From a cult New York Chinese joint to a rooftop conservatory, we’ve road-tested some of London’s newest spots for group dining
Food is at the fore of this everyone’s-talking-about-it offshoot from the Sager + Wilde team
Best for Dimly-lit gatherings with foodie friends (or clients you really like)
On the menu Sure, there’s a 250-strong wine list, and sure, we could work our way through it delightedly, but it’s the food at Fare that deserves the trip out east.
Head chef Thomas Raymond (previously of Ellroy) produces British-via-the-Mediterranean dishes from the kitchen’s grill with serious aplomb. On our visit, smoked anchovies and peppers; potatoes with brown butter hollandaise, trout roe and leeks; and whole grilled plaice with curry butter made it to the top of our ‘2018’s dream dishes’ list. Groups sharing menus, however, sound just as accomplished: dishes jump from fried chickpea panisse and smoked tomato aioli, to whole flame-grilled mackerel with pomegranate chermoula and poached liquorice fig with dark chocolate sorbet.
We loved The difference between the two floors of the industrial-style space. Upstairs, cocktails are on tap meaning groups don’t have to wait for their en-masse orders to be shaken. They’re not run-of-the-mill either – think Green Apple Spritz, Rum & Coconut and Nitro Espresso Martinis – and snacks can be ordered to soak them up. Downstairs is where more formal gatherings should happen – candles, hanging greenery and a central skylight take this space from underground haunt to exclusive den.
Details Groups of up to 70 can take over the basements space for dining, while upstairs, 75 guests can enjoy standing affairs.
The NYC original has a cult following. Now, its famous dim sum is flooding London Instagram feeds
Best for Fun gatherings of guests who like their food fun
On the menu Prawn dim sum in the shape of Pac-Man? Of course. Cheeseburger spring rolls? Naturally. A soup dumpling with a straw in it? Yes – the menu at Red Farm is a far cry from traditional Chinese, but with a cult following already across the pond, we don’t doubt its London sibling will follow. Lucky for groups, said snap-friendly dishes (which are also delicious) are on the group menus as well as some of our other favourites: spicy crispy beef has no tricks up its sleeves (it's so good it doesn’t need any), while shrimp-stuffed chicken is a revelation.
We loved The location. Snuck just off Covent Garden Piazza it’s a great spot for parties coming from all across town, and with the event space on the first floor, groups can enjoy the view of the hustle below at a safe –and private – distance.
Details Groups of 20 or more can take over a whole floor for dinner (minimum spends apply). Already got a space sorted? The team can also deliver food for parties – just give them 72hrs notice.
The famed Asian restaurant group’s first London outpost has opened a private dining room and events space in its basement – and Happy Toast is still on the menu
Best for Casual dinner parties where guests get stuck in with the sharing-styled food
On the menu Guests have been marvelling at the exciting DIY Thai dishes and spamming Instagram feeds with the Happy Toast pudding (golden brioche toast next to the word ‘happy’ spelled out in flour on the plate) ever since Greyhound opened earlier this year. The Happy Toast is, in fact, very good with the option of completely drenching it in delicious sauces such as caramel, sweetened condensed milk and Thai tea custard. Elsewhere, the private dining feasting menu showcases some of the group’s most celebrated dishes and are distinctly messy (if you don’t want to ruin your favourite dress, maybe opt for a bib). Complicated noodles require you to stack your own dish and nearly all dishes are meant for eating with your hands. It’s all good stuff, though, transporting you to Thai street food heaven. The rarely seen Mor Fai – hot and sour tom yum soup with prawn ravioli and river prawns, served in a big pot for sharing – is especially enjoyable.
We loved The extensive cocktail list, featuring Greyhound’s signature spirit, Mekhong. Be warned, they’re dangerous, so make sure to line your stomach before you start drinking. The restaurant also offers the 2ft-high DIY Chang Beer Tower, which allows guests to pour their own drinks at the table. The basement is inspired by the neon-lit drinking dens that line the back alleys of Thailand’s buzzy capital, so there is an undisputed party vibe to the room – more intimate nightclub than sophisticated PDR.
Details The basement private dining room and events space can seat up to 24, but fit up to 40 standing.
B&H Garden Room, Charing Cross
Bourne & Hollingsworth has set up shop at the top of a West End hotel – and groups can dine with a side of skyline
Best for Boozy dinner parties with a focus on cocktails (and views)
On the menu Food is not the forte at the new Bourne & Hollingsworth offering, but that’s in comparison to its cocktails. Sharing plates of Spanish charcuterie or mezze keep things casual and family-style, while more standalone dishes such as salmon tartare, grilled prawn and chestnut mushroom skewers, parmesan chicken schnitzel and slow-cooked lamb make three-coursers substantial and hearty affairs. And that’s a good thing, as it’s the cocktail list that will take a thrashing with groups here. The guys at B&H have stuck to their strong suit and turn out their trademark mixes deftly. Old Fashioneds are upgraded to Gold Fashioneds (the homemade truffle muscavado syrup is a game changer) and garnishes are photo-worthy (think kitschy, edible images of fruit).
We loved The positioning of the PDR. Although the whole space (which is, in true B&H style, kitted out in wicker furniture and plenty of foliage) has cracking views, the private dining room sits at its far end, and looks right over St Martin-in-the-Fields church, to the London Eye and across to the South Bank. Pick a clear day and your guests won’t be able to resist the photo opps.
Details The private dining space is sectioned off from the rest of the restaurant with a floor-to-ceiling gate-like divider, and can seat up to 22 guests for lunch or dinner.