Currently, London’s restaurant scene is booming and is considered to be one of the fine dining capitals of the world. You can take advantage of a number of different celebrity chefs who have already made their culinary mark on London. This includes the likes of Heinz Beck, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay who was taught under the helm of legendary French chef Albert Roux.
There are several Michelin star venues that are the crown jewels of London’s dining scene. At present you can choose from an impressive 60 venues which benefit from this prestigious honour. Yet, levels of gastronomy have certainly been raised to new heights and is all set to grow in 2014. The competition has become incredibly high not to mention competitive among top name chefs to win your custom.
The British capital plays host to a wealth of stunning restaurants that offer unique chef’s tables and private dining experiences. These one off social gatherings are the ideal way to show off your wealth, whilst gaining an insight into what goes on behind the pass. However, it’s not just food that draws diners in. Thanks to an exclusive selection of wine lists with private bins and aged bottles, professional and amateur oenophiles flock to London’s fine dining eateries.
There is, of course, a price to pay for beautifully executed food and carefully sourced ingredients from across the globe. From the finest scallops caught off the Isle of Skye to Salt Marsh lamb and Cornish turbot find out the hottest restaurants to be seated in while visiting, or living in, London.
10 Sketch - Mayfair, London: $165 per head
Since opening its doors back in 2002, Sketch has fast built a reputation for itself among wealthy diners. Oozing both glitz and luxury, it went on to achieve a second Michelin star in 2012. Its founder Pierre Gagnaire is rated extremely high back in his native home of France and holds more than 10 Michelin stars to his name. Meanwhile Sketch’s collaborator is restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and together they have produced an exquisite French-themed menu. There’s an all-encompassing wine list with taster menus costing around $170 per person. Tasty treats include Roast Saddle of Deer, Roast Hereford Beef and Poached Fillet of Line Caught Seabass.
9 Apsleys - The Lanesborough Hotel, London: $170 per head
Open since 2009, fine dining is taken to the next level at Apsleys inside the grandiose Lanesborough hotel. Apsleys, with its Venetian inspired dining room, is popular with the elite and continues to deliver an incredible luxury experience. Opened by Heinz Beck, it is his first venue outside of Italy. In 2010, it gained its first Michelin star in record speed. Their Italian brigade provides a mouth-watering selection of Mediterranean dishes with the focus very much on seasonality. This features a classic Fagotelli Carbonara and a succulent lamb rump from Yorkshire. A seven course meal comes in at around $170 with champagne topping the $5,000 mark. However, this 93 room hotel will be undergoing a significant refurbishment this year, so you won’t be able to check it out again until autumn of 2014.
8 Le Gavroche - Mayfair, London: $190 per head
Consistently one of the finest venues in the British capital, the brainchild of Le Gavroche is none other than the highly adored Roux family. Le Gavroche had the honour of becoming the first venue across the UK to attain all three Michelin stars. With a history spanning more than four decades, founders Michel and Albert Roux have trained some of the best in the business. Under the leadership of Albert’s son Michel Roux Jr, it offers a variety of delicate French classics brilliantly executed to perfection. It is all in the detail at Le Gavroche with high quality ingredients starring throughout the menu. This includes grilled fillets of Scottish beef, Cumbrian Rose Veal and Roast Suckling Pig. For close to $200 per person their reputation is well earned.
7 The Greenhouse - Mayfair, London: $190 per head
A private hideaway in the centre of London, The Greenhouse is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. Its tree lined entrance will transport you to a world of French cuisine and exquisitely fresh produce. With Arnaud Bignon leading the brigade into action, dishes sing off the plates and are packed full of flavor and depth. It holds two Michelin stars and is unpretentious in its nature. If you are looking to dine a la carte, this could push the price up to more than $120 per person for three courses. Their exquisite tasting menus are around $150 with bottles running into the thousands. Dishes to savour include Venison from the Moreland estate, Yorkshire Galloway Beef and Orkney scallops.
6 Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley - Knightsbridge, London: $190 per head
A restaurant synonymous with elegance and sophistication, Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley is housed inside the stunning Berkeley Hotel. Its location in the shadow of Harrods ensures a captivated dining audience. Opened in 2008, modern European cuisine is very much the order of the day here. Wareing uses nothing but the finest ingredients in order to produce two Michelin star standard food. Light and inventive, you won’t struggle to find something to suit your palate. A la carte favourites offer Dorset snail and lamb plucked from the mountainous peaks of the Lake District. The $190 taster menu is one to watch out for, while the fine wine pairing selection comes in at $320. Please note the restaurant will be undergoing a transformation and opens again at the end of March.
5 Hélène Darroze at the Connaught Hotel - Mayfair, London: $190 per head
Nestled in swanky Mayfair, Hélène Darroze is one of the finest female chefs in France. Hailing from an extensive culinary background, she takes her love of South West France seriously. Taking inspiration from her deep lying roots in the Landes district where she grew up, Darroze dazzles with her attention to create outstanding fine dining. Seasonality is of course important but it is her daily supply of produce which comes directly from her native region in south-west France. This comes in many forms such as the incredible array of fish and game. A 9 course taster menu costs around $200.
4 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon - Covent Garden, UK: $200 per head
One of the legendary kings of French cuisine, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon enjoys an enviable position in London’s Covent Garden district. Internationally acclaimed, Robuchon opened this particular branch in 2006 and attained its first Michelin star after just two short years. The Japanese influenced menu draws on a host of French techniques with chosen ingredients from across the globe. Their Japanese counter is one of the main highlights which make you feel at one with the goings on behind the scene. Oliver Limousin and his team deliver an extensive selection of choice bites and you can sample their taster menus which start from around $150 per person.
3 Restaurant Gordon Ramsay - Chelsea, UK: $205 per head
One of only two venues in the capital to hold three prominent Michelin stars, Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurant has held its status for more than a decade. Under chef patron Clare Smyth MBE, you can experience an impressive roster of classic French cooking from one of the finest chefs of the moment. High quality ingredients dominate the menu from poached Scottish lobster tail to decadent pressed foie gras. The presentation is just as striking as the culinary skill on show, while three courses will set you back in the region of $150 per person.
2 Hibiscus - Mayfair, London: $205 per head
Firmly positioned in the top three is Claude Bosi’s Hibsicus. Since opening in 2000, it has already won a host of awards and currently has two Michelin stars to its name. It is constantly on many a luxury diner’s list and was voted in the Top 10 Best Restaurants according to the UK Good Food Guide. Carefully sourced ingredients and individual suppliers make Hibiscus one of the go to dining destinations in London. Choose from either a three, six or eight course extravaganza with prices starting at around $135 per person. The special eight “Wine Flight” pairing menu comes in at $320 per person.
1 Alain Ducasse - The Dorchester Hotel, Piccadilly, London: $290 per head
For a real slice of French life, Alain Ducasse is one of the only restaurants that goes above and beyond. There is a regularly changing seasonal menu which can be found inside the glorious Dorchester Hotel in London’s Piccadilly. Classic French cuisine is taken to new heights thanks to Executive chef Christophe Moret and his three Michelin star cooking. The private dining is a must but for $300 you can take a seat at Table Lumière which guarantees a central position among more than four thousands glistening fibre optics. If you want to impress friends and colleagues alike then why not hire out their Salon Park Lane. Priced at $1,200, it caters for 30 special guests and provides the perfect backdrop to dining with high ceilings and plenty of natural light.