With big-chain restaurant groups in hot water, we’re championing the indie ones that can’t be replicated elsewhere. Here are our some of our favourites
What’s so special about it? Soft, steamed buns and a chance to see how they’re made
Private dining 10, 20, 48
When Bao opened in Soho in 2015, it soon became a steamed bun sensation. We’re very happy to see the opening of a second restaurant in Fitzrovia, and this time with two events spaces available. Groups can see how the buns are made by the chefs in the open kitchen, or they can head upstairs for a chance to see mixologists whip up cocktails.
What makes it so special? The Paris street-café’s chequered tablecloths and the knock-out signature Paris steak sandwich
Capacity 20, 200
This charming Parisian restaurant in the City has been in business since 1978, but has recently had a revamp. Serving up traditional French cuisine in a deco environment, the private dining area can host anything from a sit-down meal to a canapé reception. Better still, it usually doesn’t charge you for venue hire.
What makes it so special? Its business location and fifties Hitchcock interiors
Private dining 170
Housed in the original Reebok Sports Club is the Pearson Room, which offers a wide selection of international food alongside pretty good vistas of Canary Wharf. Our favourite private hire spaces are The Vault ¬(for drinks receptions) and the Balcony, which has panoramic views over Canada square.
What makes it so special? Really, really good Italian food
Private dining 10, 20, 52
One-time Roux Scholarship finalist Sabrina Gidda heads up the kitchen here and ensures some serious plates of food. These can be enjoyed in a variation of set menus for private dining in one of the restaurant’s PDRs. The colourful Dog House basement bar and courtyard is also great for pre- or post-dinner drinks.
What makes it so special? Four floors of fun in two 18th-century townhouses
Private dining 14, 16, 28, 77
Tucked away in a historic cobbled courtyard, this place is overloaded with all things trendy (quirky design, superfood and a dancefloor). The Brasserie, The Chef’s Dining Room, La Cave and the Art Gallery are all available for private hire and with signature cocktails, vintage champagnes and a star-studded wine list, you’re guaranteed a good night.
What makes it so special? The freshest oysters in London (apparently)
Private dining 15, 18, 30, 60
Richard Corrigan’s place not only offers a wide selection of private dining rooms, but also the freshest oysters in town. Shuckers get through Carlingford, Jersey and West Mersea bivalves with support from celebratory seashore platters, fish and chips and even a sushi salad bowl. The private dining interiors ooze of sophistication, so this is definitively where to bring clients you’re trying to impress.