Autumn is well and truly upon us, bringing with it colder days, darker nights and showers of rain. But there is an upside. Cold weather means getting cosy once you’re indoors, and what better way to do that than by enjoying some warming food and drink by a roaring open fire? Check out our pick of the best London restaurants and pubs with real log and coal fires below.
The Albion, Islington
What: Although better known for its wisteria-covered garden, The Albion is also worth a visit during the winter months, thanks to its roaring fire. Settle in to the comfy furnishings with a beer or cider and tuck in to hearty pub classics that will satisfy your appetite. Pick from the likes of beer-battered fish & chips, or perhaps Cumberland sausages with gravy and mash. Desserts, meanwhile, include sticky toffee pudding with honeycomb ice cream.
Where: 10 Thornhill Road, N1 1HW
Beach Blanket Babylon, Notting Hill
What: Unashamedly OTT and a favourite of the Made In Chelsea cast, the original Beach Blanket Babylon boasts multiple fireplaces to snuggle up in front of. Pick from the gothic crypt, or the drawing room, and peruse a menu which is just as decadent as the decor. Options include seafood linguine featuring mussels, squid and prawn, and honey-and-chilli-glazed crispy duck, served with jasmine rice.
Where: 45 Ledbury Road, W11 2AA
Cambio de Tercio, South Kensington
What: Patio doors that open onto Old Brompton Road might make Cambio de Tercio an unbeatable ray of Spanish sunshine in summer but the South Ken restaurant is also a cosy spot over the winter months thanks to a roaring fire. Patatas bravas filled with spicy tomato and alioli, and gazpacho involving tomato ‘water’ cherry sorbet, cod brandade and cristal bread are typical of the cocina nueva approach of the sophisticated kitchen.
Where: 163 Old Brompton Road, SW5 0LJ
Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden
What: Known as one of the most romantic restaurants in London, it seems that diners aren’t the only ones getting hot and steamy at this high-end French, where both the dining room and blossom-filled conservatory boast log fires in the winter months. There’s a huge wine list to explore, while the menu of indulgent French classics includes oven-roasted free-range chicken leg stuffed with duck foie gras and morels.
Where: 33 King Street, WC2E 8JD
Ealing Park Tavern, Ealing
What: This spacious neighbourhood gastropub serves up an adventurous seasonal British menu alongside by-the-glass wines, bitters and pale ales. We’d recommend sitting by the fire while tucking into the Tavern’s delicious Sunday roast, including options of beef, chicken or pork, all served with duck-fat roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, roasted root vegetables, and lashings of gravy.
Where: 222 South Ealing Road, W5 4RL
GBR at Dukes London, St James’s
What: Best known for the legendary Dukes Bar, the old-school St James’s hotel is also home to the GBR restaurant, which celebrates the best of British ingredients and dishes. Top shouts include the flaky fish & chips, and the nostalgia-inducing dessert of jam-roly poly. If the menu of traditional British comfort food served in hearty portions wasn’t warming enough, there’s an open fire to keep things snug.
Where: Little St James’s Street, SW1A 1NS
The Grapes, Limehouse
What: This historic riverside boozer (which is old enough to have featured in Samuel Pepys’ diary and Charles Dickens’ novel Our Mutual Friend) is definitely one for the traditionalists, and that means a flaming fire comes as standard. We’re also fans of the fact there are no TVs, and we love the old-school dishes on the menu too, which includes the Sir Ian Shepherd’s Pie, a nod to the pub’s current owner, actor Sir Ian McKellen.
Where: 76 Narrow Street, E14 8BP
The Gun, Docklands
What: If you’re planning a group outing this autumn, why not feast at The Gun’s Red Room (not of the 50 Shade’s variety). It features an open fire and a belt-busting menu including the likes of stewed beef cobbler with a cheese and onion crumble, and sweet potato terrine with celeriac purée, pomegranate pickled radish and watercress salad.
Where: 27 Coldharbour, E14 9NS
Scarfe’s Bar, Holborn
What: Named in honour of political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, whose satirical works hang on the walls, this bar has character in spades thanks to its swinging soundtrack, velvet armchairs and open fire. The highlight is the whisky selection and the punchy, properly mixed cocktails, with sips such as the Amy Winehouse-inspired Back to Black (which blends Don Julio Blanco, blue Maori tea, spiced piloncillo and clarified milk) causing a stir.
Where: 252 High Holbo
Thomas’s Café at Burberry, Mayfair
What: Restaurants inside shops are usually the place for last-resort dining, but this eatery inside London’s flagship Burberry store is rather chic, and has a few tables at the back of its dining room near the flaming Aga. We’d recommend visiting for brunch, and making the most of a menu which includes fluffy buttermilk pancakes topped with yoghurt, honey and seasonal fruit.
Where: 5 Vigo Street, W1S 3HA
For more autumnal eating inspiration, have a browse of our pick of the best Sunday roasts in the capital