When it comes to eating out in London, you’re given a (quite frankly, bewildering) choice of places to give your custom to. Do you stick to the middle of the road, and grab a tepid bowl of noodles from one of the many chains that draw in the tourists around the West End? Do you get a slice of pizza from a late-night newsagent and hope it’s as fresh as it looks? What about a burger? Surely you can’t go wrong with a burger?
The answer is no – no, no, no. Think big. In the UK’s capital, you tend to get what you pay for, and if you have the cash, now’s the time to spend it.
Here are the five most decadent restaurants in the city. You’ll end up with a blistered credit card and you may feel faint when you think back to the drinks prices, but you won’t regret your visit. This is where the wealthy come for some seriously fine dining when Pizza Express just won’t cut it.
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street
Towering over the Square Mile, SushiSamba offers Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian sushi to die for with 38th-floor Heron Tower views. If you’re looking to knock the socks off your date and you’re into spellbinding views while you masticate, this is the place for you. If you’re feeling a bit reckless, there’s caviar on offer, but otherwise, we’d recommend the samba rolls and nigiri & sashimi. The wagyu beef costs an eye-watering £49, but it comes with a hot stone, dipping sauces and pickled plums – and pairs rather nicely with the organic red chocolate chilli peppers, if you can manage dessert. The banana mousse is also ridiculously moreish. Insiders’ tip: The lift is extraordinarily speedy, so brace yourself for a (sort of) wild ride.
Fera at Claridge’s
49 Brook St, London W1K 4HR
Nearest Tube: Bond Street
Inspired by the ‘constant changing of the seasons’, this Michelin-starred restaurant is popular with well-heeled members of the public and celebrities alike (Gizzi Erskine was spotted here with Nigella Lawson last month, so it must be good). The menu changes often, according to what’s freshest, and dishes from their sample menu include smoked Bantam yolk, salt-baked kohlrabi, cavalo nero, Isle of Mull cheese for a starter, and suckling pig, roasted salsify, cauliflower fungus, rosemary and mead for a main course. The restaurant is a homage to Art Deco-themed design; if you’re feeling tired after your suckling pig, you can always just book a room and slope off to Claridge’s afterwards.
Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester
53 Park Lane, London, W1K 1QA
Nearest Tube: Green Park/Hyde Park Corner
Boasting three Michelin stars, this central London restaurant offers French cuisine that you won’t forget in a hurry. The reviews on Google alone are enough to have you racing to make your reservation; previous diners speak of the food’s ‘rich, buttery creaminess’ and how it offers ‘the best French cuisine in London by far’. Alain Ducasse has over 40 years of experience when it comes to food; festive dishes on his Christmas menu include Anjou pigeon à la broche with braised lettuce and salmis sauce and duck foie gras terrine with pickled carrots and a black truffle condiment.
sketch: Lecture Room & Library
9 Conduit St, London, W1S 2XG
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
This unashamedly glamorous 18th-century townhouse tea room morphs into a cocktail lounge every evening, and the devil’s in the details, as it were. The waiting staff are half cast, half personal assistant, and the vibe tends to be playful, theatrical, and fun. After opening in 2002, sketch quickly asserted itself as one of London’s top restaurants, and in 2012 it was awarded its second Michelin star. Main courses include cream of pheasant with Champagne, shellfish and potato cream scented with saffron and sea bream carpaccio.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
68 Royal Hospital Rd, London SW3 4HP
Nearest Tube: Sloane Square
Established in 1998 and holder of three Michelin stars, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is unrivalled when it comes to fine dining in London. Even though he’s better known for his foul mouth, Ramsay’s flagship restaurant is still a contender for the title of ‘best restaurant in the capital’, especially where French cuisine is concerned. Don’t pass up the opportunity to try the poached partridge and foie gras with Jerusalem artichokes, wild leeks and game consommé – it receives rave reviews for good reason. Ramsay’s got a sweet side that belies his businesslike exterior; his carrot cake with mead, bee pollen, sweet cicely and cream cheese ice cream is good enough alone to justify your visit.