|OXO Tower Bar & Restaurant|
Recent restaurants are proving that London’s culinary options are as varied and exciting as the people who live there. Gourmands can find hundreds of unique gastronomic experiences, from haute cuisine to gastropubs. In fact, the city’s restaurants have earned a collective 48 Michelin stars! Gourmands can find hundreds of unique gastronomic experiences, from haute cuisine to gastropubs.
Renowned Italian winemakers the Frescobaldi family have just opened a Tuscan restaurant in Harrods. The dei Frescobaldi Restaurant and Wine Bar is the family’s first eatery outside Italy. The menu features signature dishes such as scallop and fennel risotto and tagliata of grilled rib eye steak. In the wine bar, your clients can enjoy fine wines and authentic Tuscan antipasti.
Brothers Jeff and Chris Galvin have launched a new venue in East London, with a fine dining restaurant, café and bar all under one roof. Galvin La Chapelle serves classic Galvin dishes such as lasagna of Dorset crab and slow cooked Pyrenees lamb; Galvin Café de Luxe offers bistro food and outdoor dining; and an interconnecting bar serves light dishes.
In historic Borough Market, Roast is dedicated to the best of British cooking. The restaurant uses seasonal produce to create traditional dishes such as potted shrimps and roast beef, and also serves English wines and local cheeses.
Boisdale of Belgravia is housed in an elegant Regency building near Buckingham Palace. The menu is primarily Scottish, with mini-roast haggis with neeps (parsnips), potatoes and whisky. Boisdale is also an acclaimed jazz venue, and home to one of the largest selections of cigars in Europe.
A traditional English eatery housed in a former smokehouse, St. John specializes in what chef Fergus Henderson has termed “nose-to-tail eating,” meaning that no part of the animal is inedible. Recent dishes have included crispy pigskin salad, and duck hearts with green beans and walnuts. It’s heaven for meat lovers.
Oozing with English refinement, The Rib Room and Oyster Bar restaurant opened on the ground floor of the Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel in 1961. The beef is fine Aberdeen Angus, while the oysters and seafood come fresh from Lock Fyne in Scotland.
London’s gastropubs offer a more upscale take on the classic British pub experience.
In Soho, The Couch may well have the biggest windows on Dean Street. The menu changes weekly, but some recent options have included chargrilled king prawns with couscous and sweet chili and chicken breast with cream cheese and asparagus.
The Duke of Cambridge offers organic fare, and the seasonal menu of classic British food changes twice daily. All of the pub’s ales are local brews, and the wine list has 40 bins from which oenophiles can choose. Nice touch: All of the wines are organic.
The Cabin Room at The Gun, a popular gastropub, features murals of Nelson’s cabin and the Battle of Trafalgar, and can be rented for private dining. In the summer, if it’s sunny, fresh fish is barbecued in the alfresco eating area.
Other options around the city: Have a pint at the Viaduct Tavern, the site of the old Newgate Prison where guests can see original cells dating to the 1860s. They should also sample some of the world’s widest selection of single cask, single malt whiskys at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Heddon Street (made famous by the David Bowie album cover “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”) is a great spot for alfresco dining, and The Duke of Cambridge in Islington is the world’s first organic pub (organic beer—it’s delicious and environmental!). History fans will want to visit Dickens’ and Thackeray’s pub, the historical Trafalgar Tavern in Greenwich, or the George Inn on Borough High Street (London’s only surviving galleried coaching inn, mentioned in Dickens’ Little Dorrit). For a great view to accompany the meal, book a table atop the OXO Tower where architect Albert Moore incorporated an O-X-O into the window design.
Top Tip: Unique Dining
Several of the best museums in London also have terrific restaurants. The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has the world’s first purpose-built museum restaurant, which was built in 1857. The British Museum has three restaurants and cafes (including the Court Restaurant, under the glass roof of the Great Court) as well as a family picnic area. For more information, go to visitlondon.com.