As much as we love Christmas, it can be a rather overwhelming affair. Suddenly every friend you haven’t seen in two years wants a reunion and there are so many options for festive fun that sitting on the sofa with a mince pie seems more appealing. You’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve already scoured the capital, so read on for our whittled-down guide to the best festive offerings on the bar and restaurant scene this year.
Where to eat yuletide dishes
8 Hoxton Square, Hoxton
What: 8 Hoxton Square is helping you save some pennies for your Christmas shopping, with two great deals. Dine from a three-course set menu for £30 per person, or go for the ‘complete feast’ priced at £50 each. Personally, we like the look of this venison, served with potato galette, kale, chestnuts and cranberry among the options.
Where: 8 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU
What: For sweet treats this holiday season, make you way to Aubaine. At its sites across the capital, you’ll find a brand new Christmas menu which adds festive twists to classic staples including s'mores, eclairs and plenty more to fill your stocking.
Where: Various locations
Balans Soho Society, Clapham
What: This winter, the Clapham branch of Balans is keeping you from the cold thanks to its roaring open fire. On the festive front, guests can munch on a roast Norfolk bronze turkey with trimmings including roast potatoes, pigs in blankets and gravy, before finishing up with a helping of Christmas pudding and custard.
Where: 16a Clapham South Side, SW4 7AB
What: To mark the festive season, the team at Bubbledogs have created Santa’s sausage: Christmas stuffing, cranberry chutney, crispy Brussels sprouts, parsnip chips and gravy, with shaved truffles on top (for a supplement).
Where: 70 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QG
Elystan Street, Chelsea
What: At Phil Howard’s Chelsea joint, you can enjoy a sumptuous Christmas menu including traditional dishes such as breast of goose, and haunch of venison. Our eyes though, are firmly set on this Christmas pudding, with vanilla cream and brandy sauce.
Where: 43 Elystan Street, SW3 3NT
Red Rooster at The Curtain, Shoreditch
What: At this shiny Shoreditch hotel, you can tuck into a Southern-style feast this Christmastime, from either the ‘Feast’ or ‘Fancy Feast’ menus which feature three set courses. Options include cornbread with honey butter and tomato jam, and this spiced turbot with wild rice risotto, almond cream and pomegranate.
Where: 45 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PT
Where to enjoy festive afternoon teas
GBR at Duke’s Hotel, St James’s
What: For a traditional take on afternoon tea, head to Dukes Hotel. Here, you can enjoy the likes of a smoked turkey finger sandwich with cranberry mayonnaise, and sweet treats including cranberry and apricot scones served with clotted cream and plum jam.
Where: Little St James’s Street, SW1A 1NS
Indigo at One Aldwych, Covent Garden
What: The Yuletide afternoon tea from Indigo is inspired by treat-fest Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Guests begin with a Cocktail Charlie or a glass of Champagne, before enjoying the likes of a golden chocolate egg, home-made candyfloss, gingerbread and white chocolate pops.
Where: One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, WC2B 4BZ
Restaurant at Sanderson, Fitzrovia
What: At The Sanderson, you can get into the Christmas spirit with this cutesy Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea which has been given a festive twist. Look out for marshmallow snowmen, chocolate fudge yule log, and a Queen of Hearts rose and strawberry jammy dodger.
Where: Sanderson, 50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG
Where to buy Christmas hampers
What: For the first time in its 151 year history, Claridge’s has launched a Christmas hamper. With three options available, (The Davies, Brook, or Mayfair) the hampers include the luxury likes of Claridge’s own-brand tea, honeycomb, Christmas pudding, panettone, biscuits and teddy bears.
Where: Claridge’s, Brook Street, W1K 4HR
What: Corrigan’s has Christmas all wrapped up with its festive hamper. Inside, you’ll find pork pie, a selection of Irish cheese, a loaf of freshly baked Irish soda bread and a jar of gooseberry garden jam. There are also shortbread biscuits and a Christmas pudding for those with an extra sweet tooth.
Where: 28 Upper Grosvenor Street, W1K 7EH
Where to drink festive cocktails
Aqua Kyoto, Regent Street
What: As seasonal tipples go, Aqua Kyoto’s offering looks pretty damn good. This Sloeberry Snowsnaps combines gin mixed with grenadine made from pomegranates and lemon juice. The cocktail is then topped with soda, a dehydrated lemon and seasonal redcurrants.
Where: 240 Regent Street (entrance 30 Argyll Street), W1B 3BR
What: To get in the Christmas spirit, sip on a winter cocktail from Aviary. Why not go for the Hot Chocolate Rum, which comes topped with two toasted marshmallows – comfort drink heaven.
Where: 22-25 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DX
The Cinnamon Club, Westminster
What: Add a little spice to the festive season this year at The Cinnamon Club, with its ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ cocktail. The warming sip is served in a bauble and blends Ophir spiced gin, cranberry, fennel, rosemary and tonic, before being garnished with orange peel.
Where: The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, SW1P 3BU
The best Christmas takeovers
Coq d’Argent, City
What: This rooftop favourite is prepping for winter with an Arctic-inspired Lodge d’Argent. Two igloo tents have been installed alongside fur blankets and snowy decorations. There’s even a Northern Lights simulation in the lift, while the food offering includes venison meatballs with red berry sauce, and warm waffles with hot chocolate and Chantilly cream.
Where: 1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ
Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury
What: Probably one of the most Instagram-friendly terraces in London, Dalloway’s winter incarnation is back for another year. Heaters, sheepskin rugs and snow will set the scene, while guests can tuck into sweet or savoury fondue alongside hot cocktails. Try the Spiced Pear and Rum Flip, or the Dalloway Glögg, served with shaved almonds and crystallised sugar.
Where: The Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN
York & Albany, Regent’s Park
What: Gordon Ramsay’s NW1 site is now home to an ‘awfully British winter cabin’, inspired by an eccentric British home. Kitted out with stag skulls, Union Jacks and vintage books, with guests enjoying mulled wine from a trolley, alongside sharing menus that includes haggis sausage rolls, venison pigs-in-blankets, and red onion tartlets. Available to hire for groups of 10 and doggies are welcome, too.
Where: 127-129 Parkway NW1 7PS
If cooking Christmas dinner is a little beyond your culinary remit, check out our pick of London restaurants open on Christmas Day.