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Corinthia Hotel, Whitehall Place, SW1A 2BD
Tel: 020 7321 3100
BEST FOR Privacy with atmosphere
When the Corinthia (finally) opened its doors earlier this year, all attention was on Massimo, the first of its two restaurants to open. Now The Northall is serving up a thoroughly British menu with Garry Hollihead, formely of L’Escargot, Les Saveurs, Embassy and Grosvenor House Dubai, in the kitchen (he’s also in charge of banqueting). The restaurant space is divided into informal and formal dining rooms – a useful pair for private events – connected by an open finishing kitchen (pictured), available for cheese tasting with wines from the Enomatic system. There are two spaces suitable for smaller groups: the 20-seater semi-private Gallery on the mezzanine level overlooking the restaurant and the Dining Room for up to 24 guests, secreted away behind a curtain. We’ll be booking in for a high tea of gourmet cheese and mustard scones, sausage rolls and potted shrimp, served between 5pm and 7pm.
Private dining rooms: 20, 24 Exclusive use: 185
du Vin Soho
36 Dean Street, W1D 4PS
Tel: 020 7432 4800
BEST FOR Entertaining wine lovers
Spring’s opening of Bistro du Vin Clerkenwell set a promising template for the hotel chain’s new stand-alone restaurants. BdV Soho continues in the same vein, with slick interior design that stays just the right side of bistro kitsch, featuring taupe granite, coral and stone tones, olive banquettes and solid oak tables. The menu holds no surprises, majoring on top-quality meat and fish from the Josper grill. There are two spaces for group dining: the semi-private Salon, for up to 28 seated, and the glass-walled Private Wine Room, for up to six. As you’d expect of a Hotel du Vin product, the wine selection is an oenophile’s dream – there’s even an on-trend by-the-glass dispensing machine. And the cheese… the cheese… There are 70 to choose from, in a dedicated cheese cave. Dive in.
Private dining rooms: 6, 28 Exclusive use: 80
Giraffe Bar & Grill
11 Frith Street, W1D 4RB
Tel: 020 7494 3491
BEST FOR Casual company get-togethers
The Soho Giraffe marks a slight change of direction for the famously family-friendly chain. Gone is the lurid orange colour scheme, in comes a touch of edgy red neon downstairs, and aged tiles and leather booths in the bright and airy upstairs area. Party food is a strong point here – it’s the first Giraffe to have a Robata grill, and there are great flatbreads too. Hidden at the back is a sizeable private space, the Red Room, with a drop-down screen for presentations (or sporting events) and space for 80 seated or 100 standing guests.
Private dining room: 80 Exclusive use: 225
45 Park Lane, W1K 1PN
Tel: 020 7493 4554
BEST FOR Expense account steak suppers
It’s a big-hitting London debut for A-list pizza-pusher Wolfgang Puck. Housed in the Dorchester Collection’s boutique opening, CUT at 45 Park Lane sticks to the high-end steakhouse formula that has been winning fans and awards stateside. Impeccably sourced beef, chargrilled and broiled American-style, is the reason to come, though there’s a line-up of seafood and some mean desserts if you’ve still got room. Sensibly, the restaurant will only be serving groups of up to six for the first few months, but we’re told reservations for larger groups will be taken in the new year.
Private dining room: n/a Exclusive use: 76
Bread Street Kitchen
One New Change, St Paul’s, EC4M 9AF
Tel: 020 7592 1616
BEST FOR Impressing City clients
The Ramsay roadshow rolls on with the late September launch of Bread Street Kitchen in the sparkling One New Change development near St Paul’s. Going head to head with Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa just next door, the new arrival is easy on the eye and crowd-pleasing on the menu, which is in the trusty hands of Stuart Gillies. This slicked-up Manhattan brasserie with the usual swagger serves fish, flesh and other goodies from the wood-burning oven and grill plus a ‘raw bar’ offering home-cured charcuterie. There are no private dining facilities, but exclusive-hire events can be accommodated.
Private Dining Room: n/a Exclusive use: 400
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events, Autumn 2011.