Best Restaurants for Cheese in London

Pick the right restaurant and the cheese course may well be the best thing you eat all evening. Whether you follow the French and have your cheese before pudding or stick with the British way and have it at the end of a meal, a well-kept cheeseboard can transform a good restaurant experience into a great one. And by ‘well-kept’, we don’t mean two or three sad slices served with some stale crackers: we’re talking about a big cheese of a board lovingly kept in peak condition, changing with the seasons and served by someone who knows what they’re talking about (and has in all likelihood chosen the cheeses themselves). So from cheese-focused cafés to high-end fine dining, here is our list of the restaurants with the best cheeseboards in London.  

Posted on 21 February 2018

Best Restaurants for Cheese in London


Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels Seven Dials

Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels Seven Dials

£30 - £49
French

8-10 Neal’s Yard, London, WC2H 9DP

From the team behind Soho's Experimental Cocktail Club, this chic little wine bar boasts a Parisian sibling in St-Germain-des-Prés – and its brilliant list is a love song to regional French oenology (with a few detours to Spain and Italy). We have fond memories of a textured Sardinian white from Cantina Poderosa and a rustic Côtes du Roussillon – made even better with charcuterie and a bowl of perfectly crisp baby squid with zingy espelette pepper from the pitch-perfect menu. Elsewhere, the drinks list features a mystery glass (guess the wine and win a bottle) as well as interesting grower Champagnes, wild cards from Corsica and the Jura, plus big-hitting Bordeaux and Burgundies. The cosy interior is spread over two floors (upstairs is more airy) with plump cushions, divans, low tables and sparkling candlelight conjuring the feel of an elegant modern salon.

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Champagne + Fromage Brixton

Champagne + Fromage Brixton

Under £30
Cheese
French
Wine Bars

Unit 10-11, Brixton Village, London, SW9 8PR

In contrast to the upscale Covent Garden original, the second branch of Champagne + Fromage keeps humbler company among the greengrocer’s stalls, butchers and shops selling pots and pans on Granville Arcade (aka Brixton Village). Occupying what was a Caribbean grocery, the site operates as a shop and wine bar serving an inspiring range of small-grower fizz alongside Gallic cheeses, charcuterie, tartines and upbeat seasonal specials. You probably won’t recognise the names on the Champagne labels, but with weekly by-the-glass selections and knowledgeable staff on hand to talk you through every intriguing bottle, you’re bound to discover something new. All the fromage and fizz will also be available to take out.

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Rules

Rules

£50 - £79
British

35 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7LB

As patriotic as a rousing chorus of Rule, Britannia!, this splendidly antiquated institution flies the flag for British dishes and ingredients with its proudly traditional menu. As London's oldest restaurant (opened by Thomas Rule in 1798), it would no doubt still be familiar to former patrons such as Charles Dickens, who looks down over the plush, panelled dining room from walls crowded with old sketches and paintings. Quality is consistent across the board, with confident renditions of staples such as potted shrimps, steak and kidney pie or golden syrup steamed sponge with custard. Game from the restaurant’s Lartington Estate in Yorkshire is a real draw in autumn, when dishes such as braised pheasant with lentils or roast grouse with game chips, bread sauce and redcurrant jelly make a perfect match for the savoury Rhône reds on the wine list. Expect to be treated like royalty from the moment you're greeted by the top-hatted doorman.

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Orrery

Orrery

£50 - £79
French

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.

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Androuet

Androuet

Under £30
French

Old Spitalfields Market, 107b Commercial Street, London, E1 6BG

The legendary House of Androuet was set up in Paris in 1909 and is universally recognised as a grandee among cheesemongers. In addition to outlets in the French capital and Stockholm, it’s now resident in London with a shop/restaurant amid the throngs of Old Spitalfields Market. Androuet’s opulent interiors are as legendary as its dairy products, and this branch is no exception with flamboyant chandeliers, intricately printed wallpapers and swathes of washed-our velvet adding some bourgeois glamour to the whiffy proceedings. Shoppers can enjoy a field day among the displays of ripe specimens, but those wanting to eat also have plenty to relish. Quiches, tartiflettes, fondues and raclette are the mainstays, but the kitchen’s repertoire stretches to plates of charcuterie, rillettes and terrines, plus cheeseburgers, wild mushrooms with Fourme d’Ambert, or Toulouse sausage and mash (with la tomme fraîche). There’s a desirable alfresco terrace too.

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Chez Bruce

Chez Bruce

£50 - £79
Modern European
One michelin star

2 Bellevue Road, Wandsworth Common, SW17 7EG

“Reassuringly polished in every way” says an admirer of Bruce Poole’s remarkable restaurant, while another deems it “an all-time favourite at the top end”. We’re also enamoured of Chez Bruce’s sense of style, its neighbourly virtues and the fact that it can regularly deliver inspired Michelin-starred food at egalitarian prices. As a dressed-down local eatery of the best sort, its gusty Euro-inspired food pleases, excites and soothes in equal measure, from starters of trotter sausage with warm summer beans and confit rabbit to desserts such as the much-vaunted crème brûlée or pistachio meringues with lemon verbena and raspberries. In between, the kitchen’s big-hearted approach might yield roast cod with olive oil mash, Provençal tomato and gremolata or rump of lamb with stuffed tomato, sweetbread ragoût and courgette tarte fine – manna indeed for the well-fed burghers of Wandsworth. The magnificent cheeseboard is also a class act in its own right. Some feel Chez Bruce’s new layout is a tad “cramped” and it’s clear that pressure of numbers can occasionally impact on the kitchen, but impressively professional staff are always on top of things. In contrast to the “delightful small menu”, the wine list is an all-encompassing encyclopaedic tome offering diversity, style and quality in spades.  

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Champagne + Fromage Covent Garden

Champagne + Fromage Covent Garden

Under £30
French
Wine Bars

22 Wellington Street, London, WC2E 7DD

It started as the French Bubbles pop-up, but Champagne + Fromage has now planted its feet firmly in Covent Garden where it serves up an inspiring range of small-grower fizz alongside Gallic cheeses, charcuterie, tartines and seasonal specials such as frogs’ legs tempura with Roquefort sauce. You’re unlikely to recognise the names on the Champagne labels, but with weekly by-the-glass selections and friendly, knowledgeable staff on hand to talk you through every intriguing bottle, you’ll uncover new treats on every visit. A dry, savoury Michel Furdyna Rosé NV perfectly balanced the flavours of our spicy charcuterie and a tartine loaded with smoky Montbéliarde sausage, morbier cheese and shallot confit, while sweet treats include chocolate fondant with bleu des Basques cheese. The relaxed vintage-styled setting is ideal for a pre/post-theatre bite, but all the fromage and fizz is also available to take out.

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The Ledbury

The Ledbury

Over £80
Modern European
Two michelin stars

127 Ledbury Road, 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?

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St John Bread & Wine

St John Bread & Wine

£30 - £49
British

94-96 Commercial Street, London, E1 6LZ

Proof that classic never goes out of fashion, this sparsely decorated canteen delivers "fantastic British food for adventurous eaters", according?to one reader. Whilst the acoustics might be poor, meaning you may need to shout to be heard, the more casual sibling of the mighty St John is still well worth experiencing for its "relaxed vibe", "impeccable service" and daily changing menu. Breakfast, cakes and pastries are always in demand here – one bite of the Old Spot bacon sandwich, chased by a sweet hit from one of the signature doughnuts, will explain why. But there's much more to explore on the full nose-to-tail line-up, from kohlrabi with brown shrimps and chervil via devilled kidneys or grilled mackerel with beetroot and horseradish to steamed lemon sponge or burnt vanilla cream. The sound but "pricey" all-French wine list kicks off with surprisingly good house selections by the glass.

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Medlar

Medlar

£50 - £79
Modern European

438 King's Road, London, SW10 0LJ

A lot of love goes into this charming neighbourhood restaurant: its elegant white and green decor still looks fresh, menus are updated regularly and service is always on point. That suggests dedication as well as strong heritage: the two chef/owners are graduates of Chez Bruce and have established a reputation for gutsy Euro-accented food built around an exceptionally well-priced set menu. To start, the signature crab raviolo is a fixture, although one reader highly recommends the duck-egg tart with sautéed duck hearts. Steaks are another mainstay, but much of the line-up changes seasonally: in autumn, you might begin with elaborate salad involving black figs, baby beetroot, Bayonne ham, goats’ curd, pickled onion and toasted hazelnuts, ahead of “delicious” rump of beef topped with snails or a richly flavoured pork fillet, served with pork cheek, boudin noir, wild mushrooms and pistou. Ask the enthusiastic sommelier for wine recommendations, and “request some Madeleines with your after-dinner coffee”. 

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Champagne + Fromage Greenwich

Champagne + Fromage Greenwich

Under £30
French
Wine Bars

Church Street, London, SE10 9BJ

Ask a gastronome what his favourite things are about France and you’re pretty sure to find wonderful cheese and Champagne in the top three. So opening a restaurant, bar and shop which focuses on them is a sure-fire winner. Following the original Champagne + Fromage in Covent Garden and a second in Brixton, the Champagne list at this Greenwich outpost doesn’t just settle on the well known grandes marques. You'll find smaller, less-marketed houses with interesting, individual characters and a less massive mark-up. The choice of cheeses is a little more conventional – you’ll find Roquefort and Comté alongside Brie and Camembert, but there’s a tendency to go fairly wild round the edges: the nutty Fumaison, a raw ewes' milk cheese from the Auvergne is not something that most London cheeseboards are likely to offer. Cheese not your thing? You won't go hungry, as there’s lots of charcuterie to nibble on as well.

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Vivat Bacchus Farringdon

Vivat Bacchus Farringdon

£30 - £49
Modern European

47 Farringdon Street, EC4A 4LL

“Consistently good” is one regular’s verdict on this huge venue devoted to South African-accented wine and food (in that order). After more than a decade in business, Vivat Bacchus has entered a new phase, with the basement dining room now converted into a private space and more emphasis on the posh old-school wine bar. This animated arena tells two stories: the ‘walk-in' cheese room and vast Champagne fridge speak of flush epicurean punters, while blackboard promotions suggest workaday business dates. Open sandwiches and kangaroo burgers are always popular, but readers have also praised the healthy ‘five a day’ salads and “fantastic” BBQ short-rib with Coca Cola glaze, blossom honey, star anise, stem ginger and Asian slaw; after that, perhaps try mango pannacotta with vanilla and passion fruit. Bacchus himself would no doubt be impressed by VB's cellars holding over 18,000 bottles.

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Le Vacherin

Le Vacherin

£30 - £49
French

76-77 South Parade, London, W4 5LF

“Wonderful modern French food” is the attraction at Le Vacherin, which also wins praise for its “consistently good service” and “warm, intimate, romantic ambience”. The clean lines, authentic trappings and white linen tablecloths lend a Parisian air to this dyed-in-the-wool bistro, which is “great for a celebration” as well as a cosy dinner à deux. Chef Malcolm John’s menu is classic and elegant, from starters of escargots de Bourgogne or seared foie gras with boudin blanc to suprême of sea trout with crayfish and crab bisque or an assiette of duck with preserved cherries. Sharing options including rock oysters, pot au feu or chateaubriand add to the romance, and desserts stay with the classics – think apricot tarte Tatin or crème brûlée with orange madeleines. Also check out the “incredible steak-frites offer”. The wine list favours France, but doesn’t exclude the rest of the world – note the selection of the month.

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Le Gavroche

Le Gavroche

Over £80
French
Two michelin stars
£50 - £79

43 Upper Brook Street, London, W1K 7QR

Stoically eschewing the cult of the new, Le Gavroche remains a bastion of haute cuisine in all its ancien régime finery – although you may need a certain worldly-wise mindset to fully appreciate this grandee’s many attributes. The dark exclusivity of the cocooned dining room, the fastidiously dutiful service and the indulgent extravagance of the food all seem to evoke a time gone by. As ever, Michel Roux’s Jr’s kitchen is intent on delivering classical cooking of the highest order, although he does allow the occasional flirtation with contemporary themes: trendy bottarga, two kinds of beetroot and ‘late-harvest’ Canadian vinegar balancing a dish of marinated and seared sea trout; ras-el-hanout spices adding exotic fragrance to a plate of stone bass, roasted peanuts enhancing some “incomparable” breast and leg of pigeon. Still, we take comfort in the classics – the ever-present and ever-gorgeous soufflé suissesse, the brilliantly succulent pig’s head terrine with braised snails, lemon and “inimitable” parsley purée, a perfect strawberry dessert highlighted with vanilla cream. Yes, eating here can be frighteningly expensive (especially if you dip into the aristocratic wine list), but readers also extol the virtues of the all-inclusive set lunch. With its two Michelin stars, fans say Le Gavroche is “quite simply the best”.  

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Wiltons

Wiltons

British
Fish

55 Jermyn Street, London, SW1Y 6LX

Archaic, determinedly old school and one of the few restaurants where that outmoded jacket-and-tie policy still seems wholly appropriate, this impeccably groomed restaurant looks right at home among the streets of St James’s. Wiltons is a handsome fellow indeed, “a restaurant with purpose and life” – so switch off your electronic devices and tap into the velvety richness of it all. As fish sellers of yore, with a family tradition dating back to Georgian times, Wiltons still majors on the finest British seafood – some of the best oysters in town, dressed crab, Dover sole meunière, lobster Newburg et al. Meanwhile, those with other palates and preferences might prefer a bowl of beef consommé or a twice-baked Stilton soufflé ahead of a trencherman mixed grill or fallow deer with roast shallots, fennel and cherries. Lunchtime trolleys are weighed down with gargantuan roasts and other pleasurable repasts, while desserts mine a rich vein of nostalgic comfort – apple crumble with custard, bread-and-butter pudding, etc. Service is deferential to a fault, and the upper-crust wine list is generously endowed with vintage clarets and Burgundies from the great years – although its “astronomical” prices are unlikely to trouble the old brigade in their Savile Row suits. 

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La Fromagerie Bloomsbury

La Fromagerie Bloomsbury

Cafes

52 Lamb's Conduit Street, London, WC1N 3LL

Part of the La Fromagerie group (there are also sites in Highbury and Marylebone), this cosy cheese and wine hub is found on a quaint street just a few minutes’ walk from Holborn station.

Once inside, you’re greeted by a chic space which comprises a shop and intimate bar, with a few tables in the corner (a larger dining room can be found downstairs). As its name suggests, La Fromagerie’s menu specialises in expertly-crafted cheese and charcuterie. It changes regularly, but you can expect comforting dishes at pretty reasonable prices.

On our visit, we kicked off with delectable small plates, including gooey burrata drizzled with balsamic and flecks of black pepper, and a warming plate of gnocchi – creamy pasta parcels paired with cuts of sausage from Toulouse. For the main event, we shared a steaming bowl of hearty, gloriously pungent fondue. Made with raclette comtoise, the silky fondue is served alongside generous helpings of charcuterie: thin slices of smoked prosciutto, torn chunks of baguette and mounds of crunchy croutons. If that’s not enough for you, there’s the option to add more dipping fodder, such as Charlotte potatoes or hunks of broccoli.

From the concise dessert selection, we were enthralled by a chocolate fondant, which erupted with warm chocolate sauce. Wines are a big part of the experience at La Fromagerie too, with a Eurocentric list taking in chardonnays, sauvignon blancs and more – we’d recommend sharing a bottle with your date, as this place has romantic vibes in spades.  

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The Drapers Arms

The Drapers Arms

£30 - £49
Gastropub

44 Barnsbury Street, London, N1 1ER

It may look gentrified, but The Drapers Arms is a lively place, with the ground-floor bar humming like a good ’un when the locals flock in. The Georgian building’s fine features have been left well alone, which makes for spaces of generous proportions and classic design. To drink, there are real ales at the bar and a wine list offering glass and carafe options. Head upstairs to the serene dining room to escape the hubbub (assuming it’s not booked for a private party). A patio garden provides another alternative in summer. The kitchen satisfies with its mix of modern comfort food, such as the house cheeseburger, but is equally happy knocking up duck breast with roasted black plums, or packing guinea fowl, bacon and mushrooms into a pie. To finish, gingerbread pudding competes with Neal’s Yard Dairy cheeses with crab apple jelly (is it OK to have both?).

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Pollen Street Social

Pollen Street Social

£50 - £79
British
One michelin star

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. 

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The Glasshouse Kew

The Glasshouse Kew

£50 - £79
Modern European
One michelin star
£30 - £49

14 Station Parade, Kew, TW9 3PZ

Light and airy, but with a simple elegance that comes from clever, careful design, this sibling of La Trompette and Chez Bruce is the go-to destination for Kew’s smart set. It also gives its siblings a run for their money when it comes to quality, presentation and service, though it’s easier to get a table here. The menu is a showcase for seasonal British ingredients cooked with proper knowhow and an eye to the future rather than the past. The menu changes often, but you might find rich indulgence in the shape of roast duck breast with foie gras parfait and baby beets or Welsh lamb with crispy sweetbreads alongside contemporary dishes with a lighter touch: salmon and sea bream carpaccio dressed with lime and chilli or a heavenly mix of plaice, chorizo and squid, with an umami hit from anchovy dressing.  Service is “terrific” and the wine cellar is “serious, though not necessarily pricey”.

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La Fromagerie Marylebone

La Fromagerie Marylebone

£30 - £49
Cafes

2-6 Moxon Street, London, W1U 4EW

Part of the La Fromagerie group (there are other sites in Bloomsbury  and Highbury), this cosy cheese and wine shop-cum-café has won the hearts of locals. 

Here, you’ll find the shelves stocked with all manner of fromage-friendly goodies as well as spreads, fruit and vegetables, while the contents of the cheese room itself are served in the studiously simple café area at the back. Take a seat at the huge communal table or on one of the benches and enjoy a daily-changing menu which incorporates the produce sold on-site.

Early risers can enjoy breakfast dishes such as cheese toasties or scrambled eggs on sourdough, while lunchtime sees the more substantial likes of warming soups, savoury tarts and bowls of fondue served with charcuterie. The just-dropped-in atmosphere makes La Fromagerie a great weekend brunch spot – think croque monsieur and eggs every way – while a regular schedule of events (late opening on Fridays for cheese and wine tastings; supper clubs on the first Monday of every month) are further reasons to pay a visit.

Ticketed Tasting events held throughout the year include Burns Night, Valentine's, Seasonal and Regional Suppers – all listed on its website.

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City Social

City Social

£50 - £79
Modern European
One michelin star

24th Floor, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, 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.

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The Don Restaurant

The Don Restaurant

£50 - £79
Modern European
£30 - £49

The Courtyard, 20 St. Swithins Lane, London, EC4N 8AD

Step off atmospheric St Swithin’s Street into The Don’s spacious foyer and prepare yourself for the sort of assured, personable and utterly grown-up experience that is a rarity among independent restaurants these days. Much of this is down to owners Robert and Robyn Wilson, who have been at the helm here for more than 18 years and in whom a veritable army of loyal City lunchers still place their trust.

With its vivid bursts of abstract artwork from John Hoyland, the well-spaced dining room has a personality that many of its corporate neighbours lack – and it’s adroitly manned by an ever-smooth team of waiting staff. The kitchen covers all bases, from the impressively inventive (tender octopus with different textures of tomato, lemon oil and saffron aïoli) to the reliably classic, such as buttery, deboned Dover sole meunière and a perfectly executed crème brûlée. Our only complaint is that portion sizes don’t always do justice to the City prices – our tiny pieces of monkfish with mussel ragoût and saffron cream left us needing to fill up on new potatoes.

The Wilsons are Kiwi vintners, and their love of wine is reflected in a lengthy global list, including bottles from their Trinity Hill vineyard in New Zealand. For a less formal experience, the Don Bistro downstairs has steak tartare and coq au vin, while the bar serves 30 wines by the glass alongside Adnams beer and croque monsieurs. We’d also suggest calling in at their sister site, St Swithins Wine Shippers, where four dozen wines are available to sample from an Enomatic machine.

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Vivat Bacchus London Bridge

Vivat Bacchus London Bridge

£30 - £49
Modern European

4 Hays Lane, London, SE1 2HB

London Bridge commuters can fortify themselves for the journey home at this wine bar/restaurant just yards from the station. With two-dozen tipples by the glass, there's plenty to wet the whistle, although it's a shame not to delve into the full list. South Africa features heavily (it's where VB's owners are from), although most wine-producing countries get a look-in. A full menu is available in both the ground-floor bar and basement dining room, so try your luck with chicken Caesar salad or wild-boar terrine followed by a springbok burger, braised osso bucco with gremolata or red gurnard with warm ratatouille. Otherwise, ‘world platters' and charcuterie provide a convivial accompaniment to drinks. Even if you're only dropping by for a quick glass, be sure to visit the basement wine cellar and cheese room.

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Boisdale of Belgravia

Boisdale of Belgravia

£50 - £79
Scottish
Steak
£50 - £79

15 Eccleston Street, London, SW1W 9LX

Boasting tartan chairs, kilted waitresses, hunting trophies and a selection of whisky to make any crofter sing, Boisdale of Belgravia clearly isn’t shy of trumpeting its Scottish heritage. There’s plenty of Caledonian flag-waving on the menu too, from haggis in various guises (try the mustardy Scotch egg riff with neeps ’n’ tatties) to beef from Buccleuch Estate, salmon, “wonderful” oysters and seasonal game. With classic sauces such as béarnaise and green peppercorn to go with steaks “cooked exactly as requested”, it’s not exactly cutting-edge stuff, but the jolly crowd are mainly here to enjoy themselves in surroundings that make them feel as if they’ve “stepped back in time”. Many scoot upstairs for a snifter whilst smoking something from the walk-in humidor after they’ve eaten; nearly all stay for the easy, lively jazz session that kicks in at 10pm. It can seem a tad expensive, but no one seems to mind. 

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