We are going to be real for a second, no one really enjoys Turkey. A bold statement perhaps, but one that definitely rings true in a lot of households nowadays. Sure on Christmas day when we are all faced with a ginormous Turkey we all tuck in because it would be silly not to. The prospects of eating the leftovers (and there are always leftovers) for the next three days at every meal however, is pretty grim.
So we think, why not do something completely different this Christmas? Ditch the dry bird and go for a Christmas dinner alternative instead. Whether you still stick to a traditional meat and try lamb or beef, or change things up completely and opt for seafood instead, is up to you but we're pretty confident that whatever you plump for will be a welcome break from the usual festive fare.
Regardless of what you decide to do, we have put together a list of London restaurants serving turkey alternatives. Instead of sticking to traditional British cuisine, we’ve going completely rouge with a choice of different cuisines instead. All these options won’t leave you short changed and will still put you in the Christmas mood, regardless of what is served up. All we know is turkey is definitely out.
Why: The cavernous dimensions of London’s third and newest Nobu mean you can let your hair down at your Christmas party without worrying what diners on the next table will think. Nobu’s platters of sushi and sashimi and plates of Peruvian-meets-Japanese tacos are great for groups to share, while the iconic dishes such as black cod with miso or yellowtail with jalapeño are bound to impress Nobu first-timers. The huge bar area is a great place to get the party started and continue the celebrations after your meal.
Where: 10-50 Willow Street, EC2A 4BH
Why: The first solo restaurant from Spanish chef Nieves Barragan Mohacho is most famous for its downstairs tapas counter, but the upstairs Asador dining room is every bit as good – and better for groups who don’t mind sitting on stools at the high tables. Spanish classics such as runny tortilla and paprika-dusted octopus are present and correct but the house speciality of whole suckling pig is perfect for the table to share at Christmas. A choice of cavas will add sparkle to any party.
Where: 35 Heddon Street, W1B 4BS
Why: If you’re an office or family of serious foodies, James Lowe’s Shoreditch restaurant – one Michelin star and number 38 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List, no less – should definitely be on your radar. The new Nordic style of minimalism is a strong influence on both the stark look of the place and the clean presentation of the dishes, but the Christmas cooking couldn’t be more British, even if you’ve never heard of some of the ingredients.
Where: The Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ
Why: London’s pair of Yauatchas made their name with dim sum, but the menus now take on a broader Cantonese repertoire with the likes of sweet and sour pork and scallop stir-fry. Still, dim sum is what the place is best for; we’d suggest you order at least double so everyone gets to try one of everything. If you’re booking a Christmas lunch, the light-filled City branch has views over Broadgate Circle; for dinner, we like the sultry nightclub vibe downstairs at the Soho original.
Where: Broadgate Circle, EC2M 2QS; 15-17 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DL
Why: As one of the most iconic Indian restaurants in the city, The Cinnamon Club perfectly fuses fine dining concepts with traditional curries and Indian cooking methods. The stunning library setting during the festive season is definitely worth a visit and the menu includes classic festive ingredients with an Indian twist. Cured salmon jhal muri, clove roast goose breast biryani with tamarind sauce and sticky toffee pudding with cinnamon ice cream from the Christmas menu are definitely a change from the traditional, but you won’t miss a roast after this.
Where: The Old Westminster Library, SW1P 3BU
Why: Famous for its incredible park views and luxurious setting, a lavish banquet at Min Jiang is definitely on par, if not better than a traditional turkey roast no matter what time of year. Since you’ll be eating off its Christmas menu expect to find lobster hot and sour soup, steamed Dover sole and a short rib of beef before finishing it off with a Valrhona chocolate slice. Min Jiang throws all conventional Christmas ingredients out of the window but after seven courses of Chinese goodness you’ll forget all about the turkey.
Where: 2-24 Kensington High Street, W8 4PT
Why: This luxurious Antolian restaurant, located in where other than Mayfair, specialises in small plates making its version of a Christmas dinner a sharing affair filled with meaty dishes and grilled vegetables. Chargrilled peppers, baby squid, beef tartare and halibut feature on the menu. There is also the option of roast turkey although Turkish cuisine isn’t best known for its roast turkey contributions to the world so we recommend sticking to what they do best.
Where: 30 Upper Grosvenor Street, W1K 7PH
Why: Meat-over-fire specialist Temper has been a favourite on the London food scene for a while now and since good quality meat is its speciality you’ll find a lot of it on the Christmas menu this year. From goat tacos to beef or steak with tomato and red onion salsa or lamb with parsley, anchovy and lemon sauce, avoiding the turkey is pretty easy on this menu, although if you really must have it the turkey tacos aren’t your conventional boring roast.
Where: 25 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DF;2 Angel Court, 30 Throgmorton Street, EC2R 7HJ; 5 Mercer Walk, Mercers Yard, WC2H 9FA
Why: Lobster just screams luxury, and when you’re going out for a Christmas celebration (most of the time) luxury is on the agenda. If you plan on indulging but don’t want the stuffy and boring energy that some fancy restaurants in the city bring, the Burger and Lobster menu is the one to go for. Featuring variations of the fancy shell fish for each course as well as calamari and beef carpaccio, you might want to start a Christmas lobster tradition.
Where: 37-41 Bedford Row, WC1R 4JH
Why: Savile Row may be best known for its high class suit shops and tailors, but almost exactly in the middle of the iconic street, the elegant Italian restaurant offers up traditional delights for Christmas. Featuring the likes of veal, tuna carpaccio, lasagne and roasted sea bass, an Italian Christmas really does sound appealing.
Where: 20 Savile Row, W1S 3PR
Why: This fine dining Greek restaurant in Fitzrovia does classic Greek dishes with a modern twist, from sea bream carpaccio to keftedes – Greek meat balls – you can even order a celebration leg of lamb if you are planning on going to Meraki with a big group of people. Greek food may not be your stereotypical Christmas cuisine choice but it definitely should be from now on.
Where: 80-82 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7QT
Why: For an intimate and unforgettable Christmas dinner experience, Simon Rogan’s immersive chef’s table at Aulis London is sure to tick all the boxes with keen epicureans. At the eight-seater table guests will marvel at multiple courses of innovative dishes, served directly from Rogan’s test kitchen by two of his dedicated chefs. The set menu includes prestige wine pairing, as well as tea & coffee.
Where: 16a St Anne’s Court, W1F 0BF
Why: Roganic’s ever-changing menus promise unconventional but remarkable dishes inspired by the best British produce that winter has to offer. Special Christmas additions to the menu include an ambiguous chicken, cranberry and celery snack as well as a festive cocktail blending ginger ale and angostura bitters with their very own pine-infused gin.
Where: 5-7 Blandford St, W1U 3DB
Why: True to form, the team behind the acclaimed restaurant group Kricket have devised a Christmas menu that sees familiar festive ingredients given an innovative Indian twist. Menus vary between sites but are all dishes are designed to be shared and include the likes of juicy venison kebabs with pomegranate molasses, horseradish and smoked raita; and tandoori Hispi Cabbage with chestnut and moilee. The main event is a show stopping goose vindaloo accompanied by a Brussel sprout thoran and pork & sage paranthas.
Where: 101 Wood Lane, W12 7FR; 12 Denman Street, W1D 7HH; 41-43 Atlantic Road, SW9 8JL
Now you've got dinner sorted, if you're in need of more Christmas party planning guidance, take a peek at our guide