcoal-cooked meats and Middle Eastern sides (think burnt baba ganoush, wood-roasted beets and whipped feta haydari) that are ideal for sharing. Pair with prosecco, inventive cocktails or an in-house craft brew.
338 Acton Mews, E8 4EA
Bistrotheque, Bethnal Green
Hidden on an unassuming back street in Bethnal Green, this old warehouse turned French bistro offers a changing seasonal menu from Blaine Duffy (the chef who cut his teeth at Fifteen, 10 Greek Street and Hoi Polloi). Dine on classics with a twist such as Bistrotheque fish and chips or pressed beef à la Bourguignonne while sipping on excellent cocktails (the pomegranate cosmo gets a special mention).
23-27 Wadeson Street, E2 9DR
Brasserie Zédel, Piccadilly
With its grand art-deco interior and classic French menu, Brasserie Zédel will whisk you to Paris for the evening without you having to go any further than Piccadilly. Feast on steak frites, sea bream fillet with vegetable ragout or goats’ cheese and beetroot salad, washed down with a bottle of reasonably priced French wine. Miss the sharing chocolate mousse at your peril.
20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED
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