British, Modern Restaurants in London
1. The Anthologist British, Modern restaurant in City 58 Gresham St - EC2
A handy location, near the Guildhall, “buzzy” large interior and versatile menu of “decent (if unspectacular) food” mean it’s worth remembering this “reliable option in the City”, although it “can be incredibly busy”.
2. Café Below British, Modern restaurant in City St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside - EC2
2021 Review: “Escape the feel of the City for very reasonable home cooked-food” in the ancient crypt of Bow Bells church. “There are no better dining establishments in the Square Mile: affordable, great service, good food with delicious daily changing salads” including “excellent veggie and vegan options”. Depending on when you go, it’s either a “quiet” space or quite a “noisy” one.
3. Parlour, The Ned British, Modern restaurant in City of London 27 Poultry - EC2R
2022 Review: Yet another option for eating at The Ned! This time, the colossal hipster hotel near Bank has added a new basement bar and entertainment space, complete with regular live music. The food is more than just bar bites though – Lobster Thermidor anyone?
4. 1 Lombard Street British, Modern restaurant in City 1 Lombard St - EC3
“King of the City lunching scene” – Soren Jessen’s “buzzing” stalwart in the very heart of the Square Mile, near Bank, continues to maintain its “consistent standards” and is “a decent if very ‘City’ restaurant”. “Classic dishes” (“including some added when Mark Hix was still consultant chef”) are served alongside “a well-chosen wine list” (and they do an “awesome breakfast” too).
5. Bread Street Kitchen British, Modern restaurant in City 10 Bread Street - EC4
“As Gordon Ramsay chain restaurants go, the food is dependable enough” at this generously spaced modern brasserie, in a big mall next to St Paul’s (but even those who agree it’s “absolutely fine” may also consider it “very poor value”). “Despite being in EC4, the restaurant has a decent vibe”, and it’s tipped both for a business lunch and its “generous Sunday lunch”.
6. Caravan British, Modern restaurant in City 22 Bloomberg Arcade, Queen Victoria Street - EC4N
“Delicious shakshuka with maxing smoky flavours” is typical of the “colourful and flavoursome” brunch-friendly dishes at this “very buzzy if not loud” chain, known for its “top coffee” (which they roast themselves), and whose best-known sites are the Exmouth Market original and large Granary Square branch. Recently, they also added an opening in Canary Wharf and a brew bar at their Caledonian Road roastery (not listed), with further ‘measured expansion’ planned. For the most part, they are still mostly seen as a “reliable” choice for an “interesting and healthy” breakfast: “not everything is a hit but for a casual lunch I am pretty happy”. Top Tip – “when the sun is shining, it’s worth waiting for an outside table” in N1.
7. Vinoteca City British, Modern restaurant in City Bloomberg Arcade, Queen Victoria Street - EC2R
“It’s wonderful being able to choose so many wines by the glass” from the “eclectic list” at these popular modern wine bars, liked for their approachable contemporary style. “Obviously the liquid refreshment is the main point here”, but the “simple” cooking can be “more assured than you might expect”, if from a “limited menu”. A new branch opened in late 2021 at Borough Yards in SE1, while in late 2022 its oldest site, on Seymour Place in Marylebone, shut up shop. Other particularly notable branches include the one right by King’s Cross station (with a convenient and excellent terrace) and Chiswick.
8. The Fortnum's Bar & Restaurant British, Modern restaurant in City The Royal Exchange - EC3V
2022 Review: Fortnum’s hold the catering and bar concession for the spectacular City courtyard of the Royal Exchange, where they provide luxury all-day snacking, sipping and dining (start the day with “the best-ever porridge with whisky and cream!”). It must be the just about the only restaurant in London to provide ‘personal shopping advice’ to diners, guiding them round the glossy shops that have replaced traders in the surrounding exchange.
9. The Mercer British, Modern restaurant in City 34 Threadneedle St - EC2
In a converted banking hall near the Bank of England, this well-established brasserie exists to serve a City clientele, from breakfast on. Opinions divide on whether it’s a little “disappointing”, like many in the Square Mile, or “perfect of its type and better than it needs to be”.
10. High Timber British, Modern restaurant in City 8 High Timber Street - EC4
This “high-grade hidden gem, just below the Millennium Bridge” – aka the Wobbly pedestrian bridge, directly opposite Tate Modern – is owned by a South African wine producer and “focuses on high-quality steaks and a Saffer-heavy wine list”. If you’re really interested, it’s worth seeking out the “great off-menu wines”. Top Tip – “the house biltong is delicious”.
11. City Social British, Modern restaurant in City Tower 42 25 Old Broad St - EC2
“Jason Atherton’s City branch is still guaranteed to wow guests – from the plush elevator to the stunning views, everything screams impressive” at this 24th-floor venue in Tower 42 (fka the NatWest Tower). The food is “tasty” – if “not the most adventurous” (i.e. plenty of steaks) – “but staking out a view in one of the deep booths, glass in hand, and watching the city spread out for miles is a pretty spectacular way to spend an evening”.
12. Epic Pies British, Traditional restaurant in 53-55 Carter Lane - EC4V
2022 Review: The name says it all about this new ‘Britisserie’ (an ‘authentic British patisserie’), which opened on a corner site near St Paul’s in December 2019. Owners Daniel Jobsz and his mum honed their classic pie-making skills at markets, festivals and pop-ups from 2015 before they found the site, which incorporates a small courtyard. Full English breakfasts (in a tart, of course), plus epic mash and a good list of beers and other drinks complete the formula.
13. Heddon Street Kitchen British, Modern restaurant in Mayfair 3-9 Heddon St - W1
2019 Review: As “a nice option for a mid-shopping break”, Gordon Ramsay’s West End outfit off Regent Street improved its previously dire ratings this year, although the experience can still seem “beige”. It’s best with kids in tow, as under-12s eat free at any time from the menu of Tilly’s Treats, designed by junior TV chef Matilda Ramsay (“and the kids love the ice cream parlour too”).
14. Fenchurch Restaurant, Sky Garden British, Modern restaurant in City 20 Fenchurch St - EC3
“Unbeatable views” from the 37th floor of the City’s Walkie-Talkie building accompany chef Michael Carr’s menus at this “high-end” operation from caterers Rhubarb. “The food varies from average to exceptional”, but there “enough courses that succeed” to make dining here a worthwhile – even “romantic” – experience.
15. Darwin Brasserie British, Modern restaurant in City 1 Sky Garden Walk - EC3M
The 36th-floor brasserie at the top of the City’s Walkie-Talkie Tower may be the exception to the rule that restaurants with a “spectacular view” serve exorbitantly expensive menus of very ordinary grub. Yes, it’s “fairly pricey”, but consistent strong marks for food confirm reports that a meal here is “surprisingly good”.
16. The Ivy City Garden British, Modern restaurant in City Dashwood House, 69 Old Broad St - EC2M
“You wouldn’t go for ‘haute cuisine’, but as a jolly place to eat comfort food in a spectacular setting, it is hard to beat” – that’s the upbeat view, anyway, on this now-“ubiquitous” brasserie chain. Eight years and 40 openings later, the spin-offs increasingly eclipse the Theatreland original (see also), whose Edwardian features provide the style-guide for its nationwide ‘roll out’. “Even if the unchallenging food reaches no heights, there’s a consistent buzz”, which makes them a “posh”, “fun” choice for a get-together, if not a particularly foodie one. This is particularly the case at the landmark London off-shoots: at ‘Chelsea Garden’ (“gorgeous greenery”); Kensington (“slick”, with a “pretty glitzy crowd”); and on the Thames (“great views over Tower Bridge”). But while it’s always been acknowledged that the mass offering is “a shadow of the mothership’s” – with “average grub at not-so-average prices” – the feeling that the brand has become just “a chain that does not excite” is gaining ever-stronger currency. Service seems more “stretched” nowadays, and a sliding ambience rating is making the whole offering seem ever-more “overrated, for all its modern art and perky décor”.
17. The Jugged Hare British, Modern restaurant in City 49 Chiswell Street - EC1
“If you like game, this is the place for you” – a “lively” City gastropub with a focus on “fabulous British food” led by game in season, spit-roasted suckling pig and rare-breed meat. Handy for pre-show dining for visitors to the neighbouring Barbican arts centre, and “great-value Sunday lunches too”.
18. The Swan at the Globe British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 21 New Globe Walk - SE1
The “amazing setting” – part of Shakespeare’s Globe with “spectacular views” over the Thames – is the USP of this venue. There’s an “excellent range of cakes, sandwiches and teas” (including the oddly named ‘Mr Falstaff’s’ savoury afternoon tea… forgetting Sir John’s knighthood). But more generally, while the food’s fine, “it’s not a serious challenger for the title of restaurant rather than gastropub”.
19. The Botanist British, Modern restaurant in City Broadgate Circle - EC2
2021 Review: This pair of “casual”, well-located all-day brasseries serve an “eclectic menu” from breakfast on, but it’s the “friendly ambience that’s a real winner”. The Sloane Square branch is “very Chelsea” – “great for lunch” and “wonderfully convenient pre- and post-show for Cadogan Hall or Royal Court”.
20. Duck & Waffle British, Modern restaurant in City 110 Bishopsgate, Heron Tower - EC2
Stunning 40th-floor views over London and 24/7 opening have drawn busy crowds to this perch at the top of the City’s Heron Tower for 10 years now, and the signature “tasty duck and egg waffle” and other faux-rustic dishes go down well enough alongside a cocktail or two.
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