After years of renovations, legendary Soho landmark Kettner’s finally reopened its doors last year. Now part of the Soho House Group, the townhouse – which dates back to 1867 – has been given the full Ned works: opulent furnishings, metallic detailing and a razzmatazz nod to the 1920s. At lunchtime, the French-leaning menu goes heavy on the crowd-pleasing classics – think steak tartare with artichoke crisps, plaice goujons with frites and tartare sauce, and poached Banham chicken with cabbage, carrot and radish. Both bars at Kettner’s are beautiful, so we recommend arriving early for a pre-lunch drink.
29 Romilly Street, Soho, W1D 5HP
With multi award-winning outposts in New Delhi and New York, expect big things from Indian Accent’s third and latest London outpost. Headed up by acclaimed chef Manish Mehrotra, this luxe Mayfair offering reinterprets nostalgic Indian dishes with a modern twist, drawing on cultural influences from all over the world. Devour bold, flavoursome dishes of ghee roast lamb with roomali roti pancakes or makhan malai, a medieval dish made with saffron-infused aerated milk; or lighter dishes of langoustines, French beans, moilee; soy keema, quail egg, lime leaf butter pao; and beet and peanut butter vadai, goat cheese pachadi.
16 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, W1S 4HW
Taking inspiration from the Barbary Coast (but situated inside Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden), The Barbary’s menu celebrates the North African cuisine, exotic produce, flavoursome spices and cooking techniques passed down through generations. This culinary romanticism continues when it comes to the menu, with meat, fish, vegetables and desserts being categorised as Land, Sea, Earth and Heaven. In terms of what to eat, the kitchen’s hash cake can solve even the biggest of problems, but it’s the Jaffa cauliflower that gets the most praise – and we’ve got to tell you, it lives up to the hype.
16 Neal's Yard, Covent Garden, WC2H 9DP
No 11 Pimlico Road
No. 11 is an independent neighbourhood bar and restaurant from the same group behind Darwin & Wallace No. 1 Duke Street, No. 32 The Old Town and No. 197 Chiswick Fire Station. Its contemporary interiors provide the perfect backdrop for relaxed eating and drinking, especially when it comes to lunch. Of the whole menu, we like the look of the truffled cauliflower macaroni cheese; lamb kofta skewers; dill and lemon fishcake and the kimchi fried rice. The bar staff know how to make a great cocktail, too.
11 Pimlico Road, Belgravia, SW1W 8NA
With its retro ceiling fans, marble table tops and walls adorned with vintage photographs, this Mayfair dining haunt has all the glossy charm of an Indian colonial club, but with the added bonus of a Michelin-starred menu that seriously delivers. Patron-chef Karam Sethi’s (also of Trishna and Hoppers) lays on a wondrous spread of contemporary Indian cuisine based on regional masalas and marinades. Devour plates of fried south Indian chicken wings, pork cheek vindaloo and gorgeous game dishes – the quail kebab and tandoori guinea fowl are must-tries.
42 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, W1S 4JH
Brasserie Zédel’s slick little sister is the place to go if you’re hankering after French cuisine. Or German, as the kitchen serves a mix of the two. Within its glossy, cafe-style environs, guests can look forward to classic dishes such as tartes flambées (slim, crispy pizzas with various toppings), veal schnitzel and bavette steaks served alongside moules normande, choucroute à l’alsacienne and – of course – a delicious cheese selection.
9 Islington Green, Angel, N1 2XH
Anywhere that has 17 bars should definitely be considered a solid choice for a celebratory lunch (if that’s what you’re after, look to the recently launched Library bar, which has 30 champagnes on offer, sold by the glass or bottle, a martini trolley and a selection of classic house cocktails). Elsewhere, the open-plan restaurant space in the former Banking Hall offers diners plenty of choice (we’re a big fan of the pretty-in-pink, best-of-British Millie’s Lounge). Options range from Café Sou, a Parisian-style café, through to Californian fare at Malibu Kitchen and Asian-pacific menus at Kaia.
27 Poultry, Bank, EC2R 8AJ
The Coal Shed
Spreading its wings from Sussex shores, Brighton favourite The Coal Shed brings a new menu of meaty classics to the swanky setting of London’s One Tower Bridge. Like its flagship namesake, The Coal Shed serves up a succulent selection of Josper-grilled steaks, sourced from the Scottish Highlands and cooked on hot coals to guarantee that signature smoky aroma. Adorned in rich, polished woods, there’s a Japanese influence to this swanky steakhouse, with low lighting, dark-wood beams and wooden screen glazing. It’s set over two floors so there’s plenty of space, and with an open kitchen there’s a buzzing atmosphere.
1 One Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge, SE1 2SE
The original restaurant is in Paris and is one of the city’s foodie gems. Opened by husband and wife team Gregory and Marie Marchand in 2009, tables became like hen’s teeth virtually overnight. The London outpost is as good as the original and has steadily established itself as a discerning destination restaurant. It feels discreet, cosy and intimate, but at the same its interiors are grown up and glamorous. The menu features simple, sophisticated and seasonal dishes: think scallops with black truffle. The lunch menu is just £27 for two courses and £30 for three – that’s the best £27 or £30 you’re likely to enjoy for a long while.
16 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8QH
Think steak in London, and your mind will inevitably drift to the inimitable Hawksmoor. With plenty of large tables in discreet corners, this is a great shout for business dining. But if you’re after something more fun, turn your mind to the Hawksmoor Hamburger. Only available during lunchtime, and only at its Spitalfields site, it has to be one of the very best burgers in town. Served with triple-cooked chips or an English lettuce and herb salad, the burger itself comprises 100% grass-fed beef from traditional British breeds, with small nuggets of bone marrow for extra flavour. Diners can choose from Ogleshield cheese or Colston Bassett Stilton.
HIX Oyster & Chop House
Mark Hix’s first solo restaurant, HIX Oyster and Chop House was opened in 2008, a stone’s throw from Smithfield, London’s historic meat market. A stalwart on the steakhouse scene, diners know exactly what to expect – namely, great steaks and chops, with a sprinkling of Hix’s signature British style. The selection is incredible – think Glenarm Estate sirloin, succulent fillet on the bone and porterhouse steak for two – but there’s plenty to choose from, including oysters, scallops, duck heart and smoked salmon. The marble oyster bar is a great place to get things started.
36-37 Greenhill Rents, Clerkenwell, EC1M 6BN
One of D&D London’s original sites, this Marylebone spot has always combined high-end classic French cookery with a relaxed neighbourhood vibe. Now, it can add super-sleek to the list: grey tones, smart leather seating and copper embellishments brought the restaurant right up to date when it was given a refurbishment in 2018. Thankfully its floor-to-ceiling oval windows remain, as does its famously well-stocked cheese trolley. Our picks from the menu include Dorset crab with mango and wasabi, followed by steamed salmon, leek, mussels and velouté and rosewater panna cotta with pear sorbet. Come summertime, you’ll find us on the plant-filled terrace.
55 Marylebone High Street, Marylebone, W1U 5RB
A relaxed sister restaurant to The Ned’s Cecconi’s, Soho House Group’s Cecconi’s Pizza Bar opened on Old Compton Street last summer. Bearing the brand’s signature marble-striped floor, the interiors reference Italian landmark Harry’s Bar in Venice: picture a rosewood panelled bar and matching walls, brass fittings, and original Italian black and white photos and advertising prints from the 1950s hung on the walls. In its centre is a mid-century Venetian-style bar serving negronis, Aperol spritz and prosecco on tap, while the kitchen serves simple Italian comfort food, including crispy zucchini fritti with lemon aioli; rich crab spaghetti with chilli, parsley and olive oil; and pizzas topped with the likes of bresaola, smoked burrata, rocket and cherry tomatoes.
19-21 Old Compton Street, Soho, W1D 5JJ
The National Café
Away from its ever-popular exhibitions, The National Gallery plays host to one of our favourite restaurants within a London museum, The National Café. Refurbished in late 2017, the restaurant was given a lick of paint and its classic European menu a modern makeover.Away from London’s shopping and sightseeing, the restaurant offers a slice of vintage West End indulgence. Hits from the lunch menu include burrata with beetroot mousse and dehydrated beetroot, followed by crab cake, curly kale and crab velouté. Make sure to leave room for its chocolate and banana sundae.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square WC2N 5DN