It goes without saying that London is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, but not all of them come cheap. To help those looking to eat high-end without the hefty bill, we’ve scoured the capital’s restaurants to present you with these great-value, three-course set lunch menus, arranged from cheapest to most expensive. Just remember: the more you save on food, the more you can spend on clothes.
Words: Eamonn Crowe
Jamavar, Mayfair (above)
Why so gourmet? Opened just last year, this high-end Indian has a great-value lunch for those who want to watch their spending. Begin with pan-seared Achari-style pork with pickled garlic, before moving on to bigger bites of Old Dehli butter chicken or Bengali-style fish with chilli and aubergine.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £25
Street XO, Mayfair
Why so gourmet? With art-attack style presentation and imaginative flavour combinations, this Mayfair spot has caused quite the stir since opening last year. Its set lunch menu includes Pekinese dumplings with pig’s ears, hot smoked scallops and Korean lasagne – boring it is not.
What's the three-course lunch deal? £25
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Covent Garden
Why so gourmet? With a whole galaxy of Michelin stars to his name around the world, Joël Robuchon doesn’t really need to provide an excellent-value lunch option, but luckily there is one. Expect beef cheek cooked in red wine, followed by lemon cheesecake, served with Limoncello and a Greek yoghurt sorbet.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £29
Why so gourmet? This stellar contemporary Indian from the siblings behind Trishna and Hoppers offers an affordable lunch that doesn’t compromise on quality. The menu includes softshell crab with wild rice, as well as a tandoori chicken chop with korma gravy.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £30
Savoy Grill at The Savoy, Covent Garden
Why so gourmet? This London landmark is now overseen by Gordon Ramsay. A very affordable lunch menu offers dishes such as Cumbrian shepherd’s pie and a dark chocolate mousse served with shortbread.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £30
Typing Room at Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green (above)
Why so gourmet? Chef Lee Westcott’s superb tribute to Nordic cuisine places British ingredients centre stage, with a lunch menu starring venison with burnt quince and monk’s beard, as well as Yorkshire rhubarb with tarragon and milk.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £32
Why so gourmet? The generous, richly-flavoured Italian menu at Angela Hartnett’s flagship makes for compulsive eating. Lunch entices thanks to confit duck leg with red onion and blood-orange marmalade, as well as chocolate ganache with salted caramel and blood-orange ice cream.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £33
Why so gourmet? This Hakkasan group venture is a sleek and stylish City find. Usually pretty pricey, at lunchtime you’ll get a dim sum platter, followed by cherry-wood-roasted Peking duck served tableside.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £35
Why so gourmet? This minimalist reimagining of high-end London dining is due to close in June, as Ollie Dabbous pushes ahead with plans for a new project in the capital – make the most of its value lunch menu while you can.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £36
Pollen Street Social, Mayfair (above)
Why so gourmet? Jason Atherton’s Modern European flagship serves a stylish lunch, including Ribble Valley chicken breast in a leek dressing, with chicken-fat mash and cockles.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £37
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Knightsbridge
Why so gourmet? At the (very swanky) Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Heston’s London big-hitter continues to wow diners with its quirky lunch offerings, including pig’s ear on toast.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £40
Elystan Street, Chelsea
Why so gourmet? This Phil Howard venture opened its doors in 2016, following his shock departure from The Square. The European lunch menu sees well-executed dishes like roast cod with lightly curried lentils.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £42.50
Restaurant Story, South Bank (above)
Why so gourmet? From chef Tom Sellers (also Restaurant Ours), the menu at this concept site follows a story and features plenty of mind-bending cooking, such as pigeon with vanilla and bitter leaves.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £45
Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, Mayfair
Why so gourmet? This site screams special occasion, but it’s also set up for a luxe weekday lunch. Pick from plates including chicken with black truffle, celeriac and sorrel, or smoked eel with ricotta and lemon.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £52 (including two glasses of wine)
Marcus at The Berkeley, Knightsbridge
Why so gourmet? This grandiose restaurant continues to draw in hungry lunchers looking for a taste of luxury. Marcus Wareing’s two-Michelin-starred cooking covers the likes of rabbit with pickled celery and Parmesan, followed by blood-orange cake with custard.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £55
The Greenhouse, Mayfair
Why so gourmet? Chef Arnaud Bignon has a passion for mixing classical French cuisine with the latest culinary trends, all wrapped up in a calming oasis entered through a leafy hidden courtyard – great for when the weather’s good.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £55 (including half a bottle of wine)
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Mayfair
Why so gourmet? Combine a globally famous hotel, one of the world’s best-known chefs, a seasonal menu which might include home-made gnocchi with lamb’s lettuce and Parmesan, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a great lunch.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £65 (including two glasses of wine)
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Chelsea (above)
Why so gourmet? Gordon Ramsay’s Chelsea flagship (which earns our maximum four Squaremeal stars) continues to pull in diners. Its lunch menu features beef tartare, Norfolk chicken with smoked bacon, and an Earl Grey parfait.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £65
Le Gavroche, Mayfair
Why so gourmet? Also awarded our highest star rating, this Michel Roux Junior-led restaurant boasts an impressive lunch menu, featuring potted pork with veg and guinea fowl with polenta.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £66 (including half a bottle of wine and petits fours)
The Ledbury, Notting Hill
Why so gourmet? Constantly innovative and surprising, The Ledbury is a solid choice for a spot of fancy lunching. Feast on dishes including pumpkin soup with bacon and truffle, and grey partridge leg with Earl Grey and salt-baked turnips.
What’s the three-course lunch deal? £70
If we’ve given you a taste for the high life, why not check out our full selection of four-star restaurants (the highest rating we give). Or, if you’ve got rather less pennies to count than everything we’ve suggested above, have a browse of the best cheap eats in London.
This article was updated 23 March 2017