£30 - £49
£30 - £49
50 Connaught Street, London, W2 2AA
With glitzy branches in New York and Beverly Hills, it’s no surprise that the Bombay Palace group chose equally well-heeled Connaught Village for its first London site. Once through the doors, the dining room’s dark walnut tones, contemporary chandeliers and cream walls suggest real pedigree. Differing from the curry-house norm, the menu here specialises in regional cuisine and impresses from the starters onwards: a plate of gol guppe, hollow spheres of crispy fired puri stuffed with spicy chutneys, burst in the mouth, while a tongue-tingling chilli paneer consists of cubes of cottage cheese drizzled with a chilli garlic sauce. Mains are just as thrilling, witness the beautifully tender butter chicken in a yoghurt and herb-laden sauce, or the leg of braised lamb resting in a robust sauce pepped up with spice and flavour. All the usual sides, vegetables, breads and rice are up for grabs, (the garlic naan is a must-try), while desserts such as a warm carrot fudge hawla loaded with nuts and dry fruits maintain the Indian theme. Can’t be bothered to get all dressed up? Bombay Palace also does home deliveries.
More about Bombay Palace - Connaught Street
£30 - £49
£50 - £79
14-16 Queensway, London, W2 3RX
Orange banquettes and a textured ceiling suggest that the Mandarin Kitchen has changed little since it opened in the 70s, but that’s no deterrent to the swarms of mostly oriental customers who
regularly pack this Chinese seafood specialist. Its lobster dishes have a near-legendary reputation, and the kitchen gets through a thousand of these luxury crustacea each week: choose from six
versions, including steamed with ginger and spring onion or braised with black bean and green pepper sauce, but be sure to order some soft noodles on the side. Mandarin’s maritime menagerie
also extends to steamed scallops and razor clams with garlic and soy sauce, roasted baby squid with chilli, steamed sea bass and various takes on crab, eel, turbot and others. Table 19,
with its semi-circular orange booth, is great for groups.
More about Mandarin Kitchen
£30 - £49
23 Connaught Street, London, W2 2AY
"Still the best steakhouse in town, taking value into account" insists a fan who loves everything about Casa Malevo. Owner Alberto Abbate is a keen ambassador of his native Argentina, so expect slabs of grass-fed pampas-reared beef ranging from fillet and rib-eye to slow-cooked flank served with a tasty bone marrow sauce. Chimichurri and criolla salsa are always on the table, although the signature horseradish sauce and anchovy salsa verde make for a vibrant contrast. Mediterranean influences also show up in everything from squid salad with avocado and chorizo to veal milanese or red mullet with almonds and tarragon. The ground-floor restaurant has a very agreeable, laid-back atmosphere with rough brick walls, atmospheric photos of gauchos and a glass-roofed conservatory at the rear. "Fantastic, knowledgeable staff" do the business, and the "outstanding" wine list is strewn with bottles from top Argentinian producers.
More about Casa Malevo
£50 - £79
4 Bathurst Street, London, W2 2SD
With its classic French menu, superb wine list, romantic art-nouveau interior and warm welcome, Thierry Tomasin’s bistro de quartier is a destination for diners bored with gimmicks. Readers applaud its “fantastic service and attention to detail”, while the kitchen delivers some beautifully executed, familiar food with some “really original” touches. From baked shallot and snail tarte Tatin with mulled wine reduction or scallops with morels, shaved cauliflower and dandelion leaves to guinea fowl with hop shorts and beer sauce or olive-crusted lamb fillet with lentil purée, roast parsnip and liquorice-spiked wine sauce, everything depends on “superb ingredients”. The menu is constantly refreshed with occasional exotics (roast duck with Szechuan pepper and pak choi, say), but you can eat what you like – from a full-on dinner to a single dish and a glass of wine. Given Thomasin’s background as London’s top sommelier, the wine cellar is mind-blowing (Cheval Blanc ’28 at £2,500 anyone?), but house tipples are excellent and available to take away.
More about Angelus
£30 - £49
84 Queensway, London, W2 3RL
Despite the no-frills decor and "pantomime" surly service, we simply can't get enough of the authentic Cantonese cooking on offer at this Queensway veteran. The roast duck here is an internationally renowned work of art – it's dried, marinated and then fired at terrific heat to a gold crispy brown, with succulent flesh and pancakes on the side. In addition, you can sample a huge range of traditional soups, spring rolls, soft-shell crab, rich peasant hotpots and chicken, pork and prawns cooked a hundred ways. If you want to push the boat out, order luxurious dishes of lobster, turbot and Dover sole, perhaps with noodles. The simple dining room is always packed with locals, tourists and groups of canny Chinese slurping their way to contented satisfaction. There are takeaways too, but we wouldn't advise that option for the roast duck – best eaten straight from the oven.
More about Four Seasons - Queensway
£30 - £49
13 Queensway, London, W2 4QJ
Following a full refurbishment in 2011, West London's premier dim-sum haunt is back with a bang. A gold-leaf ceiling and glossy black panelling overlaid with hand-painted Chinese art give the
large, windowless space an air of luxury, enhanced by an army of waiters who are keen to please. Queues can build for the aforementioned dim sum (served until 5pm), and the extensive menu features
the likes of prawn dumplings with coriander, fried crispy spring rolls and joyous roast-pork buns. Those heading along in the evening can expect a procession of greatest hits from sesame prawn
toasts to expertly handled Peking duck with pancakes, Cantonese honey-roasted pork, crispy shredded beef or whole steamed sea bass – all delivered with aplomb.
More about Royal China Queensway
£50 - £79
13 Norfolk Place, London, W2 1QJ
Primarily a members’ club dedicated to the world of international relations and independent journalism, the Frontline Club’s handsome restaurant is open to the public. Refurbished in 2016, a snug mezzanine level has been added to the ground-floor dining room, all housed in a 19th-century Hackney carriages factory. Dimly lit and clad in reflective surfaces, the mezzanine contrasts and compliments the airier, naturally-lit dining room below, which is watched over by walls of large, press photography prints and a troupe of young staff. Le Caprice-trained chef John Edwards serves an international menu using produce from the Norfolk farm of owners Vaughan and Pranvera Smith. On our visit, there wasn't a dud dish among the likes of stone bass ceviche with jalapeño, scallops with haggis and a textbook, mustard-fuelled steak tartare. Such providence means you'll pay a lot for meat and fish here, so journalists might want to invite better-paid dates. Service is patchy and strained but certainly charming, while reasonably priced wines focus on France before trotting off across the globe. All in all, this is a solid Paddington option.
More about Frontline Restaurant
£50 - £79
17-20 Kendal Street, London, W2 2AW
Is this the funkiest dining room in London? The energy is pure Antipodean (very different from Japanese reserve) and the big glazed room rings with the noise of excited diners, “ultra-friendly” waiters, bartenders mixing extravagant cocktails and even live music from time to time. Kurobuta takes its cue from Japan’s rock ‘n’ roll izakayas, where small plates and drinks make the evening go with a swing. Flavours are full-frontal rather than polite, and while the menu offers riffs on familiar sushi, maki and tempura, it also promises snacks, raw dishes, salads, robata grills and Japanese ‘junk food’ – including a subversive take on pizza. Top calls range from beer-grilled beef fillet with wasabi salsa, miso chicken with spicy lemon sauce and the instantly addictive pork belly buns with spicy peanut soy to self-styled ‘significant others’ such as jumbo shrimps with BBQ cabbage, tamari and ginger or sticky miso-grilled aubergine with candied walnuts. The whole show is irresistible, boisterous and huge fun.
More about Kurobuta Marble Arch
£30 - £49
8 Sheldon Square, London, W2 6EZ
Pearl Liang is not your normal Chinese drop-in. Firstly, there’s the room – a subterranean space that makes up for its lack of natural light with sexy purple upholstery and snazzy flower-blossom
designs. Then there’s the ‘sublime’ cooking, which goes the extra mile for authenticity as it romps through the Chinese regional repertoire, taking in everything from excellent crispy duck with
homemade pancakes to sweet-and-sour chicken jazzed up with pomegranate. Premium seafood also abounds – from steamed razor clams and scallops stuffed with crabmeat to a hatful of turbot specialities
– and the kitchen is happy to go walkabout for the likes of lobster sashimi. The lengthy line-up of dim sum is a lunchtime crowd-puller (think prawn and radish dumplings, chicken’s feet, fried
octopus cakes and BBQ pork puffs), and there are some classic cocktails for a post-work refresher.
More about Pearl Liang