From Michelin-starred chefs branching out on their own to big-name pop-ups that have found a bricks-and-mortar home, here are our top 10 openings of 2017

Words Heather Steele

Christmas parties at Aquavit

Aquavit

St James’s Market, SW1Y 4QQ

Private dining 60

After 30 accolade-strewn years in New York, Aquavit brought its refined Nordic style to the UK in early 2017. Expect a more laid-back affair, with tasty small plates and (of course) lots of aquavit.

Christmas parties at Bibendum

Bibendum

81 Fulham Rd, SW3 6RD

Semi-private dining 8

Claude Bosi, formerly of Hibiscus, arrived at South Ken’s beautiful Michelin House in May. Within, there’s an oyster bar, plus a formal dining room upstairs. Tables of eight can book into both.

Christmas parties at Core Clare Smyth london restaurants

Core

92 Kensington Park Rd, W11 2PN

Semi-private dining 12

After years at the helm of Mr Ramsay’s three-Michelin-starred Royal Hospital Road, Clare Smyth has opened her own place. A 12-seat table by the kitchen offers a prime spot to taste her superlative cooking.

Christmas parties at La Dame de Pic london restaurants

La Dame de Pic

10 Trinity Sq, EC3N 4AJ

Exclusive use 80 | Private dining 14

The Four Seasons at Trinity Square is a fittingly grand home for a chef who arrives from France with three Michelin stars. Anne-Sophie Pic’s impeccable tasting menu is a masterclass in classic cooking.

Christmas parties at Kricket Soho london restaurants

Kricket Soho

12 Denman St, W1D 7HH

Private dining 14

We fell hard for Kricket when it was a 20-seat pop-up in a shipping container. Now it’s got a permanent site: the team’s delicious Mumbai-inspired dishes (we love the samphire pakoras) make it a must-visit.

Christmas parties at Nobu Shoreditch london restaurants

Nobu Shoreditch

10-50 Willow St, EC2A 4BH

Exclusive use 240 | Private dining 18

Nobu’s newest hotel-restaurant opened in July. Aesthetics and menus align with the group’s east-meets-west philosophy: think contemporary western design dotted with subtle Japanese detailing.

Christmas parties at Red Rooster at The Curtain london restaurants

Red Rooster

45 Curtain Rd, EC2A 4PT

Private dining 18

Obama’s favourite spot back in the States, this ‘Harlem soul food’ joint opened in the swanky new Curtain hotel in June. The fried chicken and waffles are as good as it gets – and perfect for group sharing too.

Temper City Neil Rankin London restaurants bars

Temper City

30 Throgmorton St, EC2R 7HJ

Exclusive use 300 | Private dining 60

We’ve been fans of Neil Rankin for ages, so were elated when he opened taco temple Temper last year. He’s focusing on curry for his new City launch. Messy and moreish – it’s ideal for festive feasting.

Christmas parties at The Wigmore london restaurants

The Wigmore

The Langham, W1B 1JA

Semi-private dining 25, 40

A pub inside one of London’s most luxurious hotels seems a tad incongruous – until you realise Michel Roux Jr’s behind it. Pies, pints and bar snacks are all here: it’s just considerably more polished than your local.

Christmas parties at Xu london restaurants

XU

30 Rupert St, W1D 6DL

Exclusive use 74 | Private dining 8

The team behind steamed bun sensation Bao has just launched Xu, another Taiwanese spot that hits the mark with fun, interesting dishes to share. The beautiful Mahjong Rooms can seat eight for private dinners.

Plus four recently refurbished restaurants worth checking out

Christmas parties at Simpsons on the Strand london restaurants

+ Fenchurch

Level 37, 20 Fenchurch St, EC3M 8AF

Exclusive use 40

There are plenty of view-boasting restaurant options in the City nowadays, but the combination of top-notch service and ex-The Square chef Daniel Fletcher in the kitchen makes this one pop.

+ Flesh & Buns

41 Earlham St, WC2H 9LX

Semi-private dining 34

We suggest ordering from this refreshed restaurant’s new ‘Party Flesh’ menu. Groups of six or more can dine on roast suckling pig, beef ribs and lamb shoulder with kimchee, pickles and sauces.

+ Launceston Place

1a Launceston Place, W8 5RL

Private dining 12

D&D London’s best site was given a new lease of life this year, with a contemporary look and the arrival of Ben Murphy as chef. His masterful tasting menu hits the mark. One to bank.

+ Simpsons-in-the-Strand (pictured above)

100 Strand, WC2R 0EW

Private dining 100, 140

One of London’s oldest restaurants got a makeover this summer. The vibe remains classic (and it still serves from its group-friendly carvery trolley), but now it features a more contemporary menu.


Prefer a bigger venue for your Christmas do? Have a look at our directory for all the best places to celebrate this year


This article was first published in SquareMeal Christmas 2017