Navigating the world of restaurants is, usually, our absolute favourite thing to do. But it can be a real stress sometimes. That's why so many of us rarely branch out of the comfort zone of our favourite orders at our favourite neighbourhood joints. While that might be the safest approach to avoid disappointment, ordering the same thing over and over and over again isn't what going out to eat is really about, is it?
Trying new cuisines and exciting dishes is one of the most effective ways of connecting yourself, all Matrix-like, with a specific time and place. It's a way of understanding cultures and cuisines and techniques you may otherwise know little about, and a way of feeling feelings you may otherwise have never felt before. One of the best methods to expand your palate and pelt yourself with a range of those sensations is through a tasting menu – which, hyperbole aside, can be a life-changing experience in the food department.
As anyone who's ever put their trust (and stomach) in the hands of a chef will be able to tell you, tasting menus can be heavy, refreshing, decadent, loveable, challenging, surprising and downright fascinating all at once. They can be an assault on your head and your palate, meticulously crafted to ascertain a certain response. Or they can just be really ridiculously tasty.
Simply put, going out to eat a tasting menu can provide a gustatory experience like no other, and while the rise of sharing plates – and Franco-British cuisine no longer being at the centre of the restaurant world – has issued a firm challenge, it’s a format that’s endured. The majority of London’s Michelin-starred restaurants still do them, while there are still a fair few venues around the capital, old and new, that don’t offer à la carte at all. For those of us that love nothing more than three hours or more in a chair making our way through a parade of exquisite courses, we’re in luck: they’re here to stay.
So with that said, are you ready to take the plunge? Because this is your last chance. After this, there's no turning back. You choose à la carte – the story ends, you wake up in your bed full of tagliatelle and believe whatever you want to believe. Or, you choose the tasting menu – you stay in Wonderland and we show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
Some technical points before you dive in: prices in restaurants are subject to change, so we've given you the last available price at the time of writing for each restaurant's menu (and specified when it's not available). Either way, check with the restaurant if you want a rock-solid price before you go. Lastly, if you're veggie or vegan, you can be assured that pretty much all restaurants in the fine-dining space will cater for you (and they'll say if they definitely can't), but we've highlighted some in our list that are particularly good when it comes to plant-based tasting menus.
Now that's out the way, here's our pick of London's best tasting menus, from the affordable to the eye-watering, and guaranteed to suit every taste. Oh, and do the wine pairing. Obviously.
London's best tasting menus
56 Dalston Lane, E8 3AH
Dalston newcomer Angelina combines elements of Italian and Japanese cuisine for an affordable five-course tasting menu that won't leave you feeling uncomfortably full. Dishes like unagi risotto, burnt soy butter and dashi are bursting with umami flavour. Think of this like baby's first tasting menu – a delicious and unpretentious gateway into the world of fine dining, with some surprises along the way.
£38 per person, additional £35 for wine pairing; angelina.london
383 King's Road, SW10 0L
Getting value for money in Chelsea isn't always easy. Thankfully, Chicama is a restaurant that offers a relatively thrifty menu inspired by the coastal food of Peru and the bold flavours of the region. Traditional Peruvian cuisine is available in the form of sea bass ceviche in soy tiger's milk alongside slightly more exuberant offerings like tapioca marshmallow with ocopa sauce, positioning it undoubtedly as one of London's best tasting menus. Bow Chicama-wow-wow.
£45 per person; chicamalondon.com
30 St Cross Street, EC1N 8UH
Located just off Cross Street in Farringdon, Anglo is a restaurant where you can more than get your fill of quality modern British cooking. The team’s menu provides a pleasant country ramble through excellent local produce: Jersey Royals with smoked salmon and lemon; Tamworth pork with sage and onion, stone bass with cauliflower and leek. Anglo is sleek and simple, described by Grace Dent as "Noma, if it was born and raised in Norwich".
£65 per person, additional £50 for wine pairing; anglorestaurant.com
1-3 Green Lanes, N16 9BS
Anywhere with a dinner menu that changes with the seasons is obviously doing something right by us, and likely a strong contender as one of London's best tasting menus. By placing such a refined focus on seasonal (and quality) produce, Perilla ensures that every instance dining there is turned into a memorable experience. Modern European is the predominant vibe though the food is far from fusty. Ingredients sing to their heart's content on every inventive plate. Gurnard fried in beef fat and served with chip shop curry sauce being but one example of that inventiveness in full-force. Hell, even if the menu consisted of nothing but five rounds of Perilla's homemade seaweed sourdough, we'd leave pretty happy customers. For under £50 a head it's also an absolute bargain.
£44 per person, additional £36 for wine pairing; perilladining.co.uk
The Laughing Heart
277 Hackney Road, E2 8NA
Despite the name, eating at The Laughing Heart is no laughing matter. With head chef Adam Boon in the kitchen, you can expect nothing less than serious food cooked seriously well at this Hackney haunt, which is also a paeon to natural wines, with a bottle shop on-site. The 'carte blanche' dining option will give you an arsenal of ten or so sharing dishes that change on the daily. Letting Boon choose from a selection of bar-setters such as Orkney scallops and contemporary fusion creations like Sichuan crème brûlée is like letting a handsome lion loose at the zoo: gorgeous chaos.
£39 per person; thelaughingheartlondon.com
31 King Street, WC2E 8JD
The tasting menu at The Petersham is a real homely affair. We don't mean that it's the sort of food that your mum and dad could easily whip for a weekday dinner – far from it, in fact: it's more so that all the dishes at The Petersham contain a shared sense of care and make you feel loved. Family-owned Haye Farm supplies poultry, eggs and organic fruit and vegetables to all Petersham Nurseries restaurants (the Petersham included). The seasonal menu here is a great way to see what simple ingredients can do when given room to shine.
£90 per person, additional £50 for wine pairing; petershamnurseries.com
177-179 Morning Lane, E9 6LH
Set up by three close friends with a shared passion for food, Nest offers an excellent and affordable tasting menu that is – on its day – capable of giving any stuffier, higher-end restaurant a run for its money. Expect seasonal vegetables from Calixta at Flourish Produce in Cambridgeshire, fresh fish from Flying Fish in Cornwall, shellfish from Keltic Seafare, and some rare breeds of meat from all across the country. One of the many wonderful things that makes Nest unique is how the restaurant only uses one meat in the kitchen at a time, allowing them to manage meat consumption in a more sustainable way and ensure no part of the animal goes to waste. From 60-day aged grass-fed Yorkshire beef to kid goat, rose veal and Goosnargh duck – you’ll always find top notch produce on the menu here turned into creative plates of food. The wine pairing, with its focus on producers that use organic and low intervention production methods, is also worth your attention.
£48 per person, additional £44 for wine pairing; nestfood.co.uk
56 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ
We don't know what's currently on the menu at Lyle's, but we do know that it’s going to be fairly fabulous. The £59 tasting menu that runs for dinner service at this Hackney essential is a proper gateway into the world of restaurants. It’s hard not to become besotted with Lyle's as soon as you enter the site and that adoration only gets more passionate as you start to eat. At the time of writing James Lowe has got a range of dishes with names like 'Pheasant Broth, Jerusalem Artichoke & Preserved Lemon' and 'Mutton, Puntarelle & Anchovy' that have got us salivating over our keyboards.
£59 per person; lyleslondon.com
52 Wilton Way, E8 1BG
The tasting menu at Pidgin revolves around the gimmick that the restaurant has never repeated a dish from its weekly changing menu. The no-choice four course tasting menu means that once you've had a meal there, it's pretty much nailed on that you’ll never get to have that same meal again. That transience is part of Pidgin's overwhelming appeal; providing an ephemeral dining experience that’s beauty lies in its soigné singularity. As for the dishes themselves? Well, they're just delicious. We guess you could call what comes out of Pidgin's kitchen true "modern British cooking". With modern British in Pidgin's case meaning that you might find bone marrow given the company of egg yolk, caviar, and umeboshi or a braised pork cheek jazzed up with a maple karashi glaze. There's no real rules here, and that’s part of what we love about Pidgin – it's one of London's best tasting menus, and it'll leave you cooing at a price that won't have you booing. (God, we're sorry about that.)
£49 per person, additional £40 for drinks pairing; pidginlondon.com
158 Sandringham Road, E8 2HS
Casa Fofò is a bijou neighbourhood eatery in the heart of Hackney where you can get your laughing gear around a set menu from ex-Pidgin head chef Adolfo de Cecco for a bafflingly affordable £39. All of the adroit dishes are comprised of seasonal ingredients sourced by local producers and suppliers and the constantly changing menu means that no two meals at the spot will ever be the same. Whether you’re enjoying a complex plate of black garlic, kimchi and cime di rapa or a simple pile of house charcuterie, part of the joy of eating at Casa Fofò comes from the surprise at what you’ll find coming out the pass. The only thing you won’t be surprised about is how good everything tastes.
£39 per person; casafofolondon.co.uk
107 Upper Street, N1 1QN
James Cochran’s 12:51 might just lay claim to having the best tasting menu in North London. The five-course menu changes seasonally but here’s just a few of the dishes to give you a taste of what Cochran’s food is about: picked Devon white crab, Indian spices, peanut and carrot; line-caught cured and torched Cornish gurnard, ‘nduja, cucumber, pork scratchings, and yoghurt; and buttermilk jerk chicken, scotch bonnet jam, corn nuts, and coriander. If that hasn’t got you excited, then you’re on the wrong website. On Tuesday evenings the restaurant hosts a BYO alcohol night where you can bring your own drink with no corkage fee to enjoy a five course tasting menu for £35. Which is ridiculous, really, and it's certainly one of the best BYO restaurants in London.
£35 per person; 1251.co.uk
18 Market Row, SW9 8LD
If you’re after a veggie-forward tasting menu where UK produce and local London suppliers are given the run of the show, you should absolutely make some tracks to Brixton’s Salon. The ever-evolving set menu here, which consists of either four or seven courses, delivers all the diversity and creativity of a tasting menu without any unnecessary pomp and circumstance. While fresh vegetables tend to be the star of the show, expert cuts of fish and meat do get their own time in the spotlight. The food at Salon is beyond delicious and it remains one of our favourite of London's best tasting menus for the price.
£39 per person, additional £29 for accompanying drinks; salonbrixton.co.uk
21 Berners Street, W1T 3LP
Food Stories Media Ltd
Food Stories Media Ltd
Alongside Ikoyi, Aji Akokomi’s restaurant Akoko is doing its bit to fly the flag for the sumptuous textures and flavours of Nigeria and West Africa, refined in beautiful fine-dining dishes in a classy, sleek dining room in Fitzrovia. And while Akokomi is primarily a restaurateur, the addition of top chef Theo Clench – formerly of Portland, among others – in the open kitchen has been a masterstroke, with the restaurant serving beautifully curated and paced tasting menus that take you on a journey through the vibrant cuisine of the region. The restaurant’s take on jollof rice alongside a carrot terrine, and a course of simply presented barbecued lamb skewer with a mound of West African spices, sum up a perfect blend of playfulness and refinement.
Short tasting menu £75, drinks pairing £55; akoko.co.uk
The Blue Posts, 28 Rupert Street, W1D 6DJ
Evelyn’s Table may be small in stature at just 10 seats, but its ambition is huge, and while the chef’s-table-only restaurant below Soho pub The Blue Posts was doing fine before the arrival of chefs Luke, Nat and Theo Selby, it’s all the better for it. The brothers’ influences are eclectic, from their Filipino and British heritage to time spent with Ollie Dabbous at Hide and on stages in Japan, and the result is one of London's best tasting menus, all prepared right in front of you, and which builds beautifully over the course of its six courses (plus a couple of extras). The eclectic wine pairing and hip-hop-dominated soundtrack keeps things playful, too.
Menu priced at £75, drinks pairing also at £75; theblueposts.co.uk/evelyns-table
74 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QH
The six-course tasting menu at Mere is a great introduction to chef-patron Monica Galetti's cooking, which serves up the standard bearers of French fine-dining with an additional twang of South Pacific flavours. Expect elegant plates and equally elegant food balanced on top of those plates. Everything here might be pretty as a peach but don't get ahead of yourself and start eating the crockery. Speaking from personal experience, the food is much, much tastier.
Around £100; mere-restaurant.com
Turnips with Tomas Lidakevicius
43 Borough Market, SE1 9AH
Walk into the iconic, historic Borough Market of an evening and it's fair to say you might not expect to see a fully fledged restaurant operating out of a greengrocers in the thick of the action. But in the past couple of years, that's exactly what's bloomed from Turnips – first as a pop-up, and now a permanent fixture. Chef Tomas Lidakevicius, who cut his teeth with Jason Atherton at City Social, among others, has brought one of Central London's most innovative concepts to the space. As you'd expect, the setting makes use of its unique backdrop, with a vibey atmosphere and a great playlist, while the eight-course menu takes full advantage of its supply chain, with vegetable-centric, modern British food that shows more than a few with cutting-edge international influences.
Around £80; turnipsboroughmarket.com
3 South Place, EC2M 2AF
Who'd have thought you'd be able to find great seafood swimming on the top floor South Place Hotel in Moorgate? Anyone who's ever been to Angler, that's who. With a range of seafood caught fresh from British waters, Angler specialises in grilling, roasting and sautéing just about anything with gills. The tasting menu (available Monday through Saturday) is Michelin-starred for good reason and a pleasant reminder that tinned crab really is the runt of the litter when it comes to crustacean consumption. Get it fresh. Make it Angler. Thank us later.
£120 per person; anglerrestaurant.com
1 St. James's Market, SW1Y 4AH
Maureen M Evans
Maureen M Evans
There is no à la carte menu at Ikoyi. There does not need to be an à la carte menu at Ikoyi. If you've ever had the tasting menu at Ikoyi, you will quickly understand why. Smoked jollof rice, overripe plantain and rhubarb, aged beef and carrot maafe: a West African influence (and generous smack of scotch bonnets) can be found scattered throughout all of the dishes on offer. The end result for guests is that eating at Ikoyi is easily one of the most exciting dining experiences in the city. Get yourself to St James for one of London's best tasting menus and certainly a meal you won't forget anytime soon.
£170 per person, additional £55 for wine pairing; ikoyilondon.com
Galvin La Chapelle
35 Spital Square, E1 6DY
La Chapelle is the third restaurant from brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin. Having already achieved notable success with Galvin at Windows and Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, the two really proved that third time was also the charm when La Chapelle opened its swish doors back in 2009. The swanky restaurant serves French food as it was intended; decorated with heaps of care, panache and just the right amount of arrogance. The seven-course 'Gourmand' menu is our favoured way to induce a luxury food coma. The menu obviously varies on the availability of seasonal produce (because, again, they're doing it right here), so forgive us for teasing you just a smidge here by uttering perhaps the four sexiest words in the English language: Lasagne of Dorset crab. Offt.
£110 per person; wine pairing £75; galvinrestaurants.com
Above at Hide
85 Piccadilly, W1J 7NB
Hide is a restaurant and bar collaboration between Hedonism Wines and Ollie Dabbous. Dabbous closed his eponymous restaurant Dabbous to open the multi-storey Hide back in 2017. Which is, y'know, a pretty ballsy move. But it doesn't look like it's a decision that Dabbous regrets one iota. From six to nine courses with a choice between different dishes within, the tasting at Hide's first-floor dining room (the ground floor is more casual and serves sharing plates) is the ultimate excuse for indulgence. Glazed veal sweetbread and gently cooked foie gras bring home that hedonistic atmosphere in the tastiest way possible, while there are characteristic flashes of Dabbous's Japanese influences, too.
Tasting menu £140; Classic wine pairing £105; hide.co.uk.
1A Launceston Place, W8 5RL
It doesn't get much more Kensington than an elegant, white-tableclothed restaurant nestled inside an old-school townhouse. But for all the traditional trappings of fine dining, the food at Launceston Place is anything but, with chef Ben Murphy putting his own playful spin on things. It's a pleasingly refreshing switch up for a long-standing, old-school establishment that has fed the likes of Princess Diana. Launched late last year is the Phyllis menu, inspired by his grandmother, with a physical menu running up to nine courses and designed around a draughts set. The food is both delicate and deeply satisfying, with enough refinement to please those looking for a formal experience, but with a creative, fun edge to soften its conceptual nature. Along with Murphy's flagship take on eggs and soldiers, a meal here might include the likes of pigeon breast served with seared leg, a sliver of tenderloin and a triangle foie gras topped with crunchy puffed rice; and a brique pastry cigar filled with prawn and lardo, which comes with a muffin for soaking up the prawn bisque; and a pistachio soufflé inspired by Murphy's time working with the iconic Pierre Koffman. This is the kind of fine dining that'll convert non-fine-diners.
£95 per person for full tasting menu, additional £75 for wine pairing; launcestonplace-restaurant.co.uk
Pied à Terre
34 Charlotte St., London W1T 2NH
Pied à Terre isn’t quite old enough to be a living relic, but it has nonetheless become an absolute mainstay in the London fine-dining scene since it was opened by restaurateur David Moore in the early 1990s. The restaurant has had its share of head chefs since then, but Greek-born Asimakis Chaniotis has been presiding over the kitchen for a few years now, helping the restaurant retain its Michelin star with his blend of classic and forward-thinking dishes. The tasting menu is the best way to experience his cooking, and he gets full marks for a firm commitment to delivering standout vegetarian and vegan versions that don’t compromise on flavour.
From £85 per person; pied-a-terre.co.uk
10 Lincoln Street, SW3 2TS
Rohit Ghai is our kind of guy and his restaurant, Kutir, is our kind of restaurant. Indulge in Kutir's signature Expedition tasting menu for a proper regional and seasonal cuisine-based tour of the Indian subcontinent. Flavours of fenugreek, tomato, and Kashmiri chilli are incorporated beautifully into an aromatic chicken tikka masala that would put any East End curry house to shame. Dill raita and pickle accompany a tandoori hind of salmon to wallop every one of your taste receptors all at once. This is an excellent feast you'll want to share with equally excellent company.
£65 per person, additional £50 for wine pairing; kutir.co.uk
Pollen Street Social
8-10 Pollen Street, W1S 1NQ
Just as alliteration is an aim of ours, provenance is important to Pollen Street Social. Jason Atherton's restaurant is a place for the high-rollers of the world to find out why produce is such a key detail to making a meal. From Colchester crab to Buccleuch beef, each ingredient is carefully sourced and thought over to ensure it makes for the best eating possible. PSS's tasting menu doesn't just play it safe, either: creative dishes such as Jersey rock oyster ice cream with oyster leaf will seduce and challenge your palate in the best way possible.
£105 per person, additional £91 for the 'Classic' wine flight, £160 for the 'Fine' option and £253 for the 'Iconic'; pollenstreetsocial.com
70 Wilton Road, SW1V 1DE
Dining in Victoria and the surrounding area doesn't get better than A.Wong, really. The 'Taste of China' menu delivers just that: a selection of dishes that showcase the plethora of flavours that exist across the country's kitchens. Delicacies such as Chengdu street tofu, Yunnan seared beef, and Zhou dynasty cured scallop are all introductions to regional Chinese cuisine that will have you booking the next flight available.
£160 per person per person; awong.co.uk
La Dame de Pic
10 Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ
Comfortably perched inside the Four Seasons hotel, La Dame de Pic is the epitome of French sophistication. Chef Annie-Sophie Pic's food was deemed worthy of a star by Michelin in its 2018 and 2019 guides. There's obviously more to life (and eating) than Michelin, but we're confident that the tyre barons have got it right when it comes to La Dame de Pic. Order the tasting menu for an assault of French cuisine classics given a 2019 mambo. Chicken poached in Vin Jaune and wholegrain mustard is unlike any Coq au vin you've ever known. Pasta berlingots with St Cera cheese are an utterly adult and utterly gorgeous rendition on the humble bon bon. Come for a treat and leave feeling treated.
£115 per person, additional £85 for wine pairing; ladamedepiclondon.co.uk
Frog by Adam Handling
34-35 Southampton Street, WC2E 7HG
Adam Handling's flagship restaurant delivers just about everything you'd want from an eatery in the taste department, and it also does a bang-up job when it comes to sustainability, too. Many of the ingredients used are grown at the restaurant's partner farm in West Sussex to create the restaurant's two tasting menus. The more luxurious of the two is Adam's Menu – it's a well-oiled menu that's strewn with tantalising plates. Spare descriptions like 'scallops, oyster, caviar' and 'duck, sausage, foie gras' are more than enough to get our engines revving, while dishes tend to rest somewhere between artfully refined and playfully creative. Put simply, it's one of London's best tasting menus, in our opinion.
£150 per person, additional £75 for wine pairing; frogbyadamhandling.com
Town Hall Hotel, 8 Patriot Square, E2 9NF
At 109-years old, the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green is steeped in history. But recent years have been kind to it, too: Da Terra, a tasting-menu-only restaurant that exquisitely blends the native Italian and Brazilian cuisines of its founders Rafael Cagalli and Paulo Airaudo. Dishes are frenetic, form-shifting and eclectic, and although most of the menu seems Italian in spirit, Chinese, Brazilian and Japanese influences make themselves known in sauces and garnishes. Is it one of London's best tasting menus? You best believe it – in fact it was awarded a Michelin star soon after opening, and bagged one more the following year, which is more than deserved in our eyes.
Price on arrival; daterra.co.uk
15-17 Blandford Street, W1U 3DG
The Taste of Trishna tasting menu at Trishna is an excellent way to get a taste of Trishna’s food. Well, duh. The Koliwada menus come in either a five- or seven-course format. The former is the cheaper option, though it is worth bearing in mind that Trishna is in Marylebone and does have a Michelin star. So, cheap is relative, really. That being said, five courses for £65 isn’t bad when you take into account that you’ll be eating a range of Trishna’s signature dishes like the telicherry squid and shrimps; tandoori lamb chop; and meen manga curry. Knowing exactly what to order at an Indian restaurant can be difficult if you don’t know the ropes. This tasting menu takes all of that hassle out of your hands and ensures your meal will be crafted from start to finish.
Around £65 per person; trishnalondon.com
57 W Smithfield, EC1A 9DS
Club Gascon is a classic restaurant that specialises in cuisine from the South West of France and serves a tasting menu that’s about as typically French as it gets. Delicate yet punchy plates of confit king mushroom or whimsical sounding dishes like “crackling slow-cooked truffled duck egg in the nest” might sound a bit intricate, but just trust us that the main appeal of Club Gascon is that it never delves too far into the over-intellectualised territory of haute cuisine. There’s a tea pairing option for the teetotallers out there but, really, it’d be a crime not to have a glass of wine with a meal this good.
£90 per person, additional £60 for wine pairing; clubgascon.com
Embassy Gardens, 14 New Union Square, SW11 7AX
Since winning MasterChef: The Professionals in 2018, Sven Hanson-Britt has been patient with his next move. The British chef opened the quietly excellent, more casual all-day dining restaurant, Homestead, on London City Island in 2020, but the sense was he was still planning something altogether more ambitious. That something was Oxeye – with just a handful of covers, the restaurant near the US Embassy in Nine Elms (which also features an art gallery, bar and wine shop) is the site for his genre-topping tasting menus, which are hyper-seasonal, hyper-local and at times jaw-dropping in their execution. We’ll be surprised if he doesn’t bag at least one Michelin star at the next awards for the food, while the all-English drinks pairing was a potential gamble that paid off hugely, with some beautiful English still wines and sparklings on offer.
Around £100; oxeyerestaurant.co.uk
150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR
There are certain chefs whose names are by this point long written into restaurant lore, and John Williams MBE is definitely one of them. Helming a restaurant at one of London’s most jaw-droppingly historic and iconic venues is a task in itself, but doing so while constantly being among the most acclaimed in the city, and retaining a Michelin star all the while, is another thing altogether. The Ritz’s restaurant has its fair share of traditional hotel guests, so à la carte is always an option, but the Epicurean menus – at five or seven courses – are arguably the best way to experience the iconic chef’s take on classic French technique applied to sumptuous seasonal British ingredients. A must for anyone serious about London fine dining.
Price on arrival; theritzlondon.com
1 Sky Garden Walk, EC3M 8AF
Call us cynical, but there’s probably only so good a restaurant in somewhere like the Walkie Talkie actually needs to be. With genuinely tastefully decked-out bar and quite possibly the best view in the City in the form of Sky Garden, a food operation done to a decent standard will always do good business. But while the food was decent before, new chef Michael Carr has launched a new flagship tasting menu influenced by years spent at The Box Tree in Yorkshire, which held a Michelin star during his tenure – not necessarily a bewitching parade of courses designed to gradually unfurl themselves around a complex, high-concept narrative; more a collection of classic dishes with new-school flourishes thanks to Carr’s appreciation of the modern diner’s increasingly globalised palate. The food and drink on the top floor was fine before; under Carr and his team, it’s hit another level.
17 Bruton Street, W1J 6QB
Truth be told, there's never a time where we don't want to go out to Hakkasan. The high-end Mayfair restaurant is one of the most consistent purveyors of excellent Cantonese cuisine in the city. The signature menus at Hakkasan are all curated by executive head chef Tong Chee Hwee and his team. Peking duck with Prunier caviar? Wok-fried Tristan lobster with black truffle sauce? Mongolian-style lamb chop? Yeah, we're all about that.
£120 per person; hakkasan.com
The Water House Project
1 Corbridge Crescent, E2 9DT
The Water House Project describes itself as offering "social fining dining", a concept that seems a bit nebulous until you understand how Gabriel Waterhouse's first permanent restaurant came about. It began as a supper club run from his own home – so it's no surprise the space feels, well, warm and homely, with an open kitchen and drinks reception area. The cooking, though, is a cut above anything you'd be able to dish up yourself (unless, of course, you're a supremely talented chef), which is probably why it's become a low-key hit with those in the know. The restaurant will be serving a monthly changing nine-course tasting menu based around what's in season at the time: right now, that means a sweetcorn emulsion with smoked herring roe; Tunworth cheese with pear and vanilla, shallot ice cream and burnt onion skins; and lapsang macaroons with chestnut parfait. And yes, it's as interesting and delicious as it sounds.
£120 per person; thewaterhouseproject.com
199 Tooley Street, SE1 2JX
Bear with us for this one. Story is a tad conceptual. If you'll allow us to pun a little, it's a restaurant that could even be described as 'novel'. Here's what the foreword on its website says: "As a guest at Story, you will not be presented with a menu on arrival. We will build your meal around your preferences and will typically include a mixture of Story classic dishes alongside new and seasonally inspired creations." Going into Story involves putting your trust in Tom Sellers' capable hands and allowing him to weave you a lovely edible narrative.
£145 per person; restaurantstory.co.uk
9 Waterloo Place, SW1Y 4BE
Fancy yourself a bit of a high-roller, do you? Want to spend lots of money on a menu that's got words like caviar and wagyu all over it? Well, Mr Big Stuff, it's high time you got yourself to Imperial Treasure in St James for some wagyu beef rolls and mounds of caviar. Finesse is the name of the game here and while Imperial Treasure might be very conscious about the overwhelming fine-dining-ness of itself, the food is still excellent. Expensive, yes. But excellent nonetheless. Making it one of London's best tasting menus for special occasions and, well, the mega-rich. Naturally.
£128 per person; imperialtreasure.com
The Savoy, The Strand, WC2R 0EZ
It can be tempting to underrate chefs who have reached the kind of success and ubiquity as Gordon Ramsay – the innumerable TV shows, the billboard in Las Vegas, the empire spanning multiple continents from burger joints to haute cuisine – but to do so would be to underestimate the man's knack for hospitality at the top level. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay still having three Michelin stars is a testament to that, and so is the opening of the excellent Restaurant 1890 at the Savoy hotel, a tasting-menu-only affair in a small, beautiful room overlooking the famous old hotel's courtyard. Ramsay has assembled a youthful but experienced team, led by chef James Sharp, with beautiful and artful dishes in a concise, six-course tasting menu in surroundings that are pretty unique even in London. A few different wine pairings are on offer too, from the standard (which still includes some out-there and old bottles) to full baller.
43 Upper Brook Street, W1K 7QR
Michel Roux Jr is one of those rare chefs: someone still very much at the top of his game, while still being someone your mother has actually heard of. You'll be pleased to hear that Roux's mainstream success on the box hasn't had a dampener on the food served at his hugely successful Le Gavroche. The first UK restaurant to be awarded one, two and then three fat Michelin stars, Le Gavroche – and its tasting menu – is still very much worth your attention. Go for a crash course in the French classics (soufflé suissesse, boudin noir) and a wine pairing that's been meticulously thought through. Menu Exceptionnel? Mais oui!
£178 per person, additional £100 for wine pairing; le-gavroche.co.uk
Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester
53 Park Lane, W1K 1QA
Legendary French chef Alain Ducasse is an icon of the global restaurant scene, with flagship restaurants in France, London and around the world, most of which have a ridiculously good reputation and at least one Michelin star. His restaurant at The Dorchester hotel on Park Lane is a slice of old-school Parisian fine dining, and has held the aforementioned tyre company's highest accolade, three stars, for absolutely ages. No, he's not often in the kitchen; no, it's not cheap; yes, it's worth going for a benchmark restaurant that gives an unabashed look at what one of the world's best restaurateurs can still achieve within the confines of French cuisine and seasonal ingredients. Incroyable.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
68 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HP
Established in 1998, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is a grizzled vet of a restaurant: a place that's been around the block once or twice and knows its shit. It also knows that it's food isn't. The 'Seasonal Inspiration' menu takes smoked eel to the next level; ushers sorbet to the other side of the tracks; pelts asparagus into a simply different stratosphere. Regardless of what you think about Gordon Ramsay, it's hard to deny that his bonny restaurant is very much a Kitchen Dream. Go in with high expectations and you'll have them matched.
£185 per person; gordonramsayrestaurants.com
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
66 Knightsbridge, W1X 7LA
'Meat Fruit', 'Spicy Ice Cream', 'Rice & Flesh'. I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I made one of those up. The beauty about the Chef's Table at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is that you could think of pretty much any fantastic food wizardry and it wouldn't seem out of place on the restaurant's innovative menu. The bespoke menu, created by Chef Director Ashley Palmer-Watts, is a tour through the history of food itself with recipes inspired by cookbooks from as far back as the 14th century. Eating dinner at Dinner does more than just sate a physical hunger: it scratches an intellectual itch and culinary curiosity like nothing else.
£165 or £225 per person; dinnerbyheston.co.uk
Claude Bosi at Bibendum
Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, SW3 6RD
The 'Surprise Tasting' menu at Bibendum is... drum roll, please... a surprise. What's unsurprising, though is how bloody great it is – especially given chef-patron Claude Bosi’s rich heritage in Franco-British fine dining and the fact the restaurant’s got two Michelin stars. Intriguing dishes like 'My mum's tripe and cuttlefish gratin' will give your mind and mouth something to mull over, while more traditional fine-dining accoutrements like hand-dived scallops are just plain old delicious.
£120 person, additional £85 for wine pairing; claudebosi.com/restaurant
Hélène Darroze at the Connaught
Carlos Place, W1K 2AL
What's better than one-Michelin-starred dining? Well, according to that thicc rubber bastard Bibendum, it's three-Michelin-starred dining. Hélène Darroze's eponymous restaurant is somewhere that distinction almost becomes obvious. It's that good. Seeing as chef's tables have all been done before – far too blasé now, darling – you're invited at The Connaught to dine at a very special 'Sommelier's Table' instead. Taking place in the hotel's atmospheric limestone wine cellar, guests are assaulted with wonderful wines hand-selected by the restaurant's sommelier which are then paired with exquisite dishes from Hélène Darroze. Not one for the teetotallers, but an absolute dream for the budding Bacchuses out there.
£185 per person, or £150 for five courses; the-connaught.co.uk
9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG
Yes, Sketch is really, really ridiculously good-looking, but the West London Instagram darling isn't just about the aesthetic. Far from it, in fact: Sketch has got more than enough substance to match its style, thanks to the work of the legendary Frenchman Pierre Gagnaire and his brigade of kitchen staff. The descriptions of the dishes on the tasting menu are frankly poetry to read: slices of Pyrenean milk lamb marinated in kefir; chablis-poached Scottish salmon glazed with nettle velouté. Sketch serves the sort of food that would make Keats swoon into oblivion, and just the sort of food that's worth spending your hard-earned ducats on.
£120 per person; sketch.london
The Clove Club
Shoreditch Town Hall, EC1V 9LT
The tasting menu at The Clove Club is a colourful culinary tour of British cuisine and a prime example of what makes London's best tasting menus, well, really bloody good. The menu highlights the very best produce that CC’s founders Daniel Willis, Isaac Mchale and Johnny Smith are able to get their hands on from across the British Isles, with inspiration for the dishes themselves coming from all across the globe. Despite the structure of the tasting menu every plate still feels interesting and special in its own right, especially when paired with a cracking wine list that showcases regions from the old and new world with a focus on artisanal growers. Is it expensive? Yes. It is it excellent? Yes.
£145 per person, additional £145 for wine pairing; thecloveclub.com
Core by Clare Smyth
92 Kensington Park Road, W11 2PN
"Corr" is definitely the sort of exclamation you'll make after ordering the tasting menu at Core by Clare Smyth. Simply named dishes like 'Lamb carrot' and 'Duck and red grapes' deliver a flavour profile so complex you'll want to ask them about their relationship with their parents. The team at Core pride themselves on professional and perfection – an ethos that shines through in the food. Notting Hill's never been the same since Clare Smyth came to town, making Core one of London's best tasting menus without a doubt.
£115 per person, additional £105 for wine pairing; corebyclaresmyth.com