LUXE City Guides
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Where to Eat in London (Part 1)

Confounded by the vast selection of eateries in London town? We hear you. Cut through the noise with the LUXE London guide’s curated list of what’s hot, and what’s not. 

A contributor to the guide, London-based food and travel TV producer Jayne Hibbitt Smith has filmed in some of the world’s most exciting culinary destinations and worked with the biggest global names in food. She’s travelled across her native UK and around the Med, from Cape Town, Melbourne and Sydney to NYC and Hong Kong to Tokyo all in search of the best foods to eat. Here’s Jane’s list of where to eat in London. 

Part 1: The Smart Set

Yauatcha, Soho

The lowdown: Modern dim sum in nightclub surroundings.

What to order: Venison puff, jasmine smoked ribs and the best sesame prawn toast you will ever wrap your lips around.

This super sleek Soho hangout was the pioneer of day and night dim sum and over a decade later it’s showing no signs of getting old. Feature-fish tank, neon, and spot-lit black tables – the subterranean nightclub-esque space has got it all.  Worth a visit for the sesame prawn toast alone; who knew it could taste so good? The steamed dumplings are bundles of pure joy, ranging from classic shui mai to luxurious lobster, there’s not a dud on offer.

Rules, Covent Garden

The lowdown: The best of British game served in Downtown Abbey splendour.

What to order: Grouse when in season, roast beef and yorkshire pud, steak and kidney pudding.

One of the oldest restaurants in London this Covent Garden stalwart is all plush red velvet and gilt. Rules has been serving perfectly cooked game from it’s own estate and steamed steak and kidney puddings for over 200 years, so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. Over the years it’s tables have been graced with writers, artists and actors – captured in hundreds of drawings displayed around the restaurant. They’ve fed everyone from Charles Dickens to Charlie Chaplin and let’s not forget Downton’s very own Lady Mary. Totally British. Totally fabulous.

The Wolseley, Piccadilly

The lowdown: Glamorous European Grand Cafe, can be tricky to book.

What to order:
 Afternoon tea, wiener schnitzel, grilled halibut with wilted spinach and béarnaise.

With it’s towering black marble pillars, grand staircases and starched white linen you would think this London institution had been serving afternoon tea and wiener schnitzel since the 1920’s, but it’s actually only been around since 2003.  Incredibly in demand, it can be difficult to book but with breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea all catered for there are plenty of options to secure a spot. Luxury is the name of the game here with fruits de mer, caviar-laced omelettes, lobster cocktail and grilled halibut with béarnaise starring on the eclectic all day menu.

Read More: Where to Eat in London (Part 2)

Frenchie, Covent Garden

The lowdown: The most sublime high-end food without the stuffy surroundings.

What to order: Don’t skip dessert – the chocolate mousse Piedmont hazelnut crumble & bacon ice cream is a revelation.

Frenchie is that rare breed of restaurant, which manages to feel both high end and relaxed; it’s smart but totally non-intimidating. They make the most of a long, narrow space with cosy booths and counter seats all bathed in flattering light. But the star attraction here is the food, which is modern and playful but classic and familiar all at the same time. Quite frankly it’s some of the most delicious food London has to offer right now so it’s not surprising that the original Frenchie, in Paris, has a six-month waiting list.

Roka, Fitzrovia

What’s the deal: Sleek Japanese robata grill and Zuma’s glamorous little sister.

What to have:Yellowtail sashimi with yuzu truffle dressing, Korean lamb cutlets, black cod.

The place to go when you’re feeling flush, and in the mood for impeccable modern Japanese food. This dim-lit, glass-fronted restaurant remains effortlessly stylish 15 years after it first opened its doors and it’s still packed out most nights. At the centre of it all is the open robata grill where punters can get a ringside view of the action. Every dish is beautifully presented, the sashimi platters are a work of art and the dessert selections to share are almost too pretty to eat… almost.

Updated April 2022.

Peepers peeled for part deux, Jayne’s reccos on the city’s best casual kitchens. For a smorgasboard of dining experiences in London…

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