Choosing the right venue is the first step in a successful ‘Power Lunch’. But dazzling cooking is seldom key to a successful business encounter: the agenda of a critic, and the agenda of an expense-accounter vary greatly. Swift service, an impressive backdrop, or a convenient location all often count for more. Choose your destination based on market insights using real data, and real opinions from over 8,000 diners.
“It will tell you what diners actually want, as opposed to mere restaurant critics” – Richard Vines, chief Food Critic, Bloomberg.
Here are the heaviest hitters on the list of restaurants that gained the highest scores as ‘best for business’ as chosen by our list of over 8,000 Harden’s reporters.
For a proper business lunch of the old school, nowhere matches this hidden Dickensian cellar on the fringes of the City. As you negotiate the secluded “nooks and crannies” of its rambling low-ceilinged interior (“a bit of a maze”) the subterranean location provides a perfect excuse if you are questioned on why you failed to pick up your mobile mid-meal. With its capacious wine list, this is just the location for a ‘Life on Mars’ style return to 1970s-style entertaining, hopefully minus the punch up with DCI Gene Hunt.
Favoured by Ian Fleming, the brains behind 007, and mentioned in The Great Escape, where better for brainstorming or strategising than this superbly smooth Mayfair A-list magnet. Plus our diners note that despite the bustling intimacy, the “tables far enough apart” should you need some privacy.
What says ‘power’ like a hunk of red meat? Unsurprising then that Hawksmoor, still surfing the (increasingly un-PC zeitgeist) as London’s premier steakhouse group, features highly on the list. The highest rated for food in our list of top business spots, this is matched with “eye-watering prices”. Make sure it’s your colleague who is paying…
#2 The Delaunay
“Classy” styling and comfortable decor makes the lower key Delauney “perfect for business” (not to mention its handy location between the West End and City). This midtown stalwart is also a Corbin & King creation but has a unique, distinctly ‘Manhattan-esque’ feel with its deep leather banquettes and wood panelling. Clearly the duo have cracked the formula for the perfect deal-making setting, despite their culinary DNA delivering average ratings for the mittel-european nosh.
#1 The Wolseley
Coming in at number one is the iconic West End landmark, The Wolseley, in St. James. Despite a mixed culinary performance over the years, it retains a perfect score for ambience; crucial to set just the right vibes for a successful meeting. Our diners reported in 2019 that it is “still the best place for a power breakfast” echoing the report in 2017 that is was “like a Who’s Who of the FTSE100!”
The beauty of the Harden’s guide is that its opinions echo the experience real diners had, not those of professional critics. That’s why The Daily Telegraph named us the “Foodie’s Bible”. If you’re looking to impress in business, count on us for the inside track on the best places to entertain.
See the full list of places rated highly for a business lunch on our Harden’s app (and what’s around the corner when you need to pick somewhere in a hurry) here.