Where to eat in London
For an epic view: Galvin at Windows
Sure, you'd typically head to the London Eye or the Sky Garden for a bird's eye view of the capital, but why waste an entrance fee on an enclosed space when you can dine on some Michelin-starred fare while you're at it? Perched on the 28th floor of London Hilton on Park Lane, the restaurant serves up modern French fare apart from a paranomic view over Hyde Park. Make sure you book ahead for the best seats in the house at the furthermost end of the restaurant. You can even butter up the maître d' to let you walk through their kitchen to the back, where you'll be rewarded with a view over Mayfair. We love how they leave postcards on the tables for you to send to whomever you choose. The restaurant will post it out for you on a complimentary basis.
What to order: Apple tarte tatin, which is where all apples pray they'll spend their numbered days. A thick, buttery puff pastry forms a base for the apples, which have been caramelised to sweet, smoky perfection and made even better with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
22 Park Lane, London W1K 1BE
For a business lunch: Scotts
Founded in 1851, this seafood institution showcases the borough it resides in at its best. Mayfair's rich in history and so is Scott's. Rumoured to be the place where Ian Fleming discovered the dry martini 'shaken not stirred', it's an ideal place to talk business in the day, and pleasure in the evening. Contemporary artworks flank the walls while heels and Oxfords strut across scalloped floors while executives and high-net-worths huddle close in dark leather sofas. At the bar, younger men get messy in opulence — slurping down freshly-shucked Fine de Claire and Gillardeau oysters.
What to order: Smoked eel salad, featuring generous pieces of delectably plump, tender eel flesh over a bed of potatoes amped up with horseradish punch.
20 Mount Street, London W1K 2HE
For tea with girlfriends: sketch
It's the bathroom everyone flocks to for a winning Instagram picture, and we don't blame them. Walk up the stark white walls and enter the cubicles of the future, with each individual booth shaped as a dinosaur's egg. In each pod, an intergalactic forest soundtrack plays while you, well, give a crap. People walk through the restaurant just to check out the bathrooms as well as the artwork throughout the galleries. At the moment, 239 new works by master doodler David Shrigley dress the walls. You'll find his tongue-in-cheek creations on the tableware as well. With a kitchen backed by three Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire, the sandwiches put traditional British tea fare to shame, with Shrigley's quirky plating delighting the social media generation. It's definitely not a place to bring your grandparents.
What to order: Sketch afternoon tea, with caviar and quail egg-topped sandwiches and pastries such as malabar marshmallows, and peach and lemon verbena cheesecake served with Jing tea.
9 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XG
For large get-togethers: Coya
Bang on the South American dining trend, Coya's an unlikely urban haven hidden in the basement of a heritage building. Inside the 100-seater restaurant, Latin American music thump loudly from the speakers, so book the private room for a slightly quieter affair. You can also have a first-hand view into the open kitchen, headed by Sanjay Dwivdei. Fun fact: He was once the private chef of The Rolling Stones in the '90s. It's definitely a place backed by accolades: Its owner is entrepreneur Arjun Waney, the man behind Zuma and the Arts Club, a prestigious members-only restaurant and bar in London.
What to order: Ceviches, a selection of which you can sample from their tasting menu. We detect some Japanese influences as well, evident in the ceviche de Atun Chifa, a Peruvian favourite made with prime yellowfin tuna dressed in soy, sesame seeds and served with a shrimp cracker. If you prefer sea bass, the ceviche de Lubina Clasico — dressed in lime and red onions — is a classic which can't go wrong.
118 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7NW
For a stylish night out: Chotto Matte
A trendy establishment in the heart of Soho, this Peruvian-Nikkei restaurant's a favourite among British celebrities. The fusion isn't entirely trendy — its marriage was born from the Japanese diaspora living in Peru, and now ex-Nobu chef Jordan Sclare has taken it to London's discerning foodies. The three-storey restaurant houses a cocktail lounge, sushi bar, robata grill bar and a dining room, with neon lights and graffiti scaling its walls — evoking a night out in Tokyo, perhaps. They've recently introduced bento boxes, although the sharing plates menu is still the restaurant's tour de force.
What to order: The Nikkei sharing menu features a good selection of their well-loved dishes and includes tangy paper-thin vegetables with slices of daikon, and beetroot with quinoa and physalis. Call for the tentaculos de pulpo, which is easily the best octopus dish this writer has ever had: Beautifully charred and marinated in the Peruvian peppers of aji panca and aji Amarillo, it's served with blobs of moreish yuzu purple potato mash.
11 - 13 Frith Street, London W1D 4RB
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