For minimalist warehouse chic in the middle of the East End head down to this converted factory. Its whiteness, high ceiling and hanging lights (not too bright) just add to the effect, which is elegant and stylish. You'll find unpretentious classic dishes, bringing together choice influences from French and English food. The whole vibe is effortless - understated sophistication at its best. Strangely, the restaurant is not open for lunch during the week. This is a shame for both them and us as they do a roaring trade on weekends. The brunch menu is a real treat and is served with a delicious soundtrack of pop hits played on their baby grand piano, courtesy of resident musician Xavior. Bistrotheque used to host regular cabaret evenings, but came over all grown up with a refurbishment which saw the addition of two new areas including a central American Manchichi wood bar, and a private dining room on the ground floor. The Manchichi bar comes with its very own menu and drinks list, think charcuterie, oysters, classic mains and little nibbles washed down with a classic Negroni, French 68 or a Sidecar. Downstairs the private dining room can seat 100 guests and caters for everything from parties to proclamations.
Best Sunday Lunch in London
Minimalist warehouse chic with unpretentious classic dishes
23 - 27 Wadeson Street, Hackney, London, E2 9DN
Tube: Bethnal Green Station
Pioneering gastropub with an extensive range of micro-brewery beers and an all organic menu
30 St Peter's Street, Islington, London, N1 8JT
Tube: Angel Station
This pioneering organic pub has done a good job of going gastro without losing the atmosphere of a proper boozer. In part, this is due to the quantity of tables and chairs they've crammed into the stripped pine main bar, forcing people to share and creating a buzzy, convivial atmosphere that works well whether you're on a birthday party or a date. It's also due to an excellent range of organic micro-brewery beers, which keeps the CAMRA types happy, even though the decor's a bit lighter and airier than they might like. They are exceedingly proud of their title as Britains first and only certified organic pub and the ethical values mean the food is really thoughtfully prepared. The short menu - pies, roasts, whole fish and stews - has some mouth watering dishes like the pigeon breast wrapped in bacon with brussel sprouts and chestnuts. There are also a few creative veggie options, like the savoury butternut squash, almond and mascerpone 'cheesecake.' It's a bit on the pricey side but you're paying for superb ingredients and it's not hard to see why the Islington locals keep coming back for more.
Shabby chic restaurant split into three sections with locally sourced British food
43-51 Great Titchfield Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 7PQ
They've conquered Bermondsey Street, and now the team behind the excellent Garrison and Village East are working their brasserie magic in the West end. Bric a brac, shabby chic in design but executed perfectly with many restored elements The Riding House Cafe is housed in a terrific light filled ex-rag trade showroom. Split into three sections including the 'Campbell's Tomato soup' coloured dining room, a large bar lined with comfy stools and a huge central table seating 19 on surprisingly comfortable vintage theatre chairs, and a small lounge area on the far side. Great locally sourced British cooking and a fabulous breakfast spread, also a highly recommended destination for a relaxed Sunday lunch. A wonderful addition to the somewhat sparsely populated restaurant scene north of Oxford Street.
This subterranean restaurant is all about the steak from Ginger Pig's Yorkshire Farm
11 Langley Street, Seven Dials, , Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9JG
Carnivores will be delighted with the opening of this branch of Hawksmoor restaurant in Covent Garden's Seven Dials. Will Beckett and Huw Gott's British steakhouse and cocktail bar, whose flagship venture in Spitalfields fast became a favourite amongst the capital's meat lovers, gets a West End makeover with this second enterprise on Langley Street which opened in November 2010. The subterranean venue (which seats 128 in the restaurant and 50 in its stylish cocktail bar) is housed in a former brewery and looks slick: Victorian cast iron columns hold up a vaulted ceiling above Manhattan-style exposed brickwork walls and oak panelling; the tables are spruced up casts-offs from old laboratories, while the lower walls are also covered from tiles sourced from London Underground. But it's all about the steak: sourced from the Ginger Pig's Yorkshire farm, some of these succulent slices are aged and hung for a whopping 55 days. Besides the steaks, the Hawksmoor Burger with crunchy beef-dripping chips has legendary status, while the menu also boasts the likes of lamb chops, lobster, ribs, oysters and sausages. There's an express menu for lunch and pre-/post-theatre which includes two courses for £22 or three for £25, while the Hawksmoor Sunday roasts have been championed by the Observer Food Monthly. It's rather expensive, but for steak this good it's money well spent.
Basement restaurant provides top notch traditional Sunday roast
2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, , Shoreditch, London, E2 7DD
Tube: Old Street Station
This Shoreditch project is the first from Terence Conran since he signed over his well known restaurants - Bluebird, Quaglino's and plenty more besides - to D & D. The creation of Boundary saw an impressive makeover of this imposing building, a former Victorian warehouse, includes two restaurants (Boundary and Albion), twelve spacious hotel rooms and a rooftop bar, all stylishly done up - as you'd expect from the man behind Habitat and largely responsible for the 1990s revolution on London's restaurant scene. The guest rooms are named after famous designers and themed in their style, so you can stay in the Eames room or sit in the Corbusier chair. The more formal of the two restaurants, the Boundary, is located in the basement, cooking up a choice of classic French and English recipes including a top-notch traditional Sunday roast. The Albion caff is a more casual affair, offering British classics like fish pie from its ground floor spot, with pavement seating spilling out onto the street. Steeped in history, the bar includes the boundary stone which originally marked the end of the land belonging to drapers Jeremiah Rotherham & Co and the start of the London County Council's property. Today, Boundary Street separates Hackney from Tower Hamlets. The weekend lunch menus are great value at £19.50 for two courses or £24.50 for three.
Seasonally adjusted changing menu and shabby chic appeal
58 Penton Street, Islington, London, N1 9PZ
Tube: Angel Station
Set your bearings north to Islington where Penton Street meets Chapel Market and you'll find The Compass pub. Along with a name change (dropping the fishy sounding part of its previous moniker, 'The Salmon & Compass', in June 2009) comes a shift in atmosphere away from party venue to gastro pub. Under the ownership of John Rentsen and Charlie Silver (who also own The Green in Clerkenwell) The Compass exchanges weekly DJs for a seasonally adjusted daily changing menu. The refurbished space has a shabby chic appeal with exposed brick walls teamed with chandelliers and a 30 foot oak panelled bar. At the bar you'll find Alton's Pride alongside Cheddar Valley organic cider as well as bottled beers like Modello from Mexico and Portugese favourite Super Bock. An extensive wine list complements the offerings from the open kitchen - how about a rich glass of Argentinian Malbec to go with your duck scotch egg; or a Muscadet Sèvre et Maine to set off a sea bass based fish stew? On a hungover morning, head straight for the black pudding sausage roll washed down with a bloody mary. They haven't completely done away with the music and DJs - upstairs there's an elegant private room with its own bar, PA sound system, projector and decks.
Berkshire sourced game and wild produce, plus signature dish: a venison Scotch egg
Walham Grove, Fulham, London, SW6 1QR
Tube: Fulham Broadway Station
The Harwood Arms has upped its gastro offering, moving away from being just another West London pub and blossoming into a place where fine food flourishes. The critics seem to agree and the Harwood has steadily built up a collection of awards and accolades, including the first and only London pub to be awarded a Michelin star. From the people who own the highly rated Pot Kiln in Frilsham, the food is along the same best of British lines, think great game and wild produce, much of which is sourced from the nearby Berkshire countryside. Resolutely down to earth, they get the basics just right. Their signature dish, to give an example, is a venison Scotch egg, to be enjoyed as a bar snack, and they serve the best potatoes in London - crushed and fried to perfection. Sunday is a celebration of all things delicious and British, try choosing between grilled haunch and sausage of Berkshire roe deer with parsnip hash and field mushrooms or the rib of red ruby beef with smoked bone marrow and Yorkshire puds. If you haven't exploded with satisfaction by this point then you must try a bowl of warm baked custard with Yorkshire rhubarb and gingernut biscuits.
Internationally influenced menu with innovative options
47-48 St John's Square, Clerkenwell, , Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 4JJ
Anna Hansen hasn't moved far from her former employer Fergus Henderson - whom she worked with back in 1992 at The French Dining House Room - setting up her Clerkenwell restaurant, The Modern Pantry, just down the road from his landmark eaterie, the St John. Overlooking St John's Square, this is a second venture for the New Zealander who used to co-own our favourite Marylebone tapas fusion place, The Providores. With such a culinary pedigree it's no surprise that The Modern Pantry opened to great excitement in August 2008 and, over time, has proved that it more than lives up to the hype. With a ground floor cafe, first floor restaurant and pantry (deli) under one roof, you can sample the internationally influenced three course menu, order birthday cake or take a sandwich away for lunch. We'd recommended settling in for the full experience, sampling innovative dishes like red cabbage and miso soup and cassava chips served with tomato chilli jam and crème fraiche. Mains continue the treat for adventurous eaters - with choices of sake and soy butternut squash risotto dressed with cashew and mint pesto, and roast pork belly with chocolate and balsamic vinaigrette. For afters, Earl Grey panna cotta served with blackberry and liquorice jelly or chocolate mousse cake with tamarind caramel and cocoa chilli crumbs are typical of the tempting choices that you'll surely find room for.
Events at The Modern Pantry
23rd June to 31st August 2014 - Various Times | Free
Grade II listed four-storey Georgian building serving nostalgic comfort food
69-71 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 3SE
Everything about the Dean Street Townhouse is very British from the Grade II listed four-storey Georgian building to the Dining Room with its "nursery-food menu" and "Brit-art in the restaurant" (The Independent). The first joint production by Nick Jones, founder of Soho House, and Richard Caring, who owns The Ivy, Le Caprice, Scott's, Annabel's and others, Dean Street Townhouse feels like it's been on this Soho street for a hundred years even though it only opened in 2009. It's not easy to do but with this restaurant the duo have created "the perfect French brasserie serving delectably simple English food" (observes Matthew Norman in The Guardian). And unlike its sister establishments - exclusive London members' clubs Soho House, The Electric and Shoreditch House - you don't have to be a member to eat or stay here. The menu is full of nostalgic comfort food from mince and potatoes to fish and chips with mushy peas with fruit scones for afternoon tea. The style is fashionably homey and the roast dinners are seriously indulgent, Banham chicken or Hereford beef both come with Yorkshire puddings, roasties, cauliflower cheese and honey-roasted veg. You can sit on red leather banquettes in the main dining room, in vintage armchairs in the lounge, or on high stools at the bar while taking in the impressive art collection featuring works by contemporary British artists like Paul Noble, Keith Tyson, Peter Blake, Tracey Emin, Mark Titchner, Fiona Banner, Keith Coventry and Mat Collishaw. Accusations of style over substance haven't stopped this place from building up a chic loyal clientele and a smattering of celebrity supporters.
Unfussy British country-house cuisine with seasonal game
44 Elizabeth Street, Victoria, London, SW1W 9PA
Tube: Sloane Square Station
The Thomas Cubitt - named after the great Belgravia architect - is a perfect paneled pub, enclosed by French windows on two sides which open out on to the pretty Elizabeth Street and the huddles of tables outside, adding to the light, airy feel. The menu is focused on unfussy British country house cuisine. Crisp crackling, slow-cooked Sunday roasts, fresh seafood, chocolate sponge, and lots of seasonal game and cheeses are the mainstays. The dining room prices are eye-watering (not surprisingly given the location, and the stunning building), but the short bar menu is excellent value, and it packs out at weekends. If you like this sort of thing you're in luck, the owners also run The Pantechnicon, The Orange (their first pub with rooms), and The Grazing Goat which are unique but all have the same Cubitt House feel with light, airy dining rooms and decent gastropub menus.
Simple, honest cooking with a microbrewery in the basement
28 Heath Street, London, NW3 6TE
Tube: Hampstead Station
With its own microbrewery in the basement and good by-the-glass wine list this would be a good boozer by anybody's standards. But couple this with the simple, honest cooking using quality ingredients and you have a gastro pub that stands out from the over-priced restaurants in this affluent area. As a restaurant alone, it is the best thing in Hampstead; especially recommended is their Sunday lunch. The honest approach is evident before you even glance at the menu as the fuss-free interior, plain wood furniture and bare brick walls attest to the no frills attitude of owner Jasper Cuppaidge. When you've tried the Red Poll beef, seared scallops or their baked fig, goat's cheese and walnut salad you'll understand why it gets so busy. And, like the punters filling up the place, you'll be back.
A menu that takes influence from California, Mexico, Peru, Brazil and Argentina
Kings Cross Filling Station, Goods Way, King's Cross, London, N1C 4UR
Tube: King's Cross Station
The Bistrotheque crew brings a slice of Californian cool to a former King's Cross petrol station. Overlooked by Kings Place and the offices of The Guardian, next to the Regent's Canal, Shrimpy's has been designed by London architecture firm Carmody Groarke who replaced petrol pumps with Donald Urquhart murals, Jonathan Trayte sculptures. Shrimpy's Chef Director Tom Collins has come up with a menu influenced from trips to California, Mexico, Peru, Brazil and Argentina. This translates into a menu of lobster, octopus and soft shell crab with sweetcorn chowder and salt cod croquets for starters, veal or chili monkfish for mains and poached quince to finish. If the original Bistrotheque is anything to go by, this second venture can't be anything but the height of cool. And even if you haven't been organised enough to book a table it's worth dropping in as the bar counter will always be available for drinks and walk-ins.
Gastropub with a strong English theme, simple British food and a few modern dishes
6 New Quebec Street, Marylebone, London, W1H 7RQ
Tube: Marble Arch Station
This huge gastropub is another ambitious project courtesy of the people behind Cubitt House (Stefan Turnbull and Barry Hirst, the guys behind The Thomas Cubitt, The Orange, and The Pantechnicon) who have been brought in by the Portman Estate who also own the nearby Portman Bistro and the Vinoteca wine bar, to re-hash what used to be the Bricklayers Arms in New Quebec Street. An expensive refurbishment has transformed The Grazing Goat into what appears to be a large country house, set in the Marble Arch end of Marylebone. Inside, you'll find a strong English theme, regarding both the interiors and the menu. Simple British food is the fare of choice here with fish and chips, steaks and Sunday roasts all found alongside more modern dishes, such as the chilli salt squid on the starter menu. And for those that can't bear to tear themselves away after a hefty meal, there are eight boutique hotel rooms upstairs, with six standard rooms and two suites.
HIX at The Tramshed
Another venture from Mark Hix, with a menu consisting mainly of steak and chicken
Mark Hix has finally seen his patience pay off with the opening of HIX at The Tramshed in Shoreditch, east London. In 2011 all seemed lost when his plans to open a restaurant on the Rivington Street site were scuppered due to fears about late night noise. Fast forward to May 2012 and the famous Tramshed building on Garden Walk and Rivington Street, built in 1905 as an electricity generating facility for the Tramway System, has been revived and reinvented as a 150-seat restaurant complete with a Damien Hirst cow-in-formaldehyde-tank artwork. The chef who began with a restaurant in Lyme Regis, Dorset, has already proved his mettle with London restaurants including Hix Oyster and Chophouse in Smithfields, Hix Soho, and his recent venture, Hix Belgravia at Belgraves hotel. For Tramshed he has teamed up with business partner Ratnesh Bagdai to open a restaurant in which steak and chicken features prominently on the menu (as well as the art) with marbled sirloin measured by weight. Architects Waugh Thistleton have employed "great planks of Douglas fir, leather and heavy gauge stainless steel" to compliment the existing Edwardian glazed brick interiors while seats - the same ones used by the USA prison service - are made from recycled coke bottles.
31st July 2014
IN THIS ARTICLE
Duke of Cambridge
The Riding House Cafe
The Hawksmoor Seven Dials
The Harwood Arms
The Modern Pantry
Dean Street Townhouse Dining Room
The Grazing Goat
HIX at The Tramshed
A Traditional London Picnic
Best London Cafés
Restaurants for Kids in London
Celebrity Chefs in London
Best Gastropubs in London
Best Sunday Lunch in London
Top London Restaurants
London's Al Fresco Food Spots
LondonTown's Favourite Restaurants
London's Most Romantic Restaurants
London's Best British Restaurants
- A Traditional London Picnic
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