Best restaurants for business

Looking for a restaurant for a business dinner in London? We’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to, and compiled a handy list of the best restaurants in London for a business dinner. Whatever your budget or taste, SquareMeal is here to help, with a selection of the best restaurants for business meetings both large and small. Read on for our pick of the best London restaurants for clinching those deals.

Updated on 03 September 2018

Cecconi

Cecconi's Mayfair

5a Burlington Gardens, London, London, W1S 3EP

Brooklyn, Berlin, Barcelona, Miami – Cecconi’s has been shipped all over the world to great fanfare, but the original Cecconi’s Mayfair still holds a special allure for readers (and ourselves). Occupying a corner site on Burlington Gardens, the set-up is “faultless from the minute you walk in”: the decor “oozes class and sophistication”, while tuned-in staff can “answer any question”. Soft lighting, green leather chairs and zebra-striped floors radiate from a constantly buzzing bar, so settle in for a superb Italian-style aperitif before diving into the Venetian-inspired menu. The kitchen keeps things generous and gloriously simple, from perfectly crispy calamari fritti with lemon aïoli or zesty salmon tartare to rib-eye with broccoli and chilli or crab ravioli with perfect bite in a “sunshine” baby tomato sauce. Tables are at a premium, but spaces are always held at the bar, where you can pop in for a few rounds of Prosecco on tap while nibbling on cichetti. The vibe at Cecconi’s Mayfair varies with the crowd and the time of day – from hedge-fund lunches to weekend shopping treats and “testosterone-fuelled” Saturday jollies, not forgetting winningly enjoyable breakfasts. 

£50 - £79
Italian
£30 - £49
Sushisamba City

Sushisamba City

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate (38-39th floor), London, London, EC2N 4AY

“It’s all about the experience” at Sushisamba, from the moment the lightning-quick glass elevator whisks you up to the 38th floor of the Heron Tower. Once inside, you can’t miss the incredible floor-to-ceiling views or the covens of noisy young City types splashing serious amounts of cash at the bar. The “fabulous atmosphere” spills over into the restaurant, where the menu promises a thrilling fusion of Japanese and Latino cuisine – from shrimp tempura with snap pea julienne, spicy mayo and black truffle vinaigrette to refreshing crispy lobster taquitos with avocado, aji amarillo, jalapeños and morado. Other standouts on our list include the multi-coloured sushi rolls, sweet potato noodles served with egg yolk and gold shavings, and a drool-worthy chocolate banana cake with maple butter, plantain chip and rum-spiked ice cream. Samba music blasts from the speakers, while innumerable staff are on hand to deliver “the best service ever”. It’s not everyone’s cup of saké, but high-octane Sushisamba is spot-on for City revellers with deep pockets.

£50 - £79
South American
Japanese
Hide Ground

Hide Ground

85 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7NB

The latest venture of wunderkind chef Ollie Dabbous certainly lives up to its name. Despite its vast dimensions, occupying three storeys, Hide is easy to miss thanks to a discreet exterior featuring barely visible signage and a door that blends into the wall. Plenty of folk have already discovered it, mind: just look through the large windows and you’ll see a full complement of foodies, influencers and Mayfair suits tucking in to platefuls of visually arresting dishes – helping to confirm that this is one of 2018’s most talked-about openings.

 

With its three separate spaces, Hide aims to cater for all – or at least all who can afford it. Below is a cocktail bar overseen by long-time Dabbous collaborator, Oskar Kinberg; Above is the most formal room, where all diners must order the tasting menu. Between them is Ground: a more accessible, slightly more affordable all-day British restaurant. Taking centre stage here is the swirling oak staircase that connects all three floors, with the dining room’s brown colour scheme and oak furnishings providing neutral back-up.

 

Switched on, friendly staff suggest starting the meal with grazing dishes such as fried quisquilla prawns – so soft and delicate you don’t even have to remove their shells (though we opted to). To follow, both our starters impressed: a zesty, super-sweet crab tartlet given extra freshness by kaffir lime and smooth chunks of avocado; and a creamy burrata successfully paired with ripe apricot. Equally diverting was a main course of barbecued ibérico pork, elevated by slices of peach to produce a challenging yet effective contrast of textures.

 

After dipping into the colossal wine list (a truly exhaustive selection), move on to desserts: a treat for the eyes as much as the taste buds. Thrill to the likes of raspberry-flecked ice cream served on a bed of hay clouded by dry ice; or deconstructed strawberry millefeuille with pastry shaped like maple leaves.

 

There’s a palpable sense of occasion that goes along with dining here, and the accompanying feeling of exclusivity might lead some to limit this to a ‘one and done’ experience. That would be a pity, though: Hide needs to be seen to be believed.

 

£50 - £79
British
Afternoon tea
The Square

The Square

6-10 Bruton Street, London, London, W1J 6PU

18 months after he bought The Square from chef Philip Howard and restaurateur Nigel Platts-Martin, Marlon Abela has put his own stamp on the famous Mayfair restaurant, re-opening it following a refurb and with a new chef. Clément Leroy has spent time in the kitchens of French legends such as Guy Savoy in Paris and has presumably been tasked with winning back the second Michelin star that evaporated when Howard left. Abela has said that The Square is “a modern take on haute cuisine”, which means that butter and cream are out and umami and a light touch are in over a four course à la carte (£95) or seven-course tasting menu (£110). Thus smoked Lincolnshire eel comes with caviar, potato and watercress (superbly subtle), red mullet is treated to a delicate Asian twist with aubergine, shiitake and Sarawak pepper, saddle of lamb gets its seasoning from razor clams and seaweed butter, while the flavour of salt-baked pineapple is amplified by salted butter ice-cream. This is top-flight cooking, to be sure, underscored by a deeply impressive Franco-Italian wine list that extends to almost 2,000 bins – but there was a sense of fun lacking on our visit; as at The Square of old, this sombrely furnished space remains a restaurant better tailored to a suited clientele on expenses than food-loving diners with personal accounts.

 

Over £80
French
One michelin star
Sartoria

Sartoria

20 Savile Row, London, London, W1S 3PR

Time moves relatively slowly when it comes to Mayfair’s classic restaurants, and Sartoria’s thorough refurb (along with the arrival of chef/patron Francesco Mazzei from L’Anima) is still news on Savile Row. The place now looks pin-sharp, of course, if a little stately with its heavy furniture and hotel-neutral palette – although Mazzei’s emphatically “wonderful” cooking elevates the experience to something approaching “faultless”, with back-up from an “incredible” wine list. He’s not afraid of simplicity, stuffing romanesco peppers with salt cod or pairing brown and white crab with green apple and pickled radish. Like his well-dressed patrons, he’s not averse to the luxurious, either: try Grana Padano risotto with saffron and duck livers, generous veal milanese for two, or slow-roasted Black Pig belly with pickled vegetables and black pudding. To finish, insist on zabaglione – think of it as keeping a craft skill alive, not drinking a bowl of expensive custard. Meanwhile, in the late-licence bar, it’s snacks and Negronis a go-go.

£50 - £79
Italian
Spring

Spring

Somerset House, Lancaster Place, London, London, WC2R 1LA

A charming addition to historic Somerset House, Spring showcases the considerable culinary talents of Skye Gyngell, who rose to foodie fame with a Michelin star at Petersham Nurseries Café. Her cooking puts impeccably sourced native ingredients centre stage in a seasonal menu that never fails to delight, and readers are full of praise for her “fabulous” but disarmingly simple dishes – perhaps delicate queen scallops coated in velvety lemon butter, grilled lamb with farro, cavolo nero and braised radicchio or perfectly moist guinea fowl accompanied by hearty seasonal greens and an indulgent corn and truffle sauce. Italian influences are evident alongside wider Mediterranean touches – think ricotta dumplings with spaghetti squash and spigarello or a zesty sorbet made with mandarins grown on Mount Etna. Spring’s elegant setting elevates dinner to a special occasion, with the Grade II-listed space transformed into an airy oasis of calm, where staff in pale uniforms deliver “knowledgeable, cosy and personal service”. Other plus points include the carefully assembled wine list, bespoke seasonal drinks and a little leafy atrium. “A real cut above the norm”, declares one fan.  

£50 - £79
Modern European
Chutney Mary

Chutney Mary

73 St James's Street, London, London, SW1A 1PH

£50 - £79
Indian
Sexy Fish

Sexy Fish

Berkeley Square House, Mayfair, London, W1J 6BR

£50 - £79
Fish
The Game Bird at The Stafford London

The Game Bird at The Stafford London

The Stafford London, 16-18 St James’s Place , London, SW1A 1NJ

£50 - £79
British
Social Eating House

Social Eating House

58 Poland Street, London, London, W1F 7NR

“Great food, informal and fun” sums up Social Eating House, Jason Atherton’s regularly rammed Soho outpost – a noisy Michelin-starred hangout that mixes cool-dude vibes and moody lighting with cooking that bears all the chef and restaurateur’s culinary hallmarks. Chef/patron Paul Hood (previously at Atherton’s flagship, Pollen Street Social) oversees proceedings day-to-day and his seasonal menu shows a trademark commitment to native sourcing as well as a fondness for all things creative and cheffy – we’re huge fans of the mushrooms and toast, a richly flavoured, artful melee punctuated with pickled girolles, creamy cep purée and onion marmalade. In a very British twist on steak tartare, tender chunks of Buccleuch Black Angus are paired with beetroot, horseradish and egg-yolk jam, while baked Cornish hake is served with hispi cabbage gratin and textured slices of Tokyo turnip laced with saffron. Simpler pleasures range from aged native-breed steaks with triple-cooked duck-fat chips to the addictive mac ‘n’ cheese with chanterelles and luscious sundaes for afters. Social Eating House’s well-curated wine list and spot-on cocktails are further pluses, while staff are hip, happy and on point (well, most of the time). 

£50 - £79
Modern European
One michelin star
M Threadneedle Street

M Threadneedle Street

2-3 Threadneedle Walk, 60 Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8HP

£50 - £79
Steak
Bife

Bife

40-42 Middlesex Street, London, E1 7EX

The Square Mile is fuelled by steak but this newcomer has a warmth and homeliness often absent from the City’s more corporate-focused steakhouses. This has less to do with the standard-issue  masculine, moody interior – think dark wood tables and deep red leather banquettes – and a lot to do with the incredibly friendly staff. The restaurant is run by a team of three brothers who’ll greet you like an old friend and perhaps even take shots with you at the end of your meal.

 

Free-range prime Argentinian beef arrives from a central charcoal grill as marbled, smoky ribeye and lean and tender rump, among other cuts. Pep up your steak with sauces such as béarnaise or chimichurri and add sides such as sweet potato fries and mac ‘n’ cheese. It’s not all about the steaks though, with other options including chicken escalope with salsa and cheese, slow-cooked short ribs and a peppering of veggie and vegan dishes such as grilled aubergine with brown miso, couscous, chilli and spinach.

 

Fiendishly sugary desserts include Nutella-stuffed crêpes topped with vanilla ice cream and heavenly dulce de leche, while the Argentinean-focused wine list has a good showing of Malbec. There’s a G&T menu too, featuring 16 different kinds of gin.

 

Reasonable pricing, a buzzy atmosphere and a handy location just a few minutes’ walk from Liverpool Street make Bife a worthy City pit stop for a steak, and is a restaurant where you’ll truly feel welcomed, whether you’re suited and booted or not.  

 

£30 - £49
Steak
Argentinian
The Ledbury

The Ledbury

127 Ledbury Road, London, London, W11 2AQ

“Incredibly inventive”; “consistently wonderful”; “simply outstanding on every level”: readers confirm that The Ledbury is still a paragon of fine dining in the capital. It may radiate old-school affluence, but Brett Graham’s über-suave destination comes across as an inclusive eatery for locals, tourists and perambulating foodies alike – a neighbourhood destination kitted out with arty chandeliers, leather chairs and mirrored walls. Diners descend on the place in search of “top-class contemporary food” from a chef who cooks with vigour, authority and audacious brio. Regulars suggest that tasting menus are the way to go: “every course is a surprise”, whether you begin with a Chantilly of oyster, sea bream tartare and frozen English wasabi or the “stand-out” flame-grilled mackerel with pickled cucumber, Celtic mustard and shiso. There is stupendous meat and game too, perhaps Herdwick lamb with salt-baked kohlrabi, Padrón pepper and garlic or a sanguine-toned dish of Berkshire roe deer accompanied by smoked bone marrow, cherries, red leaves and vegetables. As thoughts turn to sweetness, the kitchen obliges with masterstrokes such as blackcurrant-leaf ice cream paired with buffalo-milk meringues and mead. Impeccable staff “genuinely enjoy their job”, and it’s worth engaging with one of the knowledgeable sommeliers if you want to get the best from the endlessly fascinating list. What more could you want from a two-Michelin-starred sophisticate?



Over £80
Modern European
Two michelin stars
Chiltern Firehouse

Chiltern Firehouse

1 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London, W1U 7PA

The fervour that surrounded André Balazs’ Marylebone hotspot has died down and you no longer need to be famous to secure a table, but Chiltern Firehouse still delivers in spades. Readers praise the outdoor-themed interiors as well as the high-decibel “party vibe”, and we’ve also been impressed by the all-inclusive attitude of the staff, who happily laugh and chat with diners. Meanwhile, in the open kitchen, chef Nuno Mendes and his team send out plenty of likeable big-time successes. Snacks such as bacon cornbread and the famous coral-dusted crab doughnut kick things off nicely, but there are other highlights too: char-grilled Ibérico pork comes with the unexpected additions of grilled peaches and red pepper kimchi, while a side of mac ‘n’ cheese is given a fiery kick with jalapeño peppers. Early risers pack in for breakfast (potted eggs with caramelised onions and curried potatoes), freelancers take advantage of the indulgent lunchtime offers (crab and lobster omelette, say), and we’d also recommend Chiltern Firehouse for a pre/post-meal trip to the botanically themed bar for cheekily named cocktails. Be warned – the bill (with impressive wines included) may have you reaching for the fire alarm.

£50 - £79
International
Ginza Onodera

Ginza Onodera

15 Bury Street, London, London, SW1Y 6AL

£50 - £79
Sushi
Japanese
Afternoon tea
Mei Ume

Mei Ume

10 Trinity Square, London, EC3N 4AJ

£50 - £79
Japanese
Chinese
Coya Mayfair

Coya Mayfair

118 Piccadilly, London, London, W1J 7NW

This is a very Piccadilly take on Peruvian cuisine from restaurateur Arjun Waney, a man who can turn even the humblest ingredients into something glamorous. When its jet-setting crowd are in the mood, Coya can feel like the centre of a parallel universe, where the pisco flows and the charcoal glows. Eating is only partially the point, although top-notch ingredients help the food stand out among the capital’s growing crop of Peruvian eateries. Ceviche is “to die for”, from wild sea bass with bergamot, choclo (sweetcorn) and plantain to a Japanese-Peruvian version with celery juice, ginger and daikon for company. Smaller dishes celebrate other Peruvian favourites (corn comes Josper-grilled with extra crispy bits, sweet onion and red chillis), while ox heart is speared with panca chillis and parsley. From there, meat options climb steeply towards the Chilean Wagyu sirloin, and even a humble potato ‘iron pot’ casserole – albeit truffled-up – will set you back £20. Our advice? Go in with eyes and wallet wide open.

£50 - £79
Peruvian
Isabel

Isabel

26 Albemarle Street , London, W1S 4HY

£30 - £49
International
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, London, London, W1K 1QA

The combination of a superstar name and three Michelin stars means that expectations are always sky-high at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester; in return, diners are treated to “an exercise in superlative service and presentation”, with hushed tones barely disturbing the reverential calm in the classic creamy-toned dining room – an “oasis of serenity” away from the bluster of Park Lane. Head chef Jean-Phillipe Blondet is his master’s voice, delivering a measured parade of profound and deeply flavoured dishes hinting at the “culinary genius” behind the scenes – just consider the “heavenly” sauté gourmand of lobster accompanied by homemade pasta and truffled chicken quenelles or the signature ‘contemporary’ vacherin with a coconut boule, pomegranate seeds and exotic fruits. In between, the ever-fabulous rib and saddle of venison with coffee sauce and a peanut-stuffed parsnip vies with fish classics such as fillet of turbot with beetroot and clams marinière or line-caught sea bass with braised chicory. Prices, as you’d expect of somewhere called Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, take no prisoners, and the platinum wine list promises a galaxy of French stars with hefty mark-ups – although fans still think that dining here is “time exceptionally well spent”.   

Over £80
French
Three michelin stars
Hawksmoor Guildhall

Hawksmoor Guildhall

10 Basinghall Street, London, London, EC2V 5BQ

Owners Huw Gott and Will Beckett play knowingly to the City crowd at this branch of their beefy Hawksmoor chain. Dark panelling, acres of parquet and a distinct lack of embellishment conjure up an old-fashioned chophouse vibe, though service is satisfyingly modern – ensuring “no fuss or disappointments”. “Fantastic” breakfasts are done with a level of commitment that makes booking advisable for sharing platters of bacon chop, sausages, black pudding and trimmings or cornflake milkshakes with an optional slug of bourbon. At lunch and dinner, flawless British steaks (“always cooked to perfection”) are further enhanced by the likes of anchovy hollandaise, buttered sprout tops or beef-dripping chips. On either side, there might be roast scallops with white port and garlic, plus desserts such as a chocolate and honeycomb ‘Crunchy Bar’. Dive into the cocktail list and you’ll know all about Hawksmoor’s good, strong spirits, while a short bar menu caters to time-pressed carnivores.

£50 - £79
Steak
British
Claude Bosi at Bibendum

Claude Bosi at Bibendum

Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London, London, SW3 6RD

The latest iteration of iconic Michelin House unites two legends of the London restaurant scene: Bibendum’s co-founder Sir Terence Conran and chef Claude Bosi (formerly of two-Michelin-starred Hibiscus). Here in Chelsea, Bosi’s cooking is a little more relaxed, although the style is definitely more Hibiscus than Bibendum – witness clever amuse-bouches of pissaladière fashioned into lifelike ‘olives’ or eggshells filled with mushroom duxelles, coconut foam and curry powder. However, you’ll also encounter whopping stalks of intensely flavoured green and white asparagus, chicken that tastes of a life well lived and, best of all, a Staub pan brimming with chunky, funky tripe and cuttlefish gratin, plus hefty slices of pig’s ear and ham cake on the side: simple dishes elevated to the sublime by a kitchen versed in skilful technique. Prices are as unremittingly high as ever, although a set lunch and Sunday roasts are an attempt to make this special-occasion destination work for locals as well. But Bibendum’s food is only half the story: few dining rooms in London give such unremitting life-affirming pleasure, especially when the light is streaming through those famous stained-glass depictions of the Michelin man.         

 

French
Two michelin stars
£50 - £79
Frenchie Covent Garden

Frenchie Covent Garden

16 Henrietta Street, London, London, WC2E 8QH

£50 - £79
French
La Dame de Pic at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square

La Dame de Pic at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square

Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, London, EC3N 4AJ

£50 - £79
French
One michelin star
Mere

Mere

74 Charlotte Street, London, London, W1T 4QH

£50 - £79
Modern European
Nobu Shoreditch

Nobu Shoreditch

10-50 Willow Street, London, London, EC2A 4BH

It’s 20 years since London’s first Nobu launched on Park Lane and almost as long since Shoreditch became a destination with a ragtag of cooler-than-thou bars clustered around Old Street. Now the two worlds collide with the launch of the Nobu Hotel Shoreditch. Come for quieter lunches and weekend brunches to appreciate the calm beauty of the design. A long staircase leads down to a dramatically high-ceilinged, concrete-lined space of glass walls and gauzy curtains, tricked out in 90s neutrals and with a four-stepped terrace leading off the large bar area for when it’s not raining. Inside, it’s raining men: we spotted a total of four female diners hidden among the big tables of City boys of every age group. A menu that’s about half the size of Nobu London’s nods towards time-pressed City diners and touts the brand’s greatest hits, from black cod with miso to yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño.  Springy rock shrimp tempura encased in light batter and slicked in addictive creamy jalapeño sauce, and crisp tacos stuffed with lobster smeared in wasabi mayo, do the classics proud, while ‘Shoreditch specials’ include excellent pork belly with a beautifully balanced spicy miso caramel sauce. For pud, squidgy mochi cakes are perhaps more of an acquired taste, while a chocolate orb twice failed to melt on cue under its torrent of hot sauce. Cynics may carp that the arrival of one of the world’s foremost luxury lifestyle brands in EC2 shows how corporate the Shoreditch scene has become, but Square Mile diners will be thrilled to have somewhere on their doorstep with such a palpable frisson of global glamour.

£50 - £79
South American
Japanese
Luca

Luca

88 St John Street, London, EC1M 4EH

£50 - £79
Italian
Zuma

Zuma

5 Raphael Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW7 1DL

Fifteen years on and London is still deeply in love with world-class Zuma: “fabulous” says one fan, “can’t beat it” exclaims another avid supporter. And the waves of adoration stretch far beyond the capital itself: this high-gloss, big-money rendezvous draws in a global cast of A-listers and jetsetters, all attracted by the age-defying industrial-Zen interiors and the sleek designer mix of rough-hewn wood, polished granite and shiny steel. Tables are predictably hard to come by, but we prefer chancing our arm with the no-bookings ringside seats by the kitchen. Kick off with a trend-setting cocktail (perhaps Wild Yasei, a macho yet graceful blend of rye bourbon and wild-cherry tea syrup), and expect to pay top dollar for the food. In return you’ll be offered some of the finest Japanese cuisine in the capital: sliced seared tuna with chilli, daikon and ponzu; warm aubergine in sweet miso (an umami-laden masterpiece); robata-grilled jumbo tiger prawns with yuzu pepper; marinated baby chicken roasted on cedar wood, and – of course – the much-imitated, but never-bettered black cod. Service is flawless, and for the final flourish, we suggest asking the dedicated saké sommelier for a tour of his exquisite list. In a word, awesome.

 

£50 - £79
Sushi
Japanese
The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse

27a Hay's Mews, London, London, W1J 5NY

It has sported two Michelin Stars since 2004, so expectations invariably run high at The Greenhouse. However, the arrival of new head chef Alex Dilling (ex-Hélène Darroze at The Connaught) has taken the set-up to a different level. Of course, some things never change: the sense of Zen-like calm as visitors arrive at this Mayfair “oasis” via a beautifully landscaped garden; the spacious and light dining room, and the highly professional attitude of the staff. What felt notably different, though, was the buzz – it was encouraging to see almost every table occupied on a midweek evening.

  

 

Dilling’s culinary approach involves sourcing the very best ingredients, combining them with an innovative flourish and presenting them beautifully. A super-soft yet deeply flavoursome smoked sturgeon mousse with crab and dill set the tone, and there were several high points to follow: we were bowled over by a breath-takingly original truffled egg concoction and a plate of Brittany turbot with boudin noir, girolles and young sorrel.

 

 

The vegetarian options also impressed, as did the wine pairings, drawn from one of London’s more voluminous lists (clocking in at 3,400+ bottles). On the downside, our A5 Gunma Wagyu beef was rather bland, and impatient diners may be troubled by the relatively long waits between courses. Still, The Greenhouse remains a bastion of serious fine dining – just be prepared to fork out handsomely.  

Over £80
Modern European
Two michelin stars
£30 - £49
Jamavar

Jamavar

8 Mount Street, London, London, W1K 3NF

£50 - £79
Indian
One michelin star
Hide Above

Hide Above

85 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7NB

Hiding in plain sight with a vast three-story location on Piccadilly, Hide is the hugely ambitious restaurant that chef Ollie Dabbous has seemed destined to open since his self-titled debut picked up every award going in 2012. Hide is actually three spaces – Above, Ground and Below – though it may as well be called Upstairs Downstairs for the hierarchies of exclusivity involved.

 

Below is a cocktail bar overseen by long-time collaborator Oskar Kinberg; Ground is an all-day modern British restaurant, affordable by Mayfair standards; while a swirling oak staircase leads to Above, which has the sylvan view through sound-muffling windows over the London bus rooftops to Green Park. Tables up here are spaced so you never need make eye-contact with your neighbour, let alone hear what they are saying, while inspired design touches include not only the expected handbag stools but mobile phone chargers hidden in the table and a leather-bound iPad that can access the 6,000 wines from Dabbous’ backers, Hedonism Wines, and have them delivered within 15 minutes and served with a £35 mark up. Well, what else would you expect in a restaurant rumoured to have cost more than £20m?

 

To eat, there’s a 10-course tasting menu for £95 (plus a four-course lunch for £42), bursting with inventive visuals such as charcuterie speared on the end of a feather, caviar-beaded tuna tartare prettily heaped at the centre of an ornamental, inedible leaf, and Dabbous’ signature ‘nest egg’ of coddled egg and smoked butter, a sort of savoury Creme Egg served in the shell on a bed of hay. Things didn’t get truly exciting for us until halfway through, though, with the arrival of a breathtakingly subtle red mullet in a bread and saffron sauce, and a gamey, dry-aged Goosnargh duck breast. Puddings were also best-in-class, from the ‘garden ripple ice cream’ that looked like a slice of Twister, to a swirl of coconut cream fashioned into a white rose petal.

 

Criticisms? Even allowing for 10 courses, we found the pace of the meal dragged, and while staff can’t be faulted for their enthusiasm and expertise, the constant interruptions and explanations a tasting menu necessitates does not make for the most relaxing experience. For make no mistake, this very much is an experience – albeit one that might remain in the once in a lifetime bracket.

 

Over £80
British
The Cinnamon Club

The Cinnamon Club

The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, London, London, SW1P 3BU

Despite expanding his ‘Cinnamon’ brand and his portfolio, Indian celeb chef Vivek Singh hasn’t taken his eye off the ball here in Westminster. Cinnamon Club remains the mothership and still hums with an influential hotchpotch of politicians, lobbyists, hacks and opinion formers.

A recent refurb improved the interiors while still referencing the grand old library premises, and Singh’s authentic but contemporary cooking remains consistently delicious. This is modern Indian dining at its best and readers love it: “faultless food, never disappoints”, cheers one fan. We’re also enamoured of the “wonderful setting and stunning flavours” and have enjoyed countless hits, from tandoori octopus with fennel salad to fenugreek-infused roast cod with curry leaf and lime crumble.

Textures and contrasts also make an impact: seared sea bass comes with luscious red lentils, coconut ginger sauce and crisp puffed buckwheat, roast saddle of lamb has saffron sauce and pickled root vegetables for company, and rice vermicelli partners wild king prawns flavoured with mango and coriander. To finish, France meets India in irresistible desserts such as lemon and ginger brûlée with masala-spiced sablé biscuits. The fact that sommeliers are on hand to guide diners through the wine list says a great deal about this supremely accomplished Indian destination.

£50 - £79
Indian
Orrery

Orrery

55 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 5RB

This D&D London-owned, Conran-era classic has celebrated its 21st birthday with a gentle refurbishment that has effectively kept the grey-toned colour scheme the same as before. It remains one of the most elegant dining rooms in London, especially pretty at lunchtime when light floods through the arched windows overlooking St Marylebone churchyard, and in summer when the rooftop terrace is one of the capital’s best-kept secrets. Chef-patron Igor Tymchyshyn has worked here since 2008 and hasn’t ever deviated from the restaurant’s modern French template. Starters of perky cured mackerel with cucumber and horseradish or a really excellent Dorset crab with mango and wasabi might be followed by a signature tournedos Rossini with almost as much foie gras as steak. A trolley whiffy with 30 well-kept cheeses has always been what the place is most famous for – as too a 22-page wine list with some big names among the two dozen by the glass, with fine wine prices slashed on Mondays. Service is as formal as the business-friendly setting of well-spaced, white-clothed tables demands, without losing sight of friendliness. A set menu (£39) with four choices per course avoids the stiff cost of the à la carte (£59), while the tiny bar is a rare for the area cocktail spot.

£50 - £79
French
Galvin La Chapelle

Galvin La Chapelle

35 Spital Square, London, London, E1 6DY

Set in the “atmospheric” surrounds of a grandiose converted Victorian chapel, this Michelin-starred, Grade II-listed high flyer from the Galvin brothers comes complete with stone archways, iron chandeliers and awe-inspiring “ecclesiastical vaulted architecture”. As such, it provides a suitably lavish backdrop for a menu of highly worked, “expertly prepared” and intricately presented dishes culled from the lexicon of modern French cuisine – from the signature Dorset crab lasagne with creamy beurre nantais and pea shoots or pressed terrine of Landes guinea fowl, foie gras and Bayonne ham with sauce gribiche to tagine of Bresse pigeon with couscous, confit lemon and harissa sauce or poached chicken breast with herb gnocchi, kale and sauce suprême. To conclude, the perfectly caramelised tarte Tatin with Normandy crème fraîche is a must, while the enviable cheese trolley provides the perfect excuse for a glass of Hermitage La Chapelle from the mighty French-led wine list – although a few more “modestly priced” offerings would be appreciated. Some dissenters find Galvin La Chapelle “bland and deeply earnest”, relying on “snob value and French-derived gravitas”, but we’re with those who reckon it’s a triumph in the City.  

£50 - £79
French
One michelin star
Brigadiers

Brigadiers

1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, London, London, EC4N 8AR

£50 - £79
Indian
Coq d

Coq d'Argent

1 Poultry, London, EC2R 8EJ

Going for the gold standard on a street called Poultry, Coq d’Argent is near the top of the City’s pecking order. We reckon its status as an “all-time favourite” in business diaries is down to a considerable clutch of attractions including gorgeous roof gardens, a heavily diverting wine list and the good looks of a cruise liner in its pomp. The Coq also delivers “consistently good food” from breakfast onwards, taking in gluten-free and vegan menus plus a surprisingly mature children’s offer. Wherever you sit – in the restaurant, grill or bar – the French accent is as robust as the pricing, conjuring Gallic luxury with careful flourishes. Lunch in the Grill might mean cauliflower soup with a poached egg followed by spiced braised lamb shank with white coco beans and wild mushrooms, while the restaurant promises higher levels of complexity – perhaps black truffle and ricotta tortellini with Parmentier espuma or immaculately balanced wild roe deer with a plateful of silky seasonal trimmings. The service at Coq d’Argent is equal to the demands of a confident clientele.

£50 - £79
French
£30 - £49
OXO Tower Restaurant

OXO Tower Restaurant

Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, London, London, SE1 9PH

“Great place for the four Cs: celebrating, chilling, chatting and crowd-watching”, says a fan of the Oxo Tower’s restaurant – a perfectly located terrace venue on the eighth floor of the monolith, which still boasts “one of the best views in London”. The menu promises sophisticated dishes in the modern idiom, from seared peppered beef with smoked sweetcorn purée, tenderstem broccoli and roast asparagus to sea bream poached in vanilla anise accompanied by a stuffed courgette flower. To finish, why not share a cherry soufflé with vanilla ice cream and Black Forest gâteau. The wine list, from Harvey Nics, is a cracker (although you won't find many bargains) and afternoon tea also looks “very tempting” – no wonder fans say it’s “definitely a place to take a person you want to impress”.

£50 - £79
British
Afternoon tea
Pollen Street Social

Pollen Street Social

8-10 Pollen St, Mayfair, London, W1S 1NQ

Secreted beside a discreet Mayfair alleyway since 2011, Jason Atherton’s imperious Michelin-starred flagship, Pollen Street Social, remains “bang on the money” – a “masterpiece of fine dining” and a worthy winner of the SquareMeal Restaurant of the Year 2017. Step through the glass door and the good vibrations hit you straight away, while the clean-lined metropolitan dining room shows its cosmopolitan class with dramatic lampshades and eye-catching arty exhibits. Atherton may oversee a global empire these days, but he still puts in the shifts at PSS, and is often to be seen at the pass – a world-class hands-on restaurateur in his rightful place. Culinary influences and cross-fertilisation abound, but everything is underpinned by indigenous ingredients, from a witty Cockney riff involving smoked eel, buttermilk, beetroot reduction and jellied eel to South Downs fallow deer with pear, cocoa and chocolate vinegar or “staggeringly good” Lakeland lamb with beetroot, blackcurrant, savoy cabbage and a mini hotpot on the side – scintillating, exuberant food of the highest order, with maximum flavour delivering maximum satisfaction. To start, the ‘fruits of the British sea’ is a delirious array of maritime delights presented on a special stand – we love the oyster ice cream dressed with an oyster leaf, the lobster cocktail, and the Orkney scallop with pickled radish and jalapeño; to finish, the dessert bar promises close encounters with the likes of Brogdale pear sorbet, goats’ cheese ice cream, honey and bee pollen. Service plays it ‘social’ without ever losing its professional cool, and there are treasures galore on the ever-expanding wine list curated by the group’s whizz-bang sommelier Laure Patry. “Few places are such a treat” concludes one admirer of Pollen Street Social– amen to that. 

£50 - £79
British
One michelin star
Ormer Mayfair at Flemings Mayfair

Ormer Mayfair at Flemings Mayfair

Flemings Mayfair Hotel, Half Moon Street, London, London, W1J 7BH

£50 - £79
British
MARCUS

MARCUS

The Berkeley, Wilton Place, London, London, SW1X 7RL

Marcus Wareing’s one-Michelin-starred flagship brings together “the best of British and French culinary traditions” in an imposing high-ceilinged dining room done out in shades of chestnut brown with swathes of dark panelling, frosted glass panels and leather chesterfields. Wareing’s cooking is an “extraordinary celebration of flavour” as he applies tweezer-like precision to the very best ingredients – from a pairing of scallop, apple and lemon verbena with roasted beef dressing to Cumbrian rose veal embellished with beetroot, liquorice and parsnip. Readers also have their own “fabulous favourites”: a daring veggie creation involving Sharpe’s 1900 potatoes with girolles, Tunworth cheese and truffle; octopus with beef tea; Herdwick lamb with crispy breast, chimichurri and hispi cabbage; a dessert combo of toffee, peanut, milk chocolate and nougat (“heaven on a plate”). From nibbles of sourdough with Dorset snail and cap to pre-desserts such as lightly smoked milk and mandarin, every dish is a marvel of culinary dexterity. The mighty wine list is a pricey paean to global viticulture managed by a genius sommelier, while ultra-professional staff never miss a trick: “our waiter was incredibly smooth and charismatic”, noted one reader. In short “a truly delightful dining experience”.

Over £80
British
One michelin star
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London, London, SW1X 7LA

With Heston Blumenthal’s name attached and a menu of eye-catching dishes that play with our perceptions of British cookery, Dinner was always going to be a hit with London’s gastro-tourists, and there are plenty of reasons for them to leave feeling satisfied – not least the beautiful daytime view of Hyde Park, the fun of the nitro-fuelled ice cream cart and the switched-on staff.

“Attention to detail is second to none”, observes a fan. Even if you don’t buy into the restaurant’s date-stamped reinterpretation of historical recipes, there’s a formidable cornucopia of gastronomic delights to relish – from the ‘meat fruit’ (c.1500) disguised as a mandarin with subtle citrus notes to the soft, juicy ‘tipsy cake’ (c.1810) with spit-roast pineapple. Also brace yourself for other extraordinary conceits ranging from ‘sherried’ scallop tartare with mushroom broth to chicken ‘oysters’ invigorated with horseradish cream and pickled walnuts. Sides are not to be sniffed at either – the mash is among the creamiest we’ve tasted. Obviously, such a “luxurious experience” doesn’t come cheap (especially if you commit to the wine flights), although set lunches offer a more accommodating prospect. Either way, prepare to be astonished. 

£50 - £79
British
Two michelin stars
Angler

Angler

South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, London, London, EC2M 2AF

From the moment you arrive for drinks on the gorgeous roof terrace, it’s clear that Michelin-starred Angler knows how to host its diners. Given that it’s located on the seventh floor of the South Place Hotel, superb views come as standard – thanks to a giant sloping window that looks out onto the busy street below. “Great seafood in a calming atmosphere” sums it up, with comfy striped chairs, light colours and an impressive foliage-motif mirror running along on wall of the opulent dining room. The kitchen matches the sophisticated vibe with a menu of precision-tuned contemporary dishes ranging from roast octopus with taramasalata, chipirones and spicy salsa verde to light-textured John Dory accompanied by coco beans, bacon and sardines. Meat eaters might go for smoked chicken wings with chanterelles followed by a tasting of Iberian pork, while dessert could bring a rich, warm chocolate cake with banana-milk ice cream and crunchy peanut butter. Service is impeccable, and a devoted sommelier is on hand to pair each course with wines from the varied list. Pricey, but highly recommended.

£50 - £79
Fish
One michelin star
City Social

City Social

24th Floor, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London, London, EC2N 1HQ

It may share the signature low-key glamour of Jason Atherton’s other Social restaurants, but the “most incredible views” from Tower 42 elevate City Social to statement status. With the fitting air of a 1920s boardroom, this dining room is custom-built for “business entertaining” – although it has a surprising intimacy given the scale of the setting. Minor grumbles, including music that’s “too loud” in the bar, are dwarfed by readers’ enthusiasm for executive chef Paul Walsh’s oh-so-pretty plates of Michelin-starred food – from cured Scottish salmon with watermelon, saké, cucumber carpaccio, soy and wasabi to tarte Tatin with caramel sauce for sharing. In between, he brings considerable experience to bear on interest-piquing main courses such as saddle of Lincolnshire rabbit with Parma ham, trompette mushrooms, spelt, lovage emulsion and black garlic, line-caught halibut with fondant potato, turnips, crispy prawns and tenderstem broccoli or heritage potato and caramelised onion terrine with Jerusalem artichoke and walnuts. Cocktails are classy, and the wine list is designed to accommodate high rollers – without putting everybody else off.

£50 - £79
Modern European
One michelin star