DINING | 4 MINUTE READ
THE TOP 5 RESTAURANTS IN LONDON
London is home to some of the finest chefs in the world. With many vying for the notorious Michelin Star ratings, fine dining has become a hearty contest. Sit back and relish these gastronomic greats.
NO.1 THE LEDBURY| W11 2AQ
Opened by Australian-born chef Brett Graham in 2005, the Ledbury is a classy and conservative mix of white tablecloths, wooden floors, draped curtains and chandeliers; no frills and fuss - allowing the food to take centre stage.
Graham has achieved two Michelin stars and has received many accolades in the past ten years, including San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants and the Observer Food Monthly Awards’ Best UK Restaurant. Three menus are available at The Ledbury; an eight-course tasting menu, the à la carte of the four-course set lunch.
The mix of dishes is fantastic; from simple such as flame-grilled mackerel with pickled cucumber, Celtic Mustards and Shiso, and Ruby Red Beef, Short Rib, Wild Garlic, with Turnip and Bone Marrow to the more complex such as the breast and leg of a pigeon with beetroots baked in blackcurrant leaves with chicory and gin. Whichever you choose, all are elegant and extravagant with an astonishing wine list to accompany your meal featuring some rare, enviable labels.
NO.2 LE GAVROCHE| W1K 7QR
Le Gavroche was founded in 1967 by French restaurateurs and brother Michel and Albert Roux. Notable chefs who have also graced the famous kitchens include Marco Pierre White. Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing, all offering classical French cuisine with a modern twist.
Albert’s son Michel Roux Jr. is now the current Chef Patron of the Mayfair restaurant to perpetuate the family tradition. With a new look and fresh burst of creativity, combined with his family’s signature dishes, the result cements the restaurant’s international renown and confirms the restaurants’ standing as the first UK establishment to be awarded three Michelin stars.
With long-serving staff performing dignified service rituals of trolleys being wheeled, wine being decanted and cloches lifted, the experience is as much celebrated as their signature dishes. A meal at Le Gavroche should be part of anyone’s culinary education and will no doubt be a memory that will not just be imprinted but will forever be hard to rival.
NO.3 POLLEN STREET SOCIAL | W1S INQ
Established in 2011, Pollen Street Social was Jason Atherton’s first UK solo restaurant, gained a Michelin star within one year of its opening and was named Best New UK Restaurant by the Good Food Guide.
A softly lit, woody and welcome space, PSS is divided into a smaller room with a bar and table for snaking guests, with the main restaurant hosting a dessert bar lining the back wall and a glass-fronted kitchen, enabling a definite social feel - a buzz of activity with the gift of fine dining.
Small tapas-style dishes are both English and French traditional, with a hint of exotic texture and taste, no doubt gathered from Atherton’s (great) travels to far-flung destinations. Plates with flare are the smoked foie gras on a plate micro-dotted with little black and gold spots of sesame and smoked golden raisin and a shallow dish of cauliflower and squid on clear roasted squid juice.
This former Mayfair pub promises ‘fine dining with a twist’. With two private dining rooms, a large bar with the tapas-style menu, a gin trolley and a dessert bar, the promise is definitely
the truth - and more.
NO.4 MARCUS: THE BREWERY | SW1X 7RL
Since its million-pound makeover in 2014, introducing a ‘dinner party atmosphere’, the Knightsbridge restaurant no longer welcomes hushed formal dining, but a more casual and contemporary setting.
Now stylish and elegant, Head Chef Mark Froydenlund, with Marcus at the helm delivers modern European menus with British influence using the highest quality products, with creativity and finishing touches that leave its diners speechless. Choose from clever creations such as turbot in a warm mess of snails and gnocchi, galloway beef on potato and cabbage with pommes puree with Lincolnshire Poacher sauce or the Anjou pigeon with kromeski and potato. Seasonal choices are hand-picked by the Chef that morning and if you want to really indulge, try the 8-course Taster Menu or even the Chef’s Table, where you meet Marcus, Head Chef Mark and the team who talk you through the exquisite menu.
NO.5 UMU | W1J 6LX
Established in 2004 and tucked away behind a sliding door in a quiet mews in London’s elegant Mayfair, Japanese restaurant Umu was the first Kyoto kaiek establishment in Britain and is part of the MARC group, that also owns The Greenhouse in Mayfair, Cassis bistro in Knightsbridge and Morton’s Club in Mayfair.
Within a year, Umu was awarded a Michelin star that it has retained to this day. Head Chef Yohinori goes to great lengths to source ingredients rather than importing them, including training some Cornish fishermen in the ‘Ikejime’ technique of killing a fish instantly, which is less stressful for the fish and is apparently better for its flavour.
A high-tech ‘touch to enter’ pad by the front door allows entry to polished wood panels and mellow lighting where you can expect delicious traditional Japanese cuisine served on delicately glazed tableware. Whether sampling a simple lunchtime bento box or the full kaiseki tasting menu, the beautifully presented food is bursting with flavour. Try something distinctly different such as the ginger sorbet atop a slick of sesame paste or Wagyu beef grilled at the table; just make sure you accompany these Japanese delicacies with one of Umu’s premium sakes.