A delicious new French brasserie has opened in Hyde Park near its northern entrance. Tucked away in the back streets of Lancaster Gate, Angelus serves everything from coffee and pastries to a serious three-course meal. The restaurant is owned by Thierry Thomasin, the former sommelier of Michelin star Le Gavroche.
This Michelin-starred neighborhood restaurant in Notting Hill has long served some of the best Italian food in the city. With less than a dozen tables and a fanatical following, it has been one of the toughest places to get a last-minute table for more than a decade. Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Another of the Lexington St gems like Andrew Edmunds and Fernandez & Wells, Aurora has deep red walls and candle lit dark tables, but it is the huge portions of fresh, inventive food that makes it so popular. There is an Asian-influence that borders on ‘fusion’, and the fish dishes are especially good. This is a place to settle into, so if you are booking early, go for the second sitting at 9pm, and if the sun is shining ask for a table in the idyllic walled garden.
John Oddy, the executive director of the Royal Oak Foundation travels to London three times a year. He recommends: “A lovely spot for a relaxed meal is the Bleeding Heart, a fabulous French restaurant that’s tucked away in Soho. It’s modern French food, especially good cheeses and meats.”
Well placed for the theater is Brumus, at the Haymarket Hotel, whose main entrance is located on Haymarket next to the Theatre Royal. Those passionate about pink will immediately warm to its vivid magenta decor. The brasserie-style menu features such dishes as farmhouse pâté with chutney, beef carpaccio with parmesan and arugula, and grilled Dover sole with new potatoes. I went there on my birthday, and the chocolate cake was fantastic. Service is a bit mixed, but it’s a visually arresting place, like the hotel itself. Stop off at the adjoining bar for the real buzz.
For weekday lunch, this classic Mayfair restaurant is delicious fun. Redesigned by Soho House’s Ilse Crawford, the modern, airy eatery with a Venetian feel is just off New Bond Street, ideal for a shopping break. The dining room, with a black-and-white tile floor and green chairs, is at its busiest during the week. Try the cichetti (Italian-style tapas) or the lobster spaghetti. I loved the steak fiorentina sautéed with mushrooms.
Hix Oyster & Chop House
Mark Hix, former executive chef of the Ivy, Caprice and Scott’s, has opened his own restaurant, reviving an 18th-century chop house. The menu features British meat on the bone, beef flank and oyster pie as well as various cuts of twenty-eight-day aged Aberdeenshire beef, while oysters of any kind serve as understudies. It has received good reviews and even the notorious AA Gill gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
Just awarded its first Michelin star, this cozy restaurant off Marylebone High Street, offers delicious and beautifully prepared food in a congenial setting. It’s been a bit of a foodie secret since it opened but the star will surely bring more attention to talented twenty-something chef Marcus Eaves, who turns out such dishes as creamed chestnut and bacon veloute, and apple and blackberry crumble with blackberry sorbet for dessert. The private dining room seats up to sixteen guests. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Markham Inn and Restaurant
Founded by Piers Adam and Nick House (of late night Mahiki and Whiskey Mist fame), The Markham Inn and Restaurant is an all-day brasserie spot in Chelsea near the Kings Road. From breakfast through to lunch, tea and dinner, the Markham serves up everything from Scotch woodcock and kedgeree to eggs benedict for. Lunch includes Dorset crab on toast, Iberico bellota ham, tempting risottos and traditional roasts.
The man who seems to have stolen the crown from Sir Terence Conran as the king of London’s restaurant scene, Gordon Ramsay cannot be accused of cookie cutter eateries. His three-star-Michelin restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s exults in drama and flamboyant gestures. In contrast, Maze emphasizes sleek modernity in the setting and New World influences in the dishes. He has taken a cue from Maze and toned it way down at Maze Grill, the less formal sister, right next door. But if the look is derivative, the food stands apart all over again. There is nothing overly precious here, because steak commands center stage. Whether you want excellent Aberdeen Angus fillet, aged U.S. rib eye or Wagyu sirloin, you will eat perfectly grilled meats in a smart steakhouse atmosphere, which is an entirely new act for Ramsay and his talented team—and another winner.
Chelsea finally has a solid restaurant option with the arrival of Medlar, on the Kings Road not too far from Conran’s Bluebird, which offers good food and service in a relaxed setting. Critics have dubbed Medlar “heart-warmingly old school.” Reservations have no time limit, seating is comfortable, the art is well-curated and the two owners learned with the best, namely the Square and the Ledbury.
Gordon Ramsay protégé Angela Hartnett, who previously had a Michelin star when she oversaw the Grill Room in the Connaught, has regained her shine with her Mayfair restaurant, Murano. Hartnett unveiled two new spots this year. Though her down-home York & Albany in Ramsay’s new inn near Regent’s Park may be the tougher reservation to get, it’s her polished dining room just off Curzon Street that has won a star. In a slim dining room of white, cream and grey palettes, Hartnett pays homage to Italian cuisine and her family’s heritage. Best dishes such as pumpkin tortelli with sage emulsion and crushed amaretti and sea bass with white beans and spiced tomato don’t try too hard to surprise; others like halibut with parsnip puree with oxtail and salisfy go too far. The only off note on a recent visit came from the abrupt service, including a very aggressive push to upgrade our wine selection. The private dining room seats ten and looks into the open kitchen. A great deal is the £25 set lunch. At dinner there is no a la carte menu, but a prix fixe three course for £55 or a more expensive menu. Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Sam and Eddie Hart, the owners of popular Fino and Barrafina, have revamped this iconic Soho eatery. In its past life Quo Vadis was run by famous chef Marco Pierre White and artist Damien Hirst. Now its gone traditional British with dishes like slow-cooked pork shoulder and macaroni.
A favorite of David Linley.
“Roussillon is a wonderful one-Michelin-star French restaurant that’s ideally located just off the Pimlico Road. It’s a real gem.”
Indagare’s London-based contributor, Elena Bowes, writes, “From Corbin and King, the duo behind the well-loved Wolseley, The Delaunay quietly opened in 2011 to rave reviews. Styled in the Grand European tradition, the all-day, chic eatery takes central Europe as its inspiration with sections of the menu entitled ‘Wieners’ and ‘Schnitzels.’ In tribute to the late artist Lucien Freud, a regular at the Wolseley, there’s an ice cream coupe called “Lucien’ and another called the ‘Mozart.’ In addition to the traditional restaurant, there’s also a section of unreserved tables at the bar and a take-out and deli service.”
Zafferano couldn’t be better placed in Belgravia, one of London’s most fashionable residential districts. Booking in advance is a must; this is the kind of Italian restaurant native Italians go to. From a fresh creamy burrata to veal and taleggio lasagna, the freshest of ingredients are flown in from Italy three times a week. Andrew Needhamis able to make simple Italian dishes that allows that quality to shine. With seasonal fresh food each week, the menu changes often but the delicious bruschetta is a staple. Open daily.