For those who want to experience kitchen life during a busy service, Pimlico’s A Wong has the perfect seats. Sitting just centimetres away from the kitchen, the eponymous Michelin-starred Andrew will be on hand to talk you through any questions that you might have about the ingredients. Another plus? Only those with access to these seats get to try his new dishes before they reach the main menu. Expect a celebration of Cantonese traditional dishes, deftly cooked via a range of influences from the food and flavours found across many of the contrasting Chinese provinces.
70 Wilton Road, Pimlico, SW1V 1DE
Located in Japan House, a slickly designed three-floor space in an Art-Deco building on Kensington High Street, Akira is an immersive Japanese restaurant. A fine-dining robatayaki and sushi restaurant, here guests are immersed in Japanese-style omotenashi hospitality in a space designed to recreate doma (a Japanese sense of place and home). The best seats in the house are those around the kitchen, where guests can watch the chefs prepare sushi and cook wagyu over roaring robata flames. We can’t think of a sleeker spot to organise a saké-fuelled group get-together. What’s more, guests can purchase the restaurant’s covetable crockery downstairs in the homeware department.
101-111 Kensington High Street, Kensington, W8 5SA
Perched at the top of South Place Hotel, Angler is a Michelin-starred restaurant with a beautiful rooftop terrace, showcasing sustainable seafood from British waters. The Chef’s View – Angler’s semi private dining room – is the top spot for intimate dinners, where its name does exactly what it suggests. At the far end of the restaurant is Angler Terrace, an open-air space with a bar, where pre-dinner G&Ts are a must (a retractable roof and blankets make an appearance if the weather turns). In the summer, this west-facing space is perfect for soaking the afternoon sun.
3 South Place, Moorgate, EC2M 2AF
Dinings SW3 specialises in an evolved Izakaya-style of cooking, incorporating authentic Japanese and European dishes to create delicious small plates in a relaxed atmosphere. Exec chef Masaki Sugisaki and his team have developed a style of sushi and sashimi that changes with the seasons using the freshest seafood from Cornish day boats, while also making use of the Josper oven to create a range of Sumiyaki dishes. SW3 offers a much larger site than its original restaurant in Marylebone, with two dining bars, a mezzanine that seats up to 24 and a private courtyard. It’s the former that offers those views into the kitchen and allows for interactions with the chefs.
Lennox Gardens Mews, Chelsea, SW3 2JH
The Blue Posts dates back to 1739 and combines three floors of drinking and dining. Recently reopened by the siblings behind The Palomar, The Barbary and Jacob the Angel, the space we love the most is Evelyn’s Table, an intimate kitchen bar serving seasonal Italian cuisine with a focus on locally sourced fish. The restaurant is warm and informal, and plates are passed straight from the range to guests across a marble counter seating just 11. Chef Luke Robinson’s menu is naturally seasonal: expect the likes of cured monkfish, Sicilian tomatoes, avocado and coriander oil; and rack of lamb with anchovies and pickled hops.
28 Rupert Street, Chinatown, W1D 6DJ
Tucked away at the back of Bubbledogs is a 20-seater Kitchen Table. Here, head chef James Knappett and his team host intimate dinners with a daily-changing 12-course menu, made with meticulously sourced and foraged British ingredients. Kitchen Table was awarded a Michelin star in 2014, followed by a second Michelin star in 2018. Guests can see Knappett and his team prepare, serve, and talk diners through a tasting menu of contemporary European cooking that bears many of the hallmarks of Knappett’s time at Noma, but with a strong focus on British traditions, ingredients and flavours.
70 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 4QQ
Ben Murphy joined renowned Launceston Place as head chef in 2017 following positions at The Berkeley under his mentor Pierre Koffmann, three-Michelin-starred Le Bristol in Paris, Mayfair’s two-starred Greenhouse and The Woodford, where he was awarded BBC Good Food’s ‘chef to watch’. To experience his cooking up close, guests should book for the chef’s table, which seats up to 12 and offers both a three-course and seven-course menu (for £60pp or £79pp respectively). Guests will be served by the chefs themselves and head sommelier Maciej Lyko (one of our favourites in London) will provide a selection of paired wines.
1a Launceston Place, Kensington, W8 5RL
Stem is a three AA Rosette restaurant set in a beautiful Grade II-listed townhouse just off Regent Street. The kitchen offers both à la carte and tasting menus showcasing seasonal dishes – think steamed leek with Jerusalem artichoke and truffle dressing and sea bream with bouillabaisse and squid ink risotto. For the closest encounter, a chef's table is available for up to six people. Here, the full restaurant experience is replicated on a smaller scale, serving an extended tasting menu in an immersive atmosphere.
5 Princes Street, Mayfair, W1B 2LF
Angela Hartnett’s Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant Murano celebrated its tenth birthday last year. Since opening a decade ago, Angela and her team have created a memorable yet informal experience for guests. The restaurant’s modern Italian menu, which allows the diner to choose any number of dishes in the order they choose, reflects this ethos. The private room, seating up to 12 guests, features a retractable curtain and a window offering a direct view into the kitchen. For those wanting a more interactive experience, Angela and her team will devise a tasting with matching wines as part of a chef’s table experience.
Queen Street, Mayfair, W1J 5PP