Restaurants with Gift Vouchers

Restaurants with Gift Vouchers

Posted on 06 September 2017

Restaurants with Gift Vouchers


Cigalon

Cigalon

115 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PP

With its olive trees, ivy-clad trellises and airy glass-roofed dining room, Cigalon transports diners to sunny southern France – you’ll even hear a soundtrack of chirping cicadas in the background. Local legal eagles and regulars from the nearby French Chamber of Commerce choose from a first-rate regional menu that includes Provençal specialities such as pissaladière Niçoise alongside Corsican charcuterie and cheeses, plus excellent seasonal dishes ranging from red-mullet carpaccio topped with shavings of poutargue (pungent smoked mullet roe) to rustic lamb shoulder with artichokes and trompette mushrooms. Pretty desserts might include nectarine poached in rosé wine with lemon verbena and blackcurrant sorbet, while the drinks list is stuffed with rare regional tipples. Cigalon does most of its business at lunchtime, thanks to wallet-friendly set menus and an express ‘plat du jour’ (£12 for two courses), although service ‘could improve’.

More detail about Cigalon

Book now

Oriole

Oriole

Smithfield Market, London, EC1A 9LH

More detail about Oriole

Book now

Mango Tree

Mango Tree

46 Grosvenor Place, London, SW1X 7EQ

Mango Tree's extravagant entrance gives way to a small bar where spiky-haired Thai bartenders are ready to indulge their clientele with devilishly potent cocktails. Meanwhile, hungry guests descend into the enormous dining space, with its plush leather banquettes, showy floral arrangements and beautiful bamboo blinds. The kitchen serves up Thai classics, but with some added panache when it comes to flavour and presentation: a green curry of corn-fed chicken, aubergine and sweet basil arrives in a freshly cut pineapple, while pad thai is gussied up with spiky spring onions, red chillis and a mound of crushed peanuts. Otherwise, order from the chef's special menu, which takes a whistle-stop tour of Thailand. Mango Tree also delivers top-class service: sleek staff armed with walkie-talkies stay unshakably polite despite the high-decibel atmosphere.

More detail about Mango Tree

Book now

Mere

Mere

74 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 4QH

More detail about Mere

Book now

Caravaggio

Caravaggio

107-112 Leadenhall Street, London, EC3A 4DP

For two decades Caravaggio has been a favourite with Leadenhall locals, not least on account of its grandiose, art deco-style setting, much appreciated by readers as an “exceptional” place for discussing the day’s affairs. It’s a very well-proportioned room, with its own sense of drama provided by big windows, a flamboyant central staircase – leading to a mezzanine floor – and a stylish marble bar. On the culinary front Caravaggio’s “good-sized” dishes chime with the sort of up-to-date offerings served in trendier surrounds across town. Start with Jerusalem artichoke soup, al dente asparagus with quail’s egg and hollandaise, or octopus carpaccio and you’ll get the measure of a kitchen that challenges the stereotypes of the City Italian. To follow, there’s a comforting saffron risotto with asparagus, grilled calf’s liver with luganica sausage, or nicely sauced caramelised breast of Gressingham duck with celeriac mash. Desserts include Amalfi lemon tart with soft meringue, and a glass of Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos ’08 – a bargain at under a fiver. There’s further value in a set menu for under £20.

More detail about Caravaggio

Book now

Patara Soho

Patara Soho

15 Greek Street, London, W1D 4DP

Patara may be a chain, but there are very few Thai clichés to speak of. The sitting Buddhas and wood carvings formerly decorating its branches are being steadily (and expensively) replaced with a contemporary palette of greys and marine blues, accented with angular mirrors, feature lights and muted, modern wall art. The menu strives to be ‘authentically different’ and succeeds via innovative twists on tradition, such as pad thai tossed with lobster meat, say, or massaman curry made with fall-apart lamb shanks. Fragrant Thai flavours crop up in unexpected dishes too, with tofu slices glazed in tamarind and lemongrass, before being pan-fried and sprinkled with crisp shallots, for example. Look out, too, for signature dishes, from coconutty dumplings filled with caramelised chicken and peanuts, to ginger-marinated beef fillet stir-fried with chilli, lime leaves and tangy green peppercorns. Delectable vegetarian and seafood set menus and playful cocktails are also excellent. 

More detail about Patara Soho

Book now

Vasco & Piero's Pavilion

Vasco & Piero's Pavilion

15 Poland Street, W1F 8QE

A resident of Poland Street since 1989, this unassuming low-key Soho Italian still exudes the comforting vibe of a well-loved neighbourhood restaurant. Tables are tightly packed in the long-narrow dining room (those at the rear are the best for privacy), while the kitchen delivers “comforting traditional food” with a strong regional slant. Expect a succession of delicately rendered Umbrian dishes from a menu that changes twice a day – perhaps handmade tagliatelle with a rich ragù or roast Tuscan sausages with black truffle butter and Pecorino. Elsewhere, a crisp endive salad with Gorgonzola, walnut and sweet mustard dressing shows the kitchen’s lighter side. The menu’s layout invites flexibility, although we recommend a conventional sweet finish – perhaps a serving of gooey bonet (chocolate, coffee and Amaretto mousse). Prices are modest considering the location, an all-Italian wine list explores the regions, and “superb” switched-on service will please West End diners looking for a mature, but thoroughly modern, Italian experience.

More detail about Vasco & Piero's Pavilion

Book now

Comptoir Gascon

Comptoir Gascon

61-63 Charterhouse Street, London, EC1M 6AH

Comptoir Gascon’s foodie ethos “comes straight from the verdant pastures of Gascony”, writes a fan of starry Club Gascon’s rustic upstart cousin. It’s all about la douceur de vivre (‘the sweetness of life’) as the kitchen delivers textbook versions of the regional classics in a shabby-chic setting of brick walls, blue velvet chairs and heavy timber tables. Duck, foie gras and truffles get top billing on a menu that’s noted for its “bounteous portions” and “really good value”: the famous ‘deluxe’ burger is an “elegant proposition”, while piggy treats, rillettes, confits and cassoulet turn the carnivorous dial up to 11. Elsewhere, dishes such as cuttlefish with chicory, Padrón peppers and Basque sauce pander to other palates, while everyone adores the duck-fat chips blasted with “speckled flavour-bombs” of salt. Fascinating regional wines and a ‘foodhall’ crammed with provisions are further reasons to visit this laid-back bolthole.

More detail about Comptoir Gascon

Book now

Galvin HOP

Galvin HOP

35 Spital Square, London, E1 6DY

When Galvin Hop first opened its doors, it was a pub de luxe serving up gourmet hot dogs and draught beers. Now, it’s switched gears to become a modern bistrot, with updated interiors which are funkier than before (note the brightly coloured chairs). From the daily-changing menu, guests can dine on a selection of small plates, including chorizo croquettes with saffron aioli, before moving on to the heartier likes of baked halibut with Kalamata olive, fregola and saffron.

 

To drink, there are copper tanks above the bar which house unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell, while the fridges are stocked with a wide range of craft beers from popular London breweries such as Truman’s and Beavertown. If your preferred tipple is vino, a selection of red and white wines is available on tap, or by the bottle. 

More detail about Galvin HOP

Book now

Il Convivio

Il Convivio

143 Ebury Street, London, SW1W 9QN

The name alludes to Dante’s unfinished masterpiece, and there are quotes from the great poet all around this modern Italian – although most diners simply appreciate the ‘convivial’ atmosphere and admirable space between tables (“one can truly have a private conversation here”, notes a fan). There’s also some “excellent” Italian regional cooking to be had, from indulgent plates of San Daniele ham accompanied by bouncily soft burrata, or crunchy octopus with a rich nduja sauce, to a risotto with roast quail and red onion purée, or veal chop with fresh artichokes (“as good as I get in Venice”, notes one traveller). Handmade pasta is a sound shout for those that want it (we suggest pappardelle with seafood and raw Sicilian pachio tomato sauce), while zabaglione semifreddo drizzled with espresso coffee sauce make a fine finish. The “reasonably priced” wine list lacks informative notes, but staff are more than happy to suggest a decent Italian match for food and pocket.

More detail about Il Convivio

Book now

Courtyard Garden at the Sanderson

Courtyard Garden at the Sanderson

The Sanderson, 50 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NG

 

Every summer, the folks who frequent the Courtyard Garden award themselves a smug smile. The large, clear roof seems to make summer last that bit longer, keeping out the cold on those bright but breezy days. A good thing, too: the people who congregate in this Japanese-style enclave tend to have the sort of hair that doesn’t take kindly to inclement weather. Smartly dressed staff glide around the central pond, delivering Mad Hatter-themed afternoon tea (think Queen of Hearts rose and strawberry Jammy Dodgers) and heartier bites from the hotel restaurant, such as corn-fed chicken with bacon, and potato gnocchi with truffle. Come evening, any vestiges of Zen-like calm are blown away by the dangerously cool, cutting-edge sounds pumping out of the speakers.

More detail about Courtyard Garden at the Sanderson

Book now

Benares

Benares

12a Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6BS

A beacon for Asian fine dining since 2003, Michelin-starred Benares brings French-inspired refinement to spice-based cooking “without depleting the authenticity of Indian flavour”. The kitchen delivers “awesome food” and “real creativity” across the board, although tasting menus are the undoubted showcase for the kitchen's talents – from pan-seared scallops with broccoli couscous and pine-nut podi (dry powder) to a crisp, puffy chicken tikka pie or tandoori lamb cutlets with rich, rogan-inspired jus and creamy black dhal makhani. Inventive set lunches might include piri-piri quail with smoked beetroot or prawn curry with Bengali-spiced kimchi, while a dessert of tarte Tatin infused with anise and fennel typifies the crossover approach. Kindly, engaging staff deliver “spotless service” in the slick, smart, white-on-black dining room, while street food and quirky cocktails are the main business in the lounge bar. Wine picks tackle the spicing admirably. “Pricey, but perfect for special occasions”, says a fan.

More detail about Benares

Book now

Outlaw's at The Capital

Outlaw's at The Capital

The Capital Hotel, 22-24 Basil Street, London, SW3 1AT

NATHAN OUTLAW WITH LEAVE OUTLAW'S AT THE CAPITAL IN MARCH 2019 TO OPEN A NEW RESTAURANT AT THE GORING

Widely accepted as the modern master of British seafood, Nathan Outlaw stepped away from his Cornish home turf to launch in London in 2012. Five years on, this venue still feels like a well-kept secret. Perhaps the menu lends itself more to the coast than a conservatively attired hotel dining room, or perhaps Londoners want more culinary fireworks, but one thing’s for sure: you won’t find better or fresher seafood in the capital. Our octopus starter paired magnificently with almonds and a sharp sherry vinegar bread sauce, while a glorious thick slab of sea bass came with breadcrumbed oysters, sweet baby leeks and a generous dollop of lime hollandaise. No fireworks, no fripperies: just clean flavours and exemplary technique. After that, elderflower cream with strawberries and verjus maintains the seasonal theme. Service is five-star slick and, to drink, we’d recommend something from founder David Levin’s biodynamic vineyard – perhaps Mr L, a barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc.

More detail about Outlaw's at The Capital

Book now

M Threadneedle Street

M Threadneedle Street

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

More detail about M Threadneedle Street

Book now

Galvin La Chapelle

Galvin La Chapelle

35 Spital Square, 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.  

More detail about Galvin La Chapelle

Book now

Taberna Etrusca

Taberna Etrusca

9-11 Bow Churchyard, London, EC4M 9DQ

Like some of the racing cars pictured on its walls, Taberna Etrusca has come to be regarded as a 1960s classic. The setting couldn’t be more Cockney (note the lovely courtyard almost beneath Bow Bells), but at heart this is a “typical” City trattoria with chummy service, good wines and “tranquil” evening sessions in contrast to busy lunchtimes. “Massive portions” satisfy on a basic level, but the kitchen has merits beyond mere sustenance: “full-flavoured” dishes often embrace international influences, as in a confit duck salad with peanut, orange and chilli dressing or anchovy tempura atop grilled Shropshire chicken with Caesar salad. There’s fresh homemade pasta too – try the chitarra spaghetti with sliced beef fillet sautéed in garlic, chilli and plum tomato. With its noticeable Italian tilt, the wine list provides gratifyingly wide choice at the lower end – a sensible approach to pricing that’s much-valued by regulars.

More detail about Taberna Etrusca

Book now

Club Gascon

Club Gascon

57 West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9DS

Famous as one of the best places to eat duck and foie gras since opening in 1998, Club Gascon is moving with the low-waste and sustainable times, re-opening from a refurb with a ‘Garden’ section of the menu featuring six veg-focused starters and mains. Rest assured, however, that if slow-cooked egg with plankton, seaweed and bitter leaves doesn’t float your boat, all things duck still form the core of the menu – and are far and away the best things to eat here, foie gras especially: a smooth-as-butter terrine served with banyuls, fig and Argan oil to start or, spectacularly, served with a Bailey’s and mandarin sauce for pudding, beguilingly sweet and savoury; thick lobes of pan-fried foie gras sitting under a shell crammed with razor clams is another flavour bomb. Non-ducky options such as roasted sturgeon with leeks, bone marrow and Craster sauce, and roast grouse with popcorn, Guinness and oyster sauce seemed less appealingly individual and more fine-dining-by-numbers, but a kitchen that excels with pudding ensures things end on a high note, from a pre-dessert variation on prunes and Armagnac that left us wanting much, much more to a ‘millionaire’ dessert made from 72% Colombian chocolate with black olive, lemon gel and thyme ice cream, so rich it demanded to be savoured slowly. Eye-opening wine matching remains a strength, while the restaurant’s new look has a timeless modernity that should last for another 20 years. 

 

More detail about Club Gascon

Book now

The Restaurant at Sanderson

The Restaurant at Sanderson

The Sanderson, 50 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NG

The restaurant at this Berners Street hotel hasn’t gained such a reputation as a hip hang-out as the bar has, but it’s still worth a look. The room and the menu have an international feel (in a good way). Start with crispy pig's head with burnt apple puree and move on to a seriously good beef fillet and a side of triple-cooked chips. It may not be original, but it takes a confident chef to serve this sort of food in such a high-end restaurant, and the quality of the cooking and ingredients don’t let it down. Those looking for wackiness should instead head for the afternoon tea, where English tradition has been given a makeover by the Mad Hatter. Expect the unexpected – marshmallow mushrooms tasting of strawberries and cream, a mocha chessboard gateau and an adorable cinnamon, apple and peach “Drink Me” potion.

Image credit: Niall Clutton

More detail about The Restaurant at Sanderson

Book now

Patara Oxford Circus

Patara Oxford Circus

7 Maddox Street, London, W1S 2QB

Patara may be a chain, but there are very few Thai clichés to speak of. The sitting Buddhas and wood carvings formerly decorating its branches are being steadily (and expensively) replaced with a contemporary palette of greys and marine blues, accented with angular mirrors, feature lights and muted, modern wall art. The menu strives to be ‘authentically different’ and succeeds via innovative twists on tradition, such as pad thai tossed with lobster meat, say, or massaman curry made with fall-apart lamb shanks. Fragrant Thai flavours crop up in unexpected dishes too, with tofu slices glazed in tamarind and lemongrass, before being pan-fried and sprinkled with crisp shallots, for example. Look out, too, for signature dishes, from coconutty dumplings filled with caramelised chicken and peanuts, to ginger-marinated beef fillet stir-fried with chilli, lime leaves and tangy green peppercorns. Delectable vegetarian and seafood set menus and playful cocktails are also excellent. 

More detail about Patara Oxford Circus

Book now

Galley

Galley

105-106 Upper Street, London, N1 1QN

More detail about Galley

Book now

The Grill at McQueen

The Grill at McQueen

55-61 Tabernacle Street, London, EC2A 4AA

An ode to Steve, this restaurant, bar and club has suitably macho styling and former Hawksmoor chef Richard Sandiford in the kitchen. Brown leather, black walls and faux-fur rugs inform the bachelor-pad decor, which is peppered with references to McQueen movies. Continuing the theme, you’ll find cocktails including a Popcorn Old Fashioned (popcorn-infused bourbon) on the strapping list. Sandiford’s short menu deals in well-presented, quality Brit food: Our ox cheek and kidney pithivier was a lesson in crispy, creamy comfort food, while fried crab cakes were a winning combination of flaky flesh and crunchy breadcrumbs – if a slightly meagre portion. There’s no doubting value when it comes to the steaks however, as our rib-eye arrived perfectly cooked and full of flavour. Hawksmoor fans will be pleased to find stilton hollandaise sauce, as well as sides of triple-cooked chips and smoked mac ‘n’ cheese. Globetrotting wines include a small-but-varied range by the glass, while staff work hard to please. The Grill’s only problem is being hidden at the back of McQueen and therefore rarely full, but considering the efforts being made, word deserves to get out.

More detail about The Grill at McQueen

Book now

The Jones Family Project

The Jones Family Project

78 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3JL

“I love the space” declares an advocate of this multifunctional bar-restaurant, which fuels Shoreditch’s creatives from breakfast until bedtime. The ground-floor bar acts as a café/workspace (with plug sockets) during office hours, but at night the cases holding teas and coffees behind the bar swing around to reveal spirits. Diners head for the huge basement, which feels cavernous when quiet. Here, a carefully edited menu of international crowd-pleasers awaits. To start, spiced crispy squid with chilli pepper sauce and lime mayonnaise is a masterclass in texture and tang. The Josper grill dominates main courses, working its magic on meat from the renowned Ginger Pig butchery, including prime steaks and rump of spring lamb. Fish specials are cooked daily, while weekends bring brunches and roasts. Correspondents report variable service, so best use any waits to peruse the wine list where the impressive choice includes more than 25 by the glass.

More detail about The Jones Family Project

Book now

M Victoria Street

M Victoria Street

Zig Zag Building, Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6SQ

The second behemoth establishment from Martin Williams (ex-Gaucho) has landed in chain-heavy Victoria Street, incorporating cavernous basement dining rooms, public and private members’ bars and a mezzanine wine shop upstairs. As at the original City operation, dining is divided into two distinct areas: M Raw serves Japanese and Peruvian small plates from an open-kitchen; M Grill is devoted to meat, complete with an amphitheatre-style dining room. Choose either the raw or grilled route before taking your seat. A muted slate colour palette, softened by dusky blues and copper finishes, will please the corporate crowd, as will a standalone bar serving wallet-busting cocktails. The raw-bar menu of sushi and sashimi has been boosted by Wagyu steak tartare, which arrives under a smoke-filled cloche, laced with sweet-sour apple and topped by a glowing orb-like egg yolk. Over at M Grill, punters can opt for beef from one of six countries (Italian is a new addition); our rosy slab of USDA black Angus fillet (£49) sliced like butter. Delve further into the meaty menu and you’ll discover pig’s head served as salty crisp pulled-pork croquettes, slow-cooked cheek and moreish pig’s ear crackling. The dessert list is short yet not especially sweet; dulce mousse with buckwheat, bacon and sweetcorn ice cream is an acquired taste. Oenophiles fare better, thanks to a varied global wine list and the option to try before you buy. M looks set to nail the corporate market, but whether locals too will meet here remains to be seen.

More detail about M Victoria Street

Book now

Blind Spot

Blind Spot

45 St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4HX

If you’ve got it, The St Martin’s Lane Hotel’s bar is where to flaunt it. This sister to The Mondrian and The Sanderson has a ‘secret’ door behind its lobby’s tea counter, which swings open to reveal a late-night speakeasy. The cocktail list comprises 25 world-inspired flavours, from a Peruvian pisco blended with lavender syrup, to a thoroughly British earl grey tea-infused beefeater gin with raisin syrup and pimm’s. Similarly eclectic snacks, including Thai chilli crackers and crispy baby squid provide the nourishment but, it really is all about the booze. Effervescent with bling bubbles, Blind Spot is where to bender it like The Beckhams.

More detail about Blind Spot

Book now

Patara Knightsbridge

Patara Knightsbridge

9 Beauchamp Place, London, SW3 1NQ

Patara may be a chain, but there are very few Thai clichés to speak of. The sitting Buddhas and wood carvings formerly decorating its branches are being steadily (and expensively) replaced with a contemporary palette of greys and marine blues, accented with angular mirrors, feature lights and muted, modern wall art. The menu strives to be ‘authentically different’ and succeeds via innovative twists on tradition, such as pad thai tossed with lobster meat, say, or massaman curry made with fall-apart lamb shanks. Fragrant Thai flavours crop up in unexpected dishes too, with tofu slices glazed in tamarind and lemongrass, before being pan-fried and sprinkled with crisp shallots, for example. Look out, too, for signature dishes, from coconutty dumplings filled with caramelised chicken and peanuts, to ginger-marinated beef fillet stir-fried with chilli, lime leaves and tangy green peppercorns. Delectable vegetarian and seafood set menus and playful cocktails are also excellent. 



More detail about Patara Knightsbridge

Book now

Suda

Suda

5a Berners Street,Fitzrovia,London, W1T 3LF, London, W1T 3LF

This smart, modern Thai has won plenty of fans, thanks to a winning formula of friendly staff, great cocktails and dishes packed with authentic flavours. Reliable classics such as creamy satay skewers, fragrant green chicken curry, pad Thai and fiery tom yum soup are all present and correct, but we think it's far more fun to explore the rest of the wide-ranging menu. Highlights on our last visit included the richly spiced signature red curry with duck and juicy, tangy tamarind prawns. Suda's take on som tam (a classic, hot-and-spicy papaya salad from Thailand's Isan region) is always a favourite, packed with fresh and fiery flavours. Cool coconut ice cream and gut-busting banana fritters offer final temptation. To drink, there's Singha beer on draft and a decent selection of wines served from Enomatics.

More detail about Suda

Book now

Pescatori Fitzrovia

Pescatori Fitzrovia

57 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 4PD

A restaurant with a long and illustrious history, this Charlotte Street fish veteran is still packing in the crowds, who come to take advantage of its carefully rendered Italian seafood cookery, alfresco seating and colourful interiors – think black and orange leather banquettes, polished wood floors and prints on charcoal-grey walls. Prices are on the steep side, but there’s much to enjoy from the upmarket menu – perhaps fritto misto with garlic mayonnaise, ‘nduja-crusted scallops with cauliflower and truffle cream or baked whole sea bream with rosemary and Amalfi lemon. Lobster is a speciality: try it in a salad with mango, as a burger, cooked thermidor style or with a helping of linguine. To finish, desserts run the gamut from semifreddo and pannacotta to tiramisu and affogato. Wines and digestifs are equally inviting – just try to avoid footing the bill.

More detail about Pescatori Fitzrovia

Book now

Baranis

Baranis

115 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PP

We can't promise you a year in Provence, but a game of pétanque is certainly on the cards at Baranis – home to London's only indoor court. Things can get competitive after you've kicked off with a few shots of Pastis Janot or a French-themed cocktail – perhaps Julie's Mamou (a gin and elderflower sparkler), Applejack & The Green Fairy (a punchy mix of Calvados, crème de cassis and, of course, absinthe) or Le Pagnol (lychee liqueur, vodka and anise). The 'carte des vins' has a brilliant selection of characterful Corsican and Provençal bottles, while the food is supplied by the kitchens at Cigalon upstairs, so you can expect anything from top-notch charcuterie and French cheeses to socca (crispy chickpea pancakes) and anchovy-topped pissaladière. Sadly, St Tropez sunshine isn't on offer, but brightly lit brick arches give the basement space a cheerful feel.

More detail about Baranis

Book now

The Den

The Den

St Martins Lane Hotel, 45 St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4HX

This classically British, oak-panelled snug within St Martin’s Lane Hotel is an ideal meeting place, with its comfortable leather sofas and warm lighting. Majoring in afternoon tea, the selection includes fresh savoury bites such as focaccia topped with roasted courgettes, piquillo peppers, feta and mint. Sweets-wise, nibble on raspberry and matcha tea tarts and clotted cream-slathered scones. In summer, the terrace is an excellent place to try out the G&T selection, which is inspired by the vibrant artworks on the walls inside.

More detail about The Den

Book now

Nightjar

Nightjar

129 City Road, London, EC1V 1JB

Book in advance for Edmund Weil and Rosie Stimpson's highly rated and regularly rammed jazz-age hootenanny, which is home to nightly blues, swing and ragtime jams. Golden eras of the cocktail are revisited in a considered list of well-built drinks whose recipes often involve abstruse ingredients: named after 1930s jelly-legs jiggler, Josephine Baker, Nightjar's signature crusta adds Afro mbongo spice, tonka bean liqueur and passion fruit curd to its Ysabel Regina brandy base. And you’d be forgiven for wanting to purloin its chic tiki-tastic drinking vessels: porcelain wishing wells, conch shells, glass bongs, Pygmy hunting horns and ancient copper bells. Nightjar's insistence on over-elaborate presentation can sometimes leave you struggling not to tip the sip down your front.

More detail about Nightjar

Book now

Le Bar

Le Bar

59 West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9DS

Lovers of all things Gallic should swing by Club Gascon's ‘annex' , a sophisticated cocktail bar offering French small plates. The menu is proudly regionalist, with a great line in charcuterie, artisan cheese and all manner of ‘piggy' and ‘ducky' delights: pick from snacks of pig’s trotter cake and truffled cheese baguette, or go for heartier options, such as oyster, mushroom and black pudding salad, or foie gras with mussels. The ‘express lunch’ menu remains a steal for a dish of the day, plus a starter, glass of wine and pudding such as baked brandy custard. Other deals, including monthly wine dinners and oyster evenings, are also well worth considering. “Great for date nights”, says a fan.

More detail about Le Bar

Book now

Patara South Kensington

Patara South Kensington

181 Fulham Road, London, W1S 2QB

Patara may be a chain, but there are very few Thai clichés to speak of. The sitting Buddhas and wood carvings formerly decorating its branches are being steadily (and expensively) replaced with a contemporary palette of greys and marine blues, accented with angular mirrors, feature lights and muted, modern wall art. The menu strives to be ‘authentically different’ and succeeds via innovative twists on tradition, such as pad thai tossed with lobster meat, say, or massaman curry made with fall-apart lamb shanks. Fragrant Thai flavours crop up in unexpected dishes too, with tofu slices glazed in tamarind and lemongrass, before being pan-fried and sprinkled with crisp shallots, for example. Look out, too, for signature dishes, from coconutty dumplings filled with caramelised chicken and peanuts, to ginger-marinated beef fillet stir-fried with chilli, lime leaves and tangy green peppercorns. Delectable vegetarian and seafood set menus and playful cocktails are also excellent. 

More detail about Patara South Kensington

Book now

Artigiano

Artigiano

12a Belsize Terrace, London, NW3 4AX

There’s a modern sheen to this neighbourhood Italian joint, where a glass atrium boosts the sunlight factor in the daylight hours and moody lighting adds atmosphere as darkness descends. Old-school types will find plenty to satisfy, from deep-fried calamari to spaghetti with a fresh tomato sauce, but there’s more contemporary stuff too. Among first courses, a delicate timbale of crab, lobster and asparagus arrives wrapped in spinach leaves, and the brace of risottos could include a simple (and winning) combination of trevisano and Taleggio. Photos on the walls confirm visits from celebs such as Madonna and Kate Moss, but the waiters maintain equilibrium regardless of their guests’ status. We rate the simple main courses like seared tuna steak with zesty fennel salad, and for dessert, warm chocolate soufflé is perked up with an accompanying strawberry sorbet. 

More detail about Artigiano

Book now