“With 61 Michelin-starred restaurants plus fabulous eateries opening every day, London isn’t short of fine dining. But if you’re looking for something extra – perhaps an exclusive venue, or a one-off experience – then read on…”
A feature on London’s most incredible high-end dining experiences for In London Magazine, Brazilian version. The English translation is below.
The Wow Factor
With 61 Michelin-starred restaurants plus fabulous eateries opening every day, London isn’t short of fine dining. But if you’re looking for something extra – perhaps an exclusive venue, or a one-off experience – then read on…
The heart of the action
One way of getting to the heart of an eatery is by booking a chef’s table. At Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley you can experience the frenetic kitchen pace of a top restaurant, while seated in a luxuriously appointed alcove opposite the chefs. The Berkeley Hotel, Wilton Place, SW1X 7RL. 020 7235 1200.
The idiosyncratic Bubbledogs – who do hotdogs and champagne – also have a 19-seater table surrounding ex-Noma chef Jamie Knappett and his team as they prepare your food. Conversation between the chefs and guests is actively encouraged. 70 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QG . 020 7637 7770.
If that isn’t close enough for you, then two top locations offer even more. There can’t be many three Michelin-starred places offering masterclasses, but Restaurant Gordon Ramsay does. Pupils join chef Clare Smyth and her team, and afterwards get to enjoy the fruits of their labour. 68 Royal Hospital Road,
SW3 4HP. 020 7352 4441.
Meanwhile Hibiscus – boasting two Michelin stars – invites foodies into its development kitchen. Claude Bosi himself gives a two-hour masterclass before serving up his much-lauded cooking in a four-course lunch. 29 Maddox Street. W1S 2PA. 020 7629 2999.
Often, surprising or unexpected ingredients are the way forward. Archipelago, featuring eclectic décor and great cooking, stands out due to its exotic flavours: think zebra, crocodile and kangaroo, or the famous lovebug salad – pan-fried locusts on herb leaves. 110 Whitfield Street, W1T 5ED. 020 7383 3346.
L’art du Fromage’s uniqueness comes from an emphasis on only one foodstuff. This rustic yet stylish spot in Chelsea offers cheese in every dish – including blue cheese ice cream. 1a Langton Street, SW10 0JL. 020 7352 2759
Britain is a wild food paradise, with fruit, mushrooms and vegetables available to those in the know. Those interested in eating ‘from the land’ should check out The Foragers at The Dead Dolls Club. This elegant, quirky cocktail lounge, which changes its décor every couple of months, serves highly seasonal dishes. 428 Kingsland Rd, E8 4AA. www.thedeaddollsclub.com
The Michelin-starred Harwood Arms also offers hand-picked food, using rare items like sea purslane and douglas fir. For those wanting their meat to be as seasonal as possible, this is the best spot in London – co-owner Mike Robinson is famous for his knowledge of wild food, and shoots his own game. Walham Grove, SW6 1QP. 020 7386 1847.
Sometimes design can seduce the most jaded diner. Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester has three Michelin stars, and unusually its private dining, Table Lumiere, is in the middle of the restaurant. However, it’s surrounded by a fibre optic curtain, enabling intimacy while enjoying the ambience. You can even tailor the evening to your taste by choosing the silverware, china and table ornaments. 53 Park Lane, W1K 1QA. 020 7629 8866.
For the ultimate in select venues, check out Bubble Food, who specialise in ‘molecular gastronomy’. They offer extraordinary fare – think margaritas made of foam, or mousse poached with liquid nitrogen – in some very unique locations. What about on the platform of closed Aldwych tube station? Or under priceless art at Sir John Soane’s Museum and The V&A ? www.bubblefood.com.
This summer, one locale is going to be on everyone’s lips: The Shard. Four high-end restaurants will open here in 2013, and aqua shard [KH note lack of caps], offering all-day dining and cocktails, will open in July. David Yeo is going all-out British for his latest eaterie – the sleek space on the 31st floor is themed around the classic drinks gin and tea, offering spectacular 270 degree views and feature walls made of bottles and tea tins. Joiner Street, SE1 9SP. www.aqua.com.hk
The greatest impact can come from a one-off scenario. Dans le Noir is a restaurant where – true to its name – you dine in total darkness; it’s a true blind tasting. The strangeness of eating without visual stimulation heightens the sense of taste, and also the fun – it’s a bonding experience. 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0DU. 020 7253 1100.
For a truly exceptional event, look out for ‘pop-up’ supper clubs – privately run dining events. Literary Dinners offers an intimate meal with a newly published author, always in a special location. www.literarydinners.com. Tastour’s weekly food and wine tastings are justifiably popular. www.tastour.com. Mile High is themed around flying in the glamorous 1950s. Diners are ‘taken’ to a different country – in June it’s Sicily and in September Mozambique. Fabulous food, waitress-stewardesses and a secret location complete the picture. www.dinemilehigh.com
And for everything under one roof, Kitchen Party features some of London’s hottest culinary clubs and drinking dens. Look out for wandering cocktail bars, cutting-edge tasting menus, experimental cooking and performance art. 42 Northampton Road, EC1R 0HU. 020 3174 1156.
And – like all of London’s unique dining experiences – it’s guaranteed to be both delicious and eye-opening.