"The food is fresh and zingy. The Indian street concept works quite well but some of the tables are a bit tucked away and you feel you are missing out on things."
"Still very impressive spicing and presentation of the food but on the last couple of occasions I've found the service verging on poor."
"Excellent for pre-theatre and meeting up with friends."
"Lovely atmosphere, but that's all! Food and service has become pretty bad at what used to be a great place to go for good seafood. With so many other competitors in the area, Bentley's really need to focus on their offering before it gets any worse."
"A huge establishment, split into a variety of areas - even a downstairs with more intimate settings - but critically, the food is solid. Choices are vast and you can have anything from a burger to a curry to meat, fish or poultry. There should be something to appeal to all, but when it gets busy, it also gets loud!"
"Excellent , good quality food & interesting menu with hints to the orient.Lovely oysters, ceviche & Laksa. Good service & ambience."
"It's very pleasant here, menu has some nice touches. Good place for breakfast. Plenty to chose from on the menu for breakfast & lovely help yourself buffet of fruit, cakes, pastries, breads yoghurts."
"The dish that I like here is Fried Ho Fun Malaysian-style, which has a spicy curry flavour with chilli and seafood / meat. For £5.20 you really can't do better, great for a light lunch. The rest of the menu is pretty average fare though, so choose carefully."
"A very welcome Dim Sum restaurant to North London, they serve all the classic dishes, and they're just perfectly done. Prices are just great value too. Try the yam croquettes, nor mai kai sticky rice, hau kow dumplings, spare ribs in black bean sauce, chicken feet. We had a very large family lunch there for 10 of us and had a terrific time!"
"A definite favourite and possibly best tapas bar in London right now. Started with a dry sherry which was superb, followed by an amazingly good selection of dishes - the air-dried iberico ham, suckling pig ears, crab coquettes, rabbit all great. In the veggies, I was disappointed with the fennel and pears, but it was a small issue when the meal overall was so good! Highly recommended."
Menus from £54 pp
Richard Caring’s famous Theatreland idol – now the original of a fast expanding brand – emerged from a massive overhaul too late to be rated (just before the survey closed). Too often a let down in recent years, a handful of first-days reports say its “beautiful refurb” is “superb in every detail” – “wow, wow, wow!”
The Private Room at The Ivy is as glamorous and in demand as the restaurant downstairs. Up to 60 guests can be seated for a wedding breakfast, lunch or dinner, or 100 for a cocktail or canapé reception.
Their stylish private dining room holds 27 seated diners, or 60 people for drinks and canapés. Book the Navarino room and enjoy a 3-course Christmas party menu for £45 pp with a complimentary glass of bubbly on arrival.
Wright Brothers (The Cage) W1
Menus from £39 pp
“Tanks full of sparkling sea food” showcase the “breathtakingly fresh” oysters, shellfish and other “flavoursome” fare at these “happy and bustling” outfits. Top Menu Tips – “an historic beef and oyster pie”, and “blissful oyster Happy Hour”.
Their unique private dining room offers set and sharing-style menus showcasing the finest oysters, fish and seafood. Watch the chefs at work as you and your guests dine in the giant ‘oyster cage’, nestled within the open kitchen. The Cage can accommodate 20 seating, or 35 for a standing event.
Dinner menus from £52 pp
Lunch menus from £35 pp
Moved this year from its long-standing Chelsea home to a “wonderfully decorated” new site in St James’s, this renowned Indian seems to have transported well – the new location is “lovely”, as is the “superb, fragrant and subtle” cooking, and all-in-all it’s “expensive but worth it”.
Chutney Mary offers two private dining rooms, with an extensive menu of options to cater for private celebrations, lunches and dinners or business events. The Club Room, can seat from 18-32 guests for a sit down meal, or 60 for a cocktail reception. The room has space for pre-meal drinks. The Crystal Room, can seat from 10-16 guests for a sit down meal.
Or why not try its new sister restaurant Masala Grill SW10? Though in a simpler vein, “standards are being maintained at the former Chutney Mary”; this new Indian (same owners) offers “a different slant to the original on the site” but is “very professional” with some “excellent and unusual” dishes.
The venue's two private dining rooms can accommodate 28 and 32 people for lunch or dinner and up to 50 for cocktail parties. Menus from £32 pp.
Christmas menus from £72 pp
“Even if you would normally avoid tourist spots like the plague”, London’s oldest restaurant (Covent Garden, 1798) satisfies even sceptical visitors with its “truly historic” interior and “proud-to-be-old-fashioned” menu, majoring in meat, game and “old-school puds”; one caution though – it’s getting “oh oh so expensive”.
Rules has a couple of private dining rooms to choose from. The John Betjeman Room accommodate up to 10 for dining while the Graham Greene Room can seat up to 18 for dining and 25 for buffets and receptions.
Dinner menus from £53 pp
Lunch menus from £32 pp
With a reputed £10m spent on converting the ground floor of The Adelphi, just off The Strand, this hallowed US steakhouse brand’s first incursion into the UK market makes a bold statement, with 300 seats, endless leather and brass, and a menu packed with USDA cuts.
There's three private dining rooms to choose from at S&W. The largest (Theodore Roosevelt Room) seats 50 or has room for 60 standing. The Churchill Room seats 28 guests while the Liberty Room holds 20 for a sit-down dinner.
Menus from £49 pp
Sitting pretty alongside Bentley and Bugatti showrooms, members’ clubs and purveyors of haute couture, Richard Caring’s latest venture (on the site of a former Mayfair NatWest bank) adds another seafood specialist to the Caprice empire.
The Coral Reef Room boasts two of the largest live coral reef tanks in the world, and seating for up to 48.
“Always fun, especially in the downstairs oyster bar” – Richard Corrigan’s “classy” fish veteran, near Piccadilly Circus, won vigorous praise this year for its “amazing” oysters and other “bang-on” fish and seafood; there’s a “pleasingly traditional” upstairs restaurant too.
The Swallow Street Rooms are a hidden gem accommodating 60 people on round tables or 100 guests for canapé parties. You'll have own private bar, bathroom, cloakroom facilities, piano, plasma screen, late licence and state of the art sound system. Bentley's also boasts the Rib Room (up to 30 guests) and the Crustacea Room (up to 14 guests).
“Filling a gap in the market near Spitalfields” – this “light and airy” new brasserie is a “good all-dayer” occupying an attractively converted former bank (and with a “beautiful outside terrace”); service, however, is not always “up to speed”.
Blixen is on the former site of a bank and when you dine in their private room you'll actually be sitting within the old vault - pretty cool. It seats up to 18 people.
“Plush jock-inese decor”… “spectacular cigar terrace and whisky selection”… “amazing wine list”… “traditional, meaty Scottish fare”… live jazz – this Belgravia bastion is well-known as a “clubbable” redoubt of male revelry; its ratings were hit this year though by some reports of “terrible” service and “unexciting” meals.
The Jacobite Room, located on the first floor, features mahogany panelling, embellished with a dash of Macdonald tartan, and offers seating for up to 22. The courtyard (pictured) is also available for private events and accommodates 20 guests.
There’s “a real wow factor” to the “smart and American-feeling” decor of this big new watering hole – the “open and spacious ground floor of a Fitzrovia office building”; fans say the food is “surprisingly good” too, but others – judging it “over-designed and inauthentic” – find its appeal “hollow”.
Its private dining room, “Percy’s Den”, has room for 24 seated and 35 standing, complete with a fully stocked bar.
“A real treat in every respect” – this luxurious, well-spaced Belgravia dining room is firing on all cylinders after its revamp last year; as well as the top-quality roast beef and grills for which it’s long been famous, the “seasonal menus show true skill and inventiveness”.
Three alternative areas host up to 20 guests, ideal for business or celebrations. One room includes a cigar terrace and all feature a selection of Topolski art.
“It should be a national monument!” – Corbin & King’s “tremendously atmospheric” (“mildly cacophonous”) European Grand Café by the Ritz has become a “perennial” linchpin of “glamorous” London life (“there’s always at least one A-list celeb eating at a nearby table!”). It’s the “fun and the buzz” that set it apart, however – the large Mittel-European menu is “very adaptable” but decidedly “not exciting” (even if “it does the best breakfast in town, bar none!”)
The Private Dining Room seats up to 14 guests and is available to book for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“Less hectic than the Wolseley but with all the good bits” – Corbin & King’s “so-very-civilised” three-year-old, on the fringe of Covent Garden, is a less showy, more “luxurious” alternative to its bigger stablemate (and likewise “pitch perfect” for business). The Mittel- European cooking “isn’t really the point”, but it’s usually highly “satisfactory” (in particular the “utterly fab” breakfasts and “most delicious afternoon teas”).
The Delaunay's two private dining rooms seat up to 8 and 14 guests respectively and are available to book for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The two rooms can also be opened up to accommodate a long table of 24 guests.
[caption id="attachment_9667" align="alignleft" width="300"] By Patricia Niven[/caption]
Menus from £50 pp
Outstanding “new kid-on-the-foodie-block”, which crept into Fitzrovia without fanfare, but is proving one of the year’s gastronomic highlights; its “functional” and “echo-y” design covers the “bare essentials”, the notably “genuine” service (led by co-owner Will Lander) is “spot on”, and the “eclectic” cuisine is “novel” and “exciting”.
Portland's private room seats parties of anything from 8-16 people. Because it’s designed for larger groups, they offer a set menu of sharing plates for the whole table. The room is all yours for the afternoon or the evening and you will have a dedicated member of our team looking after you.
“Utterly brilliant steaks” and “professional” cocktails have won cult status for Huw Gott and Will Beckett’s “lively and clubby” steak houses (a fave rave for “boozy business lunches”); they risk starting to seem “up themselves”, however, not helped by increasingly “stupid prices”.
The Guildhall's private dining room seats up to 22 people and has its own bar. And the restaurant itself is available for exclusive hire for 160 people.
“Phenomenal” Italian tapas – “really unusual” dishes from all over the country, including lots of game and offal – help inspire mass adulation for Jacob Kennedy and Victor Hugo’s “wildly popular” venture, near Piccadilly Circus. It has a “wonderful”, “casual” atmosphere too – if an “incredibly noisy” one – with many reports tipping the bar-side perches as the best seats in the house. Desserts are “particularly original” too (or “skip pud, and go to Gelupo, their ‘sister’ ice cream shop opposite”).
The Remus Room can accommodate 12-32 people seated, 50 standing, and is served by its own dedicated chef in an adjacent kitchen. Bocca di Lupo's feasting menus are changed monthly, and individual menus can be designed by special request.
“No flim-flam – just pure class!” – this Soho three-year-old may be “simple and basic” (and “a bit cramped” too), but it dishes up “brilliant”, “sensitive” seasonal cuisine, and Luke’s hand-written list provides “smashing wines at decent prices”; “book at lunch, to avoid the inevitable evening queue”.
The private room seats up to 12 people, and is bookable Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Bob Bob Ricard W1
Full restaurant menu available
“Love the ‘press for champagne’ button on every table!” – this “wacky” Soho diner is “perfect for an intimate meal” or “girls’ lunch” thanks to its fun, boothed seating, “OTT” decor and “charming” service; on the downside, the cooking is no more than “high-end comfort food” and “prices are silly for what you get”. Top Menu Tip – “excellent beef Wellington”.
Apparently modelled on the Royal Dining Car, Bob Bob Ricard's private dining room can seat 10-16 guests.
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