Social Pantry, Battersea
One of London’s go-to catering companies, Social Pantry has two neighbourhood cafés: Social Pantry Café in Battersea and Crane’s Kitchen in Peckham. As the lead employer of ex-offenders in the hospitality industry, Social Pantry tries to maintain a team made up of 10% of people who have been recruited through prison reform charity Key4Life. This year, for every private party booked at its cafés this Christmas, the team will offer one ex-offender a work taster in its production kitchen. If that wasn’t reason enough, the kitchen specialises in sustainable, locally sourced menus that can be served as canapés, at food stations or as a seated dinner for up to 40 guests. We love the sound of the stuffing scotch eggs, bread sauce croquettes and mulled wine macarons.
170a Lavender Hill, Battersea, SW11 5TG
Crane's Kitchen, Peckham
Part of Social Pantry, Crane’s Kitchen is a vibrant restaurant-café between Peckham and Camberwell, located within the South London Gallery. A contemporary neighbourhood destination serving well-sourced seasonal food, by day this is a friendly spot offering everything from low-key breakfasts (when the kitchen serves its famed smoked applewood cheddar and kimchi toastie) to afternoon glasses of wine. By night, the café transforms into an event space, hosting small dinners for 15 to larger Christmas get-togethers. Expect inventive festive menus and a relaxed atmosphere.
67 Peckham Road, Peckham, SE5 8UH
Wild by Tart, Belgravia
A neighbourhood restaurant, shop and events space, Belgravia’s Wild By Tart is run by Jemima Jones and Lucy Carr-Ellison, the women behind popular food brand and catering company Tart London. Housed in a former power station, the industrial yet chic space has three options for hire: the intimate Mezzanine, which seats 15 and overlooks the restaurant and bar; the glass ceilinged Studio which seats 100; or you can hire the entire venue. If you’ve ever been to the restaurant – or tried any of the great recipes from the pair’s cookbooks – you’ll know to expect a food-first approach, with dishes featuring big flavours and lots of seasonal ingredients.
3-4 Eccleston Yards, Belgravia, SW1W 9AZ
Brunswick House, Vauxhall
Jackson Boxer’s food-focused Brunswick House is a grand setting for an exclusive festive get-together. An antiques-filled Georgian mansion in an unexpected corner of Vauxhall, Brunswick House has a special-occasion feel and its ever-changing à la carte menu has something for all tastes – think roast cod with mussels, baked fennel and aioli, followed by a chocolate pot. For Christmas gatherings, book The Study, which is impeccably decorated and comes with an ornate fireplace for dinner guests to gather around for a pre-dinner drink.
30 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall, SW8 2LG
Bistrotheque, Bethnal Green
Hidden on an unassuming back street in Bethnal Green, this old warehouse turned French bistro offers a changing seasonal menu and a chic atmosphere. The private dining room is known for its pared-down aesthetic and pianist, who plays for diners as they enjoy a menu of European classics. A brightly lit, blank canvas, the space can be decorated however you like to create a one-off dining experience. From £32pp, guests can order a three-course meal including leeks vinaigrette with toasted hazelnuts; cod with confit potatoes and salsa verde; and sticky toffee pudding with smoked butterscotch sauce. Groups can add on champagne and oysters to any set menu.
23-27 Wadeson Street, Bethnal Green, E2 9DR
Spring-To-Go, Notting Hill
This month, Skye Gyngell launched a private dining room at Spring-To-Go. The informal and beautifully designed space is a subterranean, natural extension of the shop upstairs and mirrors the blush palette and Kitten Grayson Flower wall installations from its sister restaurant, Spring at Somerset House. Seated dinners can accommodate up to 16 guests and dishes are seasonally led, with all produce coming directly from the biodynamic farms which also supply the restaurant. Expect to sample the likes of sea bass carpaccio with Berners Rose tomatoes, black olives and flowering marjoram; seared fillet of beef with horseradish cream, salsa verde and artichokes; and monkfish and prawns with tomatoes, ginger, curry leaves and coconut.
68 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, W11 2AJ
Decimo, King’s Cross
The Standard in King’s Cross is one of the capital’s coolest hotel launches of the last few years. Among its many event spaces – which include a rooftop terrace in the summer months – Decimo is one that offers panoramic views across central London via floor-to-ceiling windows. In the kitchen, head chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias merges the Spanish cuisine of his family with his love of Mexico. Expect tons of flavour via para picar gambas over ice; aguachile crab and suckling pig shoulder, XL langoustines and quail with mole glaze – all washed down with excellent Tommy margaritas.
10 Argyle Street, King’s Cross, WC1H 8EG