12 London Restaurants For A Long Lunch
12 London Restaurants For A Long Lunch

12 London Restaurants For A Long Lunch

There’s almost nothing better than a long lunch with friends – in fact, we almost prefer one to dinner. If you’re the same, or you just want somewhere for an overdue catch-up or leisurely celebration, here are 12 of our favourite spots for a relaxed daytime affair…
By Heather Steele
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Image: CLARIDGE'S RESTAURANT
Da Terra, Bethnal Green
Da Terra, Bethnal Green

Claridge’s Restaurant, Mayfair

Best For Sunday Lunch

Claridge’s Restaurant opened its art-deco doors onto Davies Street this time last year and has become a firm favourite with those looking for a smart place to dine ever since. In fact, the contemporary British restaurant's whole grilled native lobster fast became an Insta hit. Like some of the Maybourne group’s other spaces, the restaurant has been designed by Bryan O’Sullivan Studio and pays homage to the hotel’s own deco design with a contemporary colour palette complemented with Calacatta Viola marble and antique brass – creating a picture-perfect backdrop you’ll want to linger in. If Sunday lunch is your thing, the kitchen serves a cracking set menu, including the likes of ham hock terrine, gratinated French onion soup or seabass and crab fishcake followed by Norfolk black leg chicken, roasted Herefordshire rib of beef, or porchetta – with all the trimmings.

Visit Claridges.co.uk

Da Terra, Bethnal Green

Best For A Transportative Meal

Head chef Rafael Cagali’s Italian-Brazilian heritage takes a starring role at this relaxed two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Bethnal Green, where a retro indie soundtrack helps set the laid-back atmosphere. Inside the striking Town Hall Hotel, this is one of the most appealing modern dining rooms in London – think plaster walls, contemporary artwork, statuesque plants and fun, colourful wooden decorations from Rafael’s homeland that bring personality to the listed building. Within six or eight-course tasting menus showcasing the best of native Brazilian ingredients, there are surprising, flavour-packed dishes featuring carabinero prawns and Raf’s new take of a traditional moqueca fish stew. The restaurant is open for lunch on Fridays and Saturdays.

Visit DaTerra.co.uk

Claridge’s Restaurant, Mayfair
Claridge’s Restaurant, Mayfair

ROVI, Fitzrovia

Best For Veggies

Yotam Ottolenghi’s much-loved root-to-tip restaurant has a new lunchtime set menu. Available Monday to Friday, it features dishes from the chef’s much-loved cookbook Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love, a staple on any vegetable enthusiast’s bookshelf. In two (£35pp) or three courses (£39pp), the menu showcases the boundless potential of the humble vegetable – with some hearty meaty dishes too. Standouts include summer courgettes with ricotta and tomato salsa; beef kebabs with lime powder, sumac, onions and pita; and fish koftas with ancho chilli tomato sauce – with a ‘Chocoflan’ to finish.

Visit Ottolenghi.com

Dinner By Heston

Best For Something Different

If you’ve always wanted to sample Heston Blumenthal’s food, now’s a good time as his two-Michelin-starred spot at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park has launched ‘The Luncheon’, a daytime menu highlighting global food waste through historical storytelling and – in classic Heston style – recipes dating back to the 17th century. With a focus on conscious dining for the future, menu highlights include smoked salmon belly with dill, yoghurt and sourdough; salt cod with parsnip, pickled lemon and horseradish; forced artichoke with spelt, mushroom and breadcrumbs; and pineapple and cardamom tart with cardamom custard tart with pineapple jam. The menu is £59pp with wine pairings offered at another £49pp.

Visit MandarinOriental.com

Wild By Tart, Belgravia

Best For A Truly Relaxed Lunch

Wild by Tart is the neighbourhood restaurant every neighbourhood wished it had. In a former power station and coal store in Belgravia, Jemima Jones and Lucy Carr-Ellison – the duo behind top caterers Tart London – serve their signature nourishing, wholesome fare from a seasonally changing menu. The restaurant’s focal point is the building’s 19th-century arched roof with high glass panels and skylights. Beneath you’ll find counter dining at the open kitchen, communal tables and a lounge area to enjoy cocktails from the bar. If you’ve got a group, the feasting menu is available for 9+ guests for £50pp – and is the perfect way to experience the menu’s best bits. As well as running a restaurant, Jemima and Lucy have a popular external catering arm and host excellent events – check out this recent Blush Talent MGMT dinner to see what the team could do for you.

Visit WildByTart.com

The Connaught Grill, Mayfair
The Connaught Grill, Mayfair
Wild By Tart, Belgravia
Wild By Tart, Belgravia

SAFIA SHAKARCHI

The Connaught Grill, Mayfair

Best For Sharing

There are many reasons to visit The Connaught Grill, not least the stylish details that make up the experience – think bespoke napkins, personal knife boxes and the team’s knack for carving and flambéeing dishes on silver trollies at the table. With a few dishes taken directly from the original 1955 grill menu, starters include grilled Scottish scallop with seaweed and herb butter; and heirloom beetroot with wood roasted beetroot, avocado and chilli aioli. An array of seafood options are available, from Isle of Skye lobster to signature seabass en croûte with artful pastry fish scales, carved and plated in front of diners. Whatever you order, make sure to get a side of chips, which are prepared like a hash brown, grated and pressed like a terrine, before they are cut into symmetrical rectangles the following day. Diners can also opt for dishes from the weekly changing set menu, priced at £35. Dishes could include smoked eel with warm potato and caper salad, eel and potato velouté; beef rib and onion pie or cauliflower steak with romesco, pickles and herbs, followed by raspberry mille feuille, pistachio ice-cream, fresh raspberries or bread-and-butter pudding with coffee ice-cream.  

Visit The-Connaught.co.uk

Il Gattopardo, Mayfair

Best For Al Fresco Afternoons

Inspired by 1960s Italy, Il Gattopardo opened on Mayfair’s Albemarle Street last year. It’s part of the same group that looks after COYA, Amazonico and Bar des Pres. The menu features Italian classics and modern interpretations of dishes from across Italy, with a particular focus on Sicily, Amalfi and the Southern Isles. Interiors take influence from the style of the celebrated Italian architect and designer Gio Ponti; the 85-cover restaurant has a hidden courtyard terrace with a fully retractable roof, as well as a 16-cover private dining room. Signature dishes include Sicilian Mazara prawns with yellow chicory, citrus zest and Taggiasca olive oil; lobster bolognese; and a Northern Italy speciality, 24-month aged Culatello di Zibello Oro Spigaroli (also known as the ‘king of salami’) served inside gnocco fritto. A crudo bar offers a selection of raw and marinated fish and shellfish. We recommend a summer visit, when the restaurant’s rear terrace opens its roof for a gorgeous al fresco experience.

Visit Gattopardo.Restaurant

The River Cafe Cafe, Hammersmith

Best For Something New

Hammersmith’s The River Cafe was owned and run by chefs Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray until Gray's death in 2010; since then, Rogers has been the sole owner and she’s still in charge today. Since opening in 1987, the Thames-side restaurant has gained a Michelin star, training up the likes of Theo Randall, Ed Baines of Randall & Aubin, April Bloomfield, Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall along the way.  New for summer 2024 is The River Cafe Cafe, a relaxed, walk-in café and terrace with a more wallet-friendly menu steps away from The River Cafe itself. Throughout the day, they’ll serve plates of prosciutto and mozzarella, seasonal vegetables such as grilled peppers in the summer, or roasted pumpkin, squash, and borlotti beans in the winter.

Visit RiverCafe.co.uk

Wild By Tart, Belgravia
Wild By Tart, Belgravia
Chez Roux, Marylebone
Chez Roux, Marylebone

Scott’s, Mayfair & Richmond

Best For A Special Occasion

Scott’s in Mayfair is ready to welcome diners to its summer terrace, which has been decked out with beautiful floral displays for the season. It’s just the place to enjoy a few glasses of wine in the sun, complete with plates from the raw bar, shellfish platters and a selection of seafood dishes. For a similar experience on the river, Scott’s also has a place over in Richmond. A fresh take on the Mayfair hotspot, the Thames-side restaurant spans two floors: the lower with an impressive crustacean bar serving oysters, wine, champagne and cocktails; and the ground-floor space with floor-to-ceiling windows offering direct views of the Thames. Menu highlights include baked spiced crab with garlic and herb toast; apple-smoked salmon with pickled cucumber and baked brioche bread; and shrimp burger with kimchi ketchup.

Visit Scotts-Mayfair.com

BiBi, Mayfair

Best For Spice Lovers

Headed up by chef Chet Sharama, BiBi celebrates the diverse dishes and flavours from the Indian subcontinent. All the spices are sourced from India, from green cardamom to garam masala, while the team works with several British suppliers to source meat and seasonal ingredients. For £75, lunch consists of the chef’s set menu, which changes regularly, but could include dishes like chukh masala Cornish lobster, aged lamb barra kebabs and Lahori chicken. If you need a post-lunch pick-me-up, make sure to stop by the bar for a cold-brew oolong tea.  

Visit BibiRestaurants.com

Leroy, Shoreditch
Leroy, Shoreditch

Leroy, Shoreditch

Best For Bistro Vibes

Leroy is a Parisian-inspired bistro and wine bar from sommelier and restaurateur Ed Thaw. Right in the centre of Shoreditch, Leroy has made its name as one of the capital’s original modern bistros, blending a wine-focused approach with a menu of ingredient-led small plates with French notes. A notable wine list features over 400 bottles, offering both classic options and more eclectic wines from small-scale natural and biodynamic producers. Taking cues from Ed’s travels across France, Leroy places hospitality at the centre of the dining experience, creating a space for dinners to linger over a meal, listening to vinyl records and sampling its extensive wine list. Alongside à la carte, Leroy offers a lunchtime set menu Tuesday to Friday. Recent dishes have included devilled eggs, smoked eel, crispy chicken wings with sweetcorn, and barbecued lamb chops with sweetbread and goats curd.

Visit LeroyShoreditch.com

Chez Roux, Marylebone

Best For Classic Cooking

Last month, Michel Roux Jr opened Chez Roux in Palm Court at The Langham. If you never made it to Le Gavroche – or you miss it immensely – this is your chance to sample the chef’s food once more. The restaurant is inspired by Michel’s childhood memories: life in rural Kent in the 1960s, being raised at the Fairlawne estate where his father Albert worked as a private chef for the Cazalet family; and the first menus from Le Gavroche in 1967. Guests can look forward to Roux’s take on Welsh rarebit, rich with stout, Montgomery cheddar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and pickled walnut. There’s also ‘lamb chops reform’, inspired by Alexis Soyer’s classic 1830s recipe, and grilled lobster with garlic butter, fries and béarnaise – one of Michel’s all-time favourite dishes, and something he remembers enjoying at Le Gavroche as a child.

Visit LanghamHotels.com

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