Tamarind Mayfair was the first Indian restaurant in the UK to be awarded a Michelin star. Following an extensive eight-month refurbishment project, the restaurant recently reopened, doubling its capacity in the process. We love the beautiful first-floor dining room, which is accessed by a glass fronted lobby and sleek metal staircase. Highlights from the kitchen include tandoori quail with caramelised gooseberry and tandoori prawn balchao with spicy and tangy chilli marinade. Carole Brown, a former bar manager at Hakkasan and Park Chinois, is the force behind an impressive list of cocktails, which features a mix of Indian twists on both classic and original cocktails that use Indian ingredients and flavours.
20 Queen Street, Mayfair, W1J 5PR
Kerridge’s Bar & Grill
Housed in a grand dining room in the Corinthia Hotel, Tom Kerridge brought many of his team from the Hand & Flowers, The Coach and The Butcher’s Tap in Marlow to recreate his relaxed fine-dining vibe in the capital. A vibrant space that mixes old-school burgundy banquette seating and forest-green walls with modern art and sculptures, here guests can expect to sample some of Kerridge’s famed staples: think fish and chips with pease pudding, tartare and Matson spiced sauce; dry-aged rib of beef with ox cheek bordelaise, gherkin ketchup and triple cooked chips; and glazed omelette ‘lobster thermidor’. Expect rich comfort food, cooked to absolute perfection.
Whitehall Place, Westminster, SW1A 2BD
Acclaimed chef Anthony Demetre reopened his much-missed Wild Honey last year. The restaurant offers a taste of Demetre’s highly regarded modern European cooking, which combines classic French techniques with fine seasonal produce. Serving everything from breakfast through to dinner (the hand-cut macaroni ‘cacio e pepe’ with crisp chicken wings is a must-order), the space is atmospheric: picture double-height ceilings, statement lighting, an eclectic mix of modern art and a striking black and white marble floor made of nearly 17,000 hand-lain tiles. Adjacent to the restaurant, the intimate St James Bar features a marble bar top, dark blue velvet banquettes and warm lighting. Overseen by bar manager Enzo Sigaut, drinks include classic and signature contemporary cocktails alongside a new bar menu offering oysters, cheese and charcuterie.
8 Pall Mall, St James's, SW1Y 5NG
Spearheaded by a team of local industry heavyweights including head chef Theo Hill (The River Café) and front of house team Alex Ghalleb (Pizza East) and Arez Akgundogdu (Soho House), Gold is a modern European spot focused on produce-led sharing plates and minimal-process cooking in wood ovens or over open flame – think nettle ravioli with sheep’s ricotta and sorrel followed by wood-roasted whole sea bream with wild oregano and capers. Modern bohemian interiors make use of the original shell of the building for an edgy look, while contemporary furniture, aged metals and indoor trees soften the space to create a warm environment. With a retractable roof and landscaped with mature trees, the garden room offers an atmospheric spot for dinner while the second floor is taken up by a private party room.
95-97 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11 2QB
With multi award-winning outposts in New Delhi and New York, expect big things from Indian Accent’s third 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
Currently closed due to a fire last summer, one of London’s most-loved restaurants is set to reopen in February 2020. 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
Anywhere that has 17 bars should definitely be considered for a celebratory lunch (if that’s what you’re after, look to the 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 London’s One Tower Bridge. Like its flagship namesake, The Coal Shed serves up a 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 Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge, SE1 2SE
The original restaurant is in Paris and is one of the city’s most-booked spots. The more recent 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 £29 for two courses and £32 for three.
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 the Spitalfields site, it has to be one of the 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, just around the corner from Smithfield 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 top notch – think Glenarm Estate sirloin, succulent fillet on the bone and porterhouse steak for two – but there’s plenty more to choose from, including oysters, scallops, duck hearts and smoked salmon. The marble oyster bar is a great place to get things started.
36-37 Greenhill Rents, Clerkenwell, EC1M 6BN
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
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 during a recent refurbishment. Thankfully its floor-to-ceiling oval windows remain, as does its famously well-stocked cheese trolley. Our picks include potato ravioli with wild mushroom and butter emulsion, followed by poached salmon with butter beans, parma ham crumble and garlic purée. Come summertime, you’ll find us on the plant-filled terrace.
55 Marylebone High Street, Marylebone, W1U 5RB
Cecconi’s Pizza Bar
A relaxed sister restaurant to The Ned’s Cecconi’s, Soho House Group’s Cecconi’s Pizza Bar is located on Old Compton Street. 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. 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