Going around a Monopoly board teaches you about areas in London.
Hop over ‘Chance’ to Park Lane, and once you pass ‘Super Tax’ you find Mayfair. It’s the last point before you pass go and the most high-end of them all. This is no exception when it comes to the restaurant scene. There’s enough fine dining options in Mayfair to suit any taste, too much even, that it can get a little confusing. But it’s where you’ll find the celeb hangouts as well as the more casual options as it embraces a more dynamic dining scene. Here are some of our favourites, and although not an exhaustive list, make sure to try these first while we tailor a list of another 100 favourites.
High end Indian dining is a trend and we are surrounded by options. Mayfair has a very stylish newcomer. Indian Accent is the third branch of the eponymous restaurant from critically acclaimed chef and TV personality Manish Mehrotra, from its sister restaurants in New Delhi and New York. The New Delhi branch has been on the World’s 50 Best list and still remains in the top 100 – the only restaurant from India on the list. Walk into minimal luxe interiors with green velvet banquettes, brass, marble and a spiral staircase.
He adds his own Indian accent to global influences, so you’ll find pulled pork phulka tacos, kulcha flatbreads stuffed with camembert and potato bhuna, and duck khurchan, which arrives in a wafer cone alongside herb yoghurt and chilli chutney.
This is a great example of a restaurant that outlives many others, always remaining relevant and fashionable. The outdoor seating at this seafood institution as a dream for the paparrazi. And whether you take a table inside, or perch at the bar, you are in for a treat as it is paradise for seafood lovers and a people-watching pleaser. A huge selection of market-fresh fish, seafood and caviar plus an elegant oyster and champagne bar are presented. The dover sole and lobster thermidore are some of the best items of the menu, with the Bakewell tart to complete the meal.
Rochelle Canteen at The ICA
Also listed as one of our favourite museum restaurants, this was one of last year’s hottest openings with its menu of seasonal European dishes. This site from Margot Henderson and Melanie Arnold is a follow up to their secluded Shoreditch gem, now in Institute of Contemporary Arts, in a lofty, skylit space with an indoor garden, overlooking St. James.
The menu reflects their honest, classic cooking style, which perfectly suits the pared back interiors of the ICA. Melanie’s son Fin Spiteri, formerly of Quo Vadis, Trullo and Flat Iron, has produced a cocktail list with a focus on classic drinks. Beers are from The House of Peroni and coffee is from Caravan. A great place to meet for dinner, share a drink and stay into the evening once the exhibitions close and the cinemas dim.
Jamavar & Bombay Bustle
Jamavar is the first London restaurant from Indian hotel group, The Leela. With an edge of incredibly smart, colonial style gentleman’s clubs, the walls are beautiful, dark-pannelled wood, with reference to the Viceroy’s house of New Delhi with delicate colonial flourishes combined with the intricate patterns and vibrant colours from the Jamavar shawls of India. And the food tastes even better than the place looks. It quickly gained a Michelin star, with Rohit Ghai behind the scenes, who won the same accolade while at Trishna and Gymkhana. From traditional aloo tiki, to lobster Idli Sambhar to venison samosas. Don’t skip dessert! Go for the Falooda or Mango rasmalai, and you will leave very satisfied.
This team, Rohit Ghai and Samyukta Nair (granddaughter of Leela Hotels) have now started sister site Bombay Bustle, inspired by Dabbawalas – the institution of men who use Mumbai’s railways and scooters to zip across town to deliver home cooked lunch parcels. Traditional towered boxes brimming with food will be presented, each box unpacked to reveal curries, breads and rice ideal for quick a yet wholesome meal.
Like many sushi joints, Cube is small but beautiful, with room for 18 diners at tables, 6 at the omakase counter and 12 in the bar. The restaurant is run by manager, Mayumi Nunn who previously worked at Kanada-Ya and Eat Tokyo; bar manager is Reo Nomura, previously of Kouzu and Tokimeite and the head chef is Osamu Mizuno who previously cooked at Nobu and Sake no Hana.Like the best ones, your preferred seat is at the bar as you watch the skill of the Chefs filling your appetite as much as the food itself. Its best to go for the omakase, serving up whatever tuna, octopus, sea bass, eel, or whatever is particularly good that day. Downstairs there’s a Kakurega bar (meaning hideaway) bar with a short cocktail list of seven cocktails – including an Okinawa Old Fashioned and Smoky Negroni, as well as rare examples of Sake, Japanese whisky and fine wines.
This is duck deluxe, in 1930s Shanghai. Founded by renowned restauranteur Alan Yau, sit in deluxe red velvet split-level seating all facing the central podium, and enjoy live jazz music. Or head downstairs for thosere willing to indulge in hedonistic and daring immersive theatre experiences, a younger Ibiza-style vibe.
You’ll find Jamon Pata Negra alongside caviar and char siu bao, classic dishes, and the must-order duck de chine. There is the basic version or add caviar (although this seems like more of a PR stunt to me). This personifies the Mayfair dining scene. On a date, sit upstairs, with a group of friends, sit downstairs. Wherever you sit, make sure you go!
In a tiny corner of the quaint Shepherd’s Market, this has been a celebrity and social magnet since opening in 2014. An atmospheric little bar and restaurant resembling the early 19th Century, this restaurant has been wowing the capital’s most discerning palates. The kitchen is presided over by award winning chef, Tomas Parry. Food is British with a Spanish twist. The menu features fire as a main component, principally carried out over a charcoal grill and includes meaty treats as Sirloin of Cornish Beef, Ox Cheek and Salt Cod Croquettes. Make sure you order the sourdough with whipped butter and burnt onion ash, and the lamb chops with anchovy, mint and parsley. If you can get a table, grab it. Or walk in and sit at the bar, ‘a favourite spot’ according to the guy on the phone! Good news is that they are opening a second spot in Covent Garden called Cora Pearl.
Founded by Juan Santa Cruz, sister restaurant to West London hotspot Casa Cruz, is where you’ll be celeb spotting. Although the staff as soon as you enter aren’t the most friendly, once you are shown into your table, the room is a great layout adorned with an amber light, glossy monochrome tables and a ceiling studded with shiny brass discs.
It’s a low carb, high protein friendly place with a mix of Mediterranean-style sharing plates. This is a spot where sitting at the central square bar is preferable, where you can get the bartenders to whip up some excellent cocktails. Continue the evening in the downstairs bar with live DJ, which is decked out in silk-brocade walls with emerald green with blue dragons. This one is for a meal and a night out.
It is owned by the Frescobaldi family, a Florentine wine dynasty who have been making Tuscan wines since 1308. Marchesi de’Frescobaldi used to trade wine for works of art and has been one of Italy’s most celebrated wine dynasties for the past 700 years. They now produce 7 million bottles a year from 1,100 hectares of vineyards. The restaurant’s terrace, complete with heaters, sprawls out onto New Burlington Place resembling an authentic Tuscan summer. An inside, there are clear references to the heritage with hand-painted drawings and framed pictures against ceramic tiles. The menu focuses on mainly Tuscan influences, and the pasta dishes are exceptional. And they do a tiramisu damn well. Stick around this to get the old-school sweetie jars to your table.
Casa di Stefano
Right opposite Victoria Beckham’s boutique, you’ll find some of the best Italian joints in town, the kind of place you hope to stumble across whilst in Lake Como. Whitewashed walls, chairs decked out in sky-blue checks and big jars stuffed with citrus fruits send you back to the Med, whilst on the buzzing Dover Street. Every dish is worthy of a shout out, so its difficult to pick. From the creamy burrata to the black truffle risotto to the seabass carpaccio and fried calamari as fresh as if you were by the sea. And wine is high on their list. They have a private dining room in the basement encased by walls of temperature-controlled bottles of fine wine. For one dinner, you might almost feel like you’re on holiday.