British, Modern Restaurants in Westminster
1. Caxton Grill British, Modern restaurant in Westminster 2 Caxton St - SW1
2018 Review: This hotel dining room, tucked away in Westminster, is still readjusting to Adam Handling’s departure in May 2016 and reports tend to include highs and lows. It’s a characterful space however, that’s worth remembering.
2. Gridiron, COMO Metropolitan London British, Modern restaurant in Westminster 19 Old Park Lane - W1K
Little survey feedback as yet on this late-autumn 2018 opening right on Park Lane – a contemporary ‘live fire’ steakhouse occupying the space which older hipsters may recall as the Met Bar. The Observer’s Jay Rayner felt it was a ‘so-nearly-but-not quite’ experience, but the team behind it is impressive with Richard H Turner (ex-Hawksmoor) and Colin McSherry (Nuala, Clove Club).
3. The Pem British, Modern restaurant in Westminster Conrad London St. James, 22-28 Broadway - SW1H
With Sally Abé's recent arrival from the Harwood Arms, the Conrad St James's Hotel is clearly aiming to take its offering up a notch. This summer 2021 arrival is to be her main showcase within the hotel, offering an ambitious menu with classic British overtones. Did no-one tell Sally the unwritten rule that good British restaurants are just not allowed in Westminster? Perhaps she will at last break the mould! (See also The Blue Boar.)
4. Lorne British, Modern restaurant in Westminster 76 Wilton Road - SW1V
“Lorne has gone from strength to strength since its recovery from its awful flash flood”, which closed it for a significant portion of 2018 – “it’s a measure of the warm feelings it generates that just about all staff came back when the restaurant reopened, as did all the regulars who had become loyalists in a relatively short period of time”. Owned and run by Katie Exton and Peter Hall, it’s a “tranquil space” with “no fuss and no pretentiousness”, but “unexpectedly good, seasonal food for a street a stone’s throw from Victoria, and lined with medium-priced, fast-food restaurants”. A good chunk of its appeal lies in its “vast and interesting wine list” on which “Katie provides guidance”.
5. Farzi Cafe Indian restaurant in Westminster 8 Haymarket - SW1Y
In the heart of the West End, this decidedly glam yearling scored better in our survey than the mixed rep it received in press reviews. The first UK outpost of a 30-strong international chain hailing from India and the Gulf, its repertoire of tapas-y offerings are very much of the funky, evolved school of Indian cuisine, and reporters salivate over “an amazing choice of inventive dishes” that are “far better than you would expect” in this touristy locale.
6. The Rex Whistler Restaurant, Tate Britain British, Modern restaurant in Westminster Millbank - SW1P
“Why go? The exceptional wines and the magnificent Whistler mural” provide most of the answer at the Tate’s “delightful” dining “oasis”: an “unexpected treat” by the standards of gallery venues, dating from 1927. It is true that its British cuisine “doesn’t match the liquid refreshment”, but it is generally “inviting”; and “the range and depth of wines on offer is reason alone to go”, providing “some gems and at fair prices” (“wine is purchased and laid down, more like a St James’s Club than a commercial restaurant”). “Satiated by stylish cooking and sensational wines – what better way to kick off a trip around the galleries upstairs…”
7. Plume by Grays & Feather British, Modern restaurant in Westminster 26 Wellington Street - WC2E
Promising, if limited, early feedback on this modern ‘wine parlour’ – recently opened by wine expert Andrew Gray (a merchant with a business at the Southbank Food Market) on a corner-site near Covent Garden (the erstwhile office-space of a Mr Charles Dickens); and with an excellent list of 70 wines: “limited food, but what they do is lovely; tiny space, but it’s gorgeous, and well worth a visit, especially as staff are so lovely”.
8. Kerridge’s Bar & Grill British, Modern restaurant in Westminster Whitehall Place - SW1A
TV-star Tom Kerridge “has clearly tried to bring a touch of his Marlow pub, The Hand & Flowers to the formal and plush surroundings of the Corinthia” with this much-awaited, late-2018 opening. This massive and potentially “cavernous” chamber has now been successfully cosied-up from its former incarnation as Massimo (RIP), with a big bar area; “clubby” dark decor; and with “rotisseries and meat-maturing cabinets lining one side of the room”. “The food, likewise, is a little more hearty and traditional – with a Kerridge twist – than the expected, hotel-fine-dining experience”. “Prices, however, remain very much high end”, and diners are slightly divided on the overall outcome. A few critics feel the experience “doesn’t match the hype”, and is “a mismatch of average pub grub with one of London’s most exclusive hotels”. For a big majority of diners, though, it “fires on all cylinders”, combining an “impressive-but-relaxed room” with “suitably professional but informal service” and “interesting and delicious” cooking of a type in line with TK’s celebrity persona: “it was probably the most expensive fish ’n’ chips I have ever had, but I can’t wait to go back!” Top Tip – well spaced tables help make it good for less formal business occasions.
9. 104 Restaurant British, Modern restaurant in Westminster 104a Chepstow Road - W2
(see note) “So glad to have 104 back on the map”, say fans of this tiny 14-seater on the fringe of Notting Hill – formerly Marianne’s (RIP) and now re-launched without fanfare by chef Richard Wilkins and front-of-house Matt Hough: the former of whom had worked here with Marianne Lumb before she moved onto pastures new. Early feedback (in 2019) on this “very pretty room” (“romantic”, but “be prepared to overhear everyone else’s conversation”) did include the odd caveat (“excellent quality overall, but some dishes seemed overly simple; and some of the accompanying sauces had gone wrong”). For the most part, however, the picture was of rave reviews for “stunning and very high quality dishes at a reasonable price for such great produce”. (Note - The quotes in this piece are from our last survey which ran in 2019. Due to the pandemic we do not have more recent information to rely on, but we believe the overall picture painted by the review is accurate).
10. Roast British, Modern restaurant in Westminster Great Portland Street - W1W
“Nice views of Borough Market, if you get a window seat” (“watch out for the trains on the adjoining viaduct that appear to be coming towards you”) add to the considerable appeal of this “light and airy dining space” (which atmospherically incorporates a converted glazed portico, originally part of the Royal Opera House). Specialising in British cuisine – particularly roast meats – most reports say the food is “brilliant”, but there remains a sceptical view that it’s “less-than-good home cooking”. Top Menu Tip – breakfast and brunch have long been a very reliable experience here.
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