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From new openings to old friends, London’s dining scene is as exciting as ever. While we do love cooking at home, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t also love eating out at a restaurant and enjoying both the food and ambience of dining out.

Full of both trusty chain restaurants and independent spots, perhaps you’ll know some of the restaurants listed here – or maybe there’ll be some hidden gems you’ll be sure to add to your list. While most of us are seasoned brunch-ers in this city, there are a variety of cuisines that are certainly underrated and well-deserving of a shout-out here.

So if you’re looking for a new restaurant or two to add to your list for 2024 – or if you are happy to be reassured that some old friends are still solid favourites, continue reading for your food fix below.

Best restaurants to book in London

Tandis, Finchley Road

Try Iranian cuisine in London at Tandis Persian Restaurant

One that might not be on your radar but certainly should is Tandis. Previously located in Haverstock Hill, the restaurant moved to Finchley Road some five years ago now – but we’re here to tell you that the same great taste remains. While it may not be as well known as other Persian restaurants more centrally-located, this is our Persian food editor’s family favourite and we’re here to guide you through the best dishes to order, should you (and you should) make your own reservation soon.

All Persian meals must start off with tearing the flatbread (usually lavash, taftoon) and scooping up thick lashings of the creamy mast-o musir (yoghurt dip with shallots). Other starters we’d recommend include the traditional tahdig (crispy rice from the rice cooker or bottom of the pan) topped with either gormeh sabzi (Persian lamb and herb stew) or gheymeh (lamb and split pea stew). If it’s your first time dining here – or at any Persian restaurant – kebab is the main event. You can choose from koobideh (minced lamb), barg (lamb fillet), jujeh (chicken) or shishlik (lamb chops) – all accompanied by saffron rice, a grilled tomato and salad.

However, if you’re a seasoned Persian diner – or just fancy trying something different – the khoreshts (stews) and rice dishes are so delicious and not to be missed. There’s plenty to choose from – but top dishes include fesenjan (pomegranate and walnut chicken stew) and zereshk polo (rice with barberries and braised chicken). Oh, and every Persian meal finishes with black tea and baklava – enjoy.

Tandisrestaurant.com

Umu, Mayfair

Umu restaurant in Mayfair has already been our Japanese highlight of 2024

Might we have just found our favourite Japanese restaurant in London? We’re ashamed to say it isn’t even a new opening, as Umu has been tucked away in a quiet corner of Mayfair for 20 years – but we’re certainly glad this hidden gem is on our radar now. From its discreet entrance to its elegantly simple dining room, Umu offers diners a Kyoto kaiseki experience, paired with impeccable service.

The Michelin starred spot immediately instigated a sense of calm as soon as you walked through the door – while the recommended sake (a light, floral style) went down a treat as we sipped alongside the first course of turbot carpaccio, as well as sea bass, lobster, chutoro (fatty tuna), scallop and yellowtail (my personal favourite) sashimi. Everything had a distinct freshness to it, with the accompanying soy sauce simply enhancing the existing flavour – as opposed to point blank adding it or even (this has happened at a few restaurants) masking the original taste of the fish.

The tempura selection was fantastic – with both lobster and mushroom proving both fish lovers and vegetarians would have an equally enjoyable experience at Umu – while the grilled turbot was plated up so simply but was so satisfying to both the tastebuds and the tummy. The star of the show? The nigiri selection was flawless. Both the toro topped with padron pepper and red mullet with bottarga excelled, while the langoustine and scallop gunkan varieties were also fantastic. The soy sauce, with lemon and lime juice and chives, was a great addition, too.

Those with a sweet tooth can round the meal off with the Mayfair Garden dessert; Japanese seasonal tiramisu with matcha green tea and a pourable Ginjo sake (my kind of pudding, this), as well as other seasonal sweet treats available.

Umurestaurant.com

Marlowe, Shoreditch

new restaurant london montcalm east marlowe
Marlowe is the new restaurant in the Montcalm East hotel

New to the Montcalm East hotel by Old Street station is Marlowe. Inspired by legendary playwright, Christopher Marlowe, the restaurant pays homage to the vibrant history and diversity of the city. The bar staff make a mean amaretto sour cocktail which is great for sipping as you peruse the menu. The cured trout with pickled cucumber and ham hock and chicken terrine with cranberry relish both make great starters – both packed with good flavour.

For the main course, the slow cooked pork belly with baby gem, tomato and brioche was a standout – although we’d prefer either a less sweet tomato sauce or adding more of a fiery kick – and while the beef cheek and bone marrow flatbread was tasty, we wouldn’t personally class it as a flatbread (as is phrased on the menu). For desserts, opt for the pavlova which was the perfect sweet treat to finish – and make sure you sit by the window for some satisfactory London traffic-watching.

Marlowelondon.com

Hithe + Seek, Bankside

hithe seek hannah crosbie small plates wine pairings menu london
Catch Hannah Crosbie x Hithe + Seek until 2nd March

Stylish bar and kitchen Hithe + Seek has joined forces with wine conoisseur Hannah Crosbie for this limited edition menu of small plates and pairings. Available Tuesday to Saturday until 2nd Mach, the menu features six tasting-menu sharing plates, accompanied by matching wines. For just £99, this also includes a fruity aperitf cocktail with which to kick things off.

Themed around stages of love – or romantic encounters, should we say – this menu featured a variety of dishes, with excellent wines. Our favourites included the ‘Catfish’ which was, in fact, torched king oyster mushroom ‘scallops’ with oyster leaf and parsip purée, paired with a fresh but mellow Taittinger Nocturne Sec NV – while the ‘My-Type-On-Paper’ (langoustine and smoked cheese risotto with citrus bisque foam) was the ultimate decadent comfort dish and the New Zealand Pinot Gris was our favourite wine of the evening. The chilli and mango mousse, hidden in a dark chocolate sphere was perfectly seductive as ‘The Ex’ to end the meal – we would definiely deliberate going back to that one, to be fair.

Vavasour, Pinot Gris; Awatere Valley, New Zealand

Hitheandseek.com

Lusin, Mayfair

Have you tried Armenian food? Another lesser-known cuisine of the Middle Eastern region, Lusin is actually the first Armenian restaurant to arrive in Mayfair’s hotspot of fine dining restaurants. The restaurant itself is as beautiful as you’d expect – and the menu is packed full of traditional dishes. Lusin’s signature aubergine rolls are stuffed with walnut and whipped cheese – and make for a great starter – as does the hummus topped with cubes of wagyu beef.

Also not to be missed are the kibbeh and sujuc (Armenian sausage) rolls. The restaurant’s specialties include a deliciously slow braised lamb shank, served with rice, the classic meat-stuffed manti and the signature dish: the cherry lamb kebab. While Lusin’s famous rose-flavoured ice cream with candy floss is popular across social media, we were more taken with the honey cake, which features layers of honey biscuits and cream and served with actual honey comb.

Lusinrestaurant.com

Fish Game, Wood Wharf

fish game roberto costa london restaurant macellaio rc

A charcoal grill restaurant, Fish Game prides itself on serving up a menu full of sustainable British ingredients, with a particular focus on game and fish. Founder Roberto Costa is known for his mouthwatering steak restaurant, Macellaio RC, so while we were increasingly tempted by the charcoaled beef ribeye, we wanted to try alternative dishes, that the new restaurant was more known for.

Starting things off with the chargrilled squid, with fermented chilli and fried cavolo nero – this was a dish we could have eaten on repeat, all night.Packed full of flavour, it set a very high standard from the get-go. The chilli lime-marinated, chargrilled octopus and bone marrow with butter chilli sauce was rich was delicious, nonetheless, and the steak tartare was not only tasty but made at the table, providing a little bit of dinner theatre, for those who enjoy it. The sweet and sour mallard was the perfect blend of flavours but the star of the show had to be the grilled Cornish monkfish, served simply with rosemary, lime and Maldon salt – and it was perfection.

Fishgamerestaurant.co.uk

Caravan, Covent Garden

An oldie but a goodie, Caravan is the OG brunch spot in London. With its renowned dishes remaining on the menu – such as the jalapeno cornbread with chorizo, it’s clear why this is a restaurant that has withstood the test of time. It’s latest location is in the heart of Covent Garden – and this spacious spot proves its popularity, as it is constantly packed full of brunchers.

The fried rice bowl with greens, a fried egg, kimchi mayonnaise, sambal, crispy shallots, peanuts and coriander was elevated with additional crispy tofu and halloumi – and the hazelnut chocolate and poached strawberry french toast with candied hazelnut was a delicious sweet treat with which to finish. The buttermilk fried chicken could have potentially done with a scallion pancake, rather than a classic one – but was delicious, nonetheless – and we experimented with hard juices by adding mezcal to our green juice. 10/10 would recommend.

Caravanandco.com

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, Shoreditch (and other locations)

sticks sushi london shoreditch restaurant
Sticks ‘n’ Sushi has opened its latest London location, in Shoreditch

What was once a boutique-style restaurant in London has now grown to a huge chain that appears to be in every corner of the city – but we’re glad to report that quantity hasn’t compromised the quality at Sticks ‘n’ Sushi. The Shoreditch location features the same menu as the other restaurants so veterans can expect the same famous ebi bites (tempua shrimp), grilled edamame, sushi selection and yakitori sticks. Not to be missed are the scallop ceviche, scallops in kataifi batter with trout roe and the seared nigiris (not everywhere does these).

Sushi-wise, if you’re not opting for the mini maki maki (which includes highlight rolls such as the tuna, avocado and tempura shrimp Hells Kitchen and the seared salmon and snow pea Shake Aioli), there’s a miso marinated black cod futomaki and spicy tuna roll that never disappoint, either. Don’t forget to leave room for the sticks, with top choices including the beef with herb butter, miso marinated black cod, cheese wrapped in bacon, grilled shrimp and much more. If you’re worried about not fitting in dessert, don’t worry – Sticks ‘n’ Sushi follows Japanese protocol, where just a small sweet treat is necessary to finish the meal.

Sticksnsushi.com

El Rancho de Lalo, Brixton

Get your Colombian food fix a El Rancho De Lalo restaurant

Brixton is home to El Rancho De Lalo – a Colombian restaurant which offers up canteen-style food. A family-run restaurant, there’s certainly a laidback and authentic ambience to this eatery. The chicharon (crispy cubes of pork belly) and the empanadas stole the show out of the starters – particularly when dipped in some tangy salsa – while the mains featured a variety of grilled meats, with our personal favourite being the whole grilled fish. We’ll be heading back on weekends, when a more extensive menu is served.

Instagram.com/elranchodelalo

Hotel openings are second to none in London – fitting for a city that attracts the millions of tourists that the UK capital does. Arriving in the West End at the end of 2022, Hotel Amano Covent Garden has firmly cemented itself as a trendy spot to stay when in the city and comes complete with contemporary interiors and a moody ambience.

Complete with its own immersive restaurant – plus a rooftop bar, which offers gorgeous London views, Hotel Amano has good reason to be on your radar the next time you book somewhere to stay in the capital. From the gorgeous gold bathtub (which has no doubt graced your feeds on Instagram and TikTok) to the brass chandeliers and risqué artwork, if you’re not already convinced, continue reading to see why you should stay in this hotel during your next trip to London.

Amano Covent Garden
Why not book Hotel Amano in Covent Garden for your next trip to London?

Hotel rooms at Amano

There’s a large selection of room types at Hotel Amano, meaning whether you’re looking for a snug space to stay overnight or more space for a longer trip, this boutique hotel can cater to everyone’s needs. From ‘cosy’ and ‘comfy’ rooms to ‘roomy’ and ‘roomy plus’, whatever your preferred bed size, Hotel Amano has you covered. For anyone looking for an extra air of luxury added to your trip, the ‘goldy’ is an essential booking – as there’s nothing quite as aesthetically pleasing and opulent as a gold bathtub and shower.

Amanogroup.com

Food and drink at Amano

Penelope’s

An Israeli-Spanish fusion restaurant, Penelope’s serves up innovative dishes for its diners. With an extensive cocktail and wine list, the premium plates we recommend would have to include the nduja pork belly and the black challa calamari (this might be the tastiest calamari we’ve had in London). The beef short rib is an excellent main course – while the ‘seafood on fire’ makes for an impressive dish if you’re looking for some dinner theatre.

hotel amano penelopes restaurant food dinner
Penelope’s at Hotel Amano offers dinner and a show

Speaking of dinner and a show, Penelope’s is known for its sophisticated decor, which provides a glamorous ambience. As well as contemporary dishes, the dining experience itself is immersive – particularly come the weekend, when the restaurant hosts its famous Isramani nights. You’ve not been to a dinner party like it, with sparkler-garnished cocktails, shots straight from the bottle and belly dancers galore.

Amanogroup.com

Amano Rooftop Bar

London knows a thing or two about a rooftop bar – and the terrace at Hotel Amano Covent Garden offers a gorgeous skyline view as you sit back and sip a cocktail. A unique panorama of the city, it’s the perfect place for an aperitif or post-dinner drinks. For anyone who needs a snack with their drink (our hands are raised), there’s a selection of bar bites available (coming from the kitchen at Penelope’s) so you can enjoy that gorgeous black challah calamari alongside your cocktail.

hotel amano rooftop bar london
Hotel Amano also has a hidden rooftop terrace bar

Overall, Hotel Amano is perfectly located the for typical tourists or travellers visiting London. In the heart of the West End, the hotel is just a five-minute walk from Covent Garden tube station (seven minutes from Holborn and 10 minutes from Temple). In addition to good transport links, guests will find themselves literally next door to attractions such as the Lyceum Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the London Transport Museum and a short stroll from Leicester Square. If Penelope’s isn’t the preferred dining choice, guests are spoiled for choice with restaurants and bars in the West End.

The hotel is a small boutique style – so if you’re looking for somewhere with a spa, gym and the whole works, Hotel Amano might not be for you. However, what this hotel does deliver is gorgeous decor, comfortable beds in stylish rooms, good food and a rooftop bar – on the doorstep of one of the most popular areas of London. So, what are you waiting for?

Book your stay at Hotel Amano here

With exactly one week until the big day itself, it’s time to spread some festive cheer and what better way to spend a Christmas day out than in London? If you’ve got a day off or are planning one final weekend visit to London before Christmas Day itself, we’ve planned the perfect day filled of festive things to do in London.

London is a fantastic city but with so much going on, it can be overwhelming to map out a plan of things to do – especially at such a busy time of the year. With spots to hit on your solo festive date or with friends, family and the kids, we’ve certainly narrowed down a fun day out.

From wandering around streets adorned with some pretty spectacular Christmas decorations to enjoying a festive meal (be it at your favourite restaurant or bringing that restaurant home with you), we’ve got you and your family covered. Whether you’re looking forward to festive food and drink or being pampered for your final Christmas party, one thing is for certain: you’ll certainly be getting into the holiday spirit while following the itinerary we’ve carved out for you below.

Christmas coffee with Benugo

festive things to do in London
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a festive coffee or hot chocolate

Take a stroll around London and take in the festivities of the city when crowds are (possibly) a little less intense. Grab a Christmas coffee from your nearest Benugo and wander around the city’s hotspots for Christmas lights, such as New Bond Street, the Regent Street angels, Carnaby Street, Trafalgar Square and many more areas. Our heads were definitely turned by the apple crumble latte but a winter spiced hot chocolate also never fails.

London pamper day at Christmas

festive hair duck dry london salon party updo
Achieve fuss-free festive chic with your hair, courtesy of Duck and Dry

Why not stop by Duck and Dry for a festive blowout or a new set of nails? Whether you want a bouncy blow-dry to match your mood or are looking for either a sparkly seasonal or cute candy cane manicure, this central London salon has you covered.

If you’re looking to get ready for party season with a stylish updo, you’ll be glad to know that the hairstyle is no longer just for weddings and more serious occasions, with them being a solid choice if you’re looking to show off some backless dress design – or, indeed, brave the glorious winter weather we’re graced with in the UK. At Duck and Dry, you can choose from the Top Kot, Ooh La La or Ducktail to add some festive glamour to your look – whenever the party may be.

duckanddry.com

Christmas lunch at Sushisamba

sushisamba things festive london lunch restaurant
Enjoy a festive feast at Sushisamba for lunch in London

Christmas has arrived at both the Heron Tower and Covent Garden locations of Sushisamba in London, with guests able to immerse themselves in what the restaurant has coined Sambazonia – a spectacularly festive experience. Whether you’re opting to sample the Festive Taste of Samba menu, which features a selection of seasonal specials – from arroz de lagosta (with a whole lobster) to a Samba Kaiseki platter – miso-ginger cured salmon, seared yellowtail with truffle and more – and Japanese wagyu maki. Of course, Sushisamba’s winter terrace is open for aperitif or digestif cocktails in the heart of the Covent Garden piazza, too.

sushisamba.com

Christmas at Winter Wonderland

winter wonderland christmas london festive fun
A visit to Winter Wonderland is only custom at Christmas

Yes, yes, we know it’s nothing new but if you’re heading to London for Christmas, a trip to Hyde park’s magical winterland is a classic choice. If you go in the daytime, you’ll find less crowds – plus, if you’re going to have a wander around with a hot chocolate or mulled wine, there’s probably not much more of a festive spot to do so. An off-peak ticket will cost you just £5, which isn’t too bad as far as activities go in the city – but be mindful that certain attractions (including ice rinks, the circus and a giant wheel) inside will require their own booking and come at an additional cost.

hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

Christmas Dinner with Côte

cote home christmas feast new years eve steak turkey lobster
Sack off busy London reservations in favour of a festive feast at home with Côte

Making a reservation for dinner during the festive period can be more headache than it’s worth – so why not invite a few close pals over for a dinner party at yours? While Côte’s festive feast boxes are no longer bookable for Christmas, there are the New Year’s Eve menus still available so you can cook up a storm that will bring about full smiles and tummies across the board.

We thoroughly enjoyed the classic Christmas turkey, indulgent chateaubriand and vegetarian butternut squash and goat’s cheese pithivier with all the trimmings included, too. Proving that there is a good feeling to be had about the New Year’s Eve offerings, these include the likes of beef wellington, côte de boeuf, lobster and much more.

coteathome.co.uk

The best London restaurants offer a culinary journey through diverse flavors, from traditional British fare to innovative international cuisine. Whether you’re seeking Michelin-starred elegance or trendy street food, the best London restaurants cater to every palate and occasion. Don’t miss the chance to experience the vibrant dining scene that makes these establishments stand out. As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve you want to be celebrating somewhere in style.  Here’s our roundup of the best restaurants in London to see in the New Year.

Best London Restaurants

A Unique German Festive Experience

German Gymnasium, is set to treat visitors with a uniquely German festive experience, inside their iconic Grade ll listed restaurant. Nestled in the heart of King’s Cross, with its rich history and distinctive interiors, it captures the very essence of German traditions.

For a truly German New Year’s Eve affair, guests can treat themselves to the set menu in the Restaurant. With 8 courses of local favourite dishes such as Seeteufel Rauchmantel, Letscho – (Monkfish, Tyrolean speck, rustic tomato & paprika sauce) or Kalbsroulade, Steinpilzfüllung, Serviettenknödel, Schwarze Nüsse – (Veal roulade with cep stuffing, red cabbage, poached bread dumpling & pickled walnuts), this menu will see the year out with a bang.

Looking for the perfect spot to welcome the New Year in London? Check out our restaurant ideas, offering a delightful mix of flavors and a festive atmosphere for a memorable celebration with friends and family.

A Vintage New Year’s Eve

This festive season, Quaglino’s, the renowned restaurant in the heart of St James’s, has delved into the allure of the Prohibition era, bringing guests a delicious menu specially crafted for an enchanting New Year’s Eve celebration.

Step back in time and welcome in the New Year with an unforgettable prohibition-style party. The evening will commence with dinner service at 5:30pm (with two seating options available), with the celebrations running into the early hours. Guests are encouraged to embrace the vintage flair of the 1920s with music from the Brooklyn Shakers and by dressing in 1920s attire.

A New Year’s Extravaganza by the Riverside

Get ready for an extravagant New Year’s Eve celebration at Skylon with magnificent views of the River Thames, a live performance by ‘The Revellers’ and a seven-course tasting menu designed to keep guests entertained to the stroke of midnight. The evening kicks off with a celebratory welcome Chambord Kir Royale, setting the stage for a lavish night. For those seated in the River View area, there’s a chance to catch a glimpse of the Mayor’s fireworks display, with the option for all guests to head down to the South Bank* for an up-close view. Skylon offers two options for the evening: the Early Bird Dinner, a three-course feast for £125pp, available from 5:30pm to 7pm, and the New Year’s Eve Main Event, priced at £375pp. The New Year’s menu features seven-courses showcasing mouthwatering morsels such as BBQ lobster, Heirloom beetroot, and a delicious trio of duck. The festivities receive an extra boost with a pre-dessert gin and tonic sorbet. When the clock strikes midnight, the fireworks display will light up the London skyline, providing a breathtaking backdrop to the New Year’s celebration. It’s an evening of live music, indulgent dining, and fantastic views – an incredible way to welcome the New Year in London’s prime riverside spot.

(*Weather and security allowing, as organised by South Bank)

A New Year’s Sky-High Celebration

At 14 Hills, guests are invited to reserve their tables for a grand New Year’s celebration, waving goodbye to 2023. Whether seeking a lively party or a memorable dining experience, 14 Hills offers the perfect choice. Indulge in an unforgettable evening with panoramic views of London, exceptional cuisine, dancing, dazzling entertainment, and a resident DJ, all set 14 floors above the City. For early seating between 5:30 pm-7:30 pm, you can enjoy a meticulously crafted Five-Course Tasting Menu priced at £90pp, accompanied by an optional wine pairing at £65. The menu features delights such as Lobster, Langoustine bisque, kohlrabi, blood orange, and Fillet of beef Rossini with wild mushroom and Périgourdine sauce. For the entire evening, 7:15 pm-22:00 pm, the indulgence continues with a Six-Course Tasting Menu priced at £140pp, accompanied by an optional wine pairing at £95pp. This extended menu includes additions such as Scottish halibut, scallop chou farci, caviar fish velouté. As the night unfolds, guests can end the night on a sweet note, with the Valrhona chocolate marquise, yuzu, honeycomb, and sesame.

Celebrate New Year’s in the Heart of Battersea Power Station

Nestled in the historic Battersea Power Station, Fiume extends a warm invitation to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. Guests can bid farewell to 2023 with a crafted four-course menu, priced at £85pp, complimented by a glass of bubbles to set the festive tone. Prepare for an exceptional dining experience featuring dishes that include succulent Beef tartare, Lobster linguine, Roast duck breast or Poached monkfish, and a velvety Chocolate mousse. Fiume is collaborating with Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto this festive season for a delicious cocktail menu. Guests can immerse themselves in the spirit of the season with the Grande Eleganza, a delightful blend of Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto, Malfy Gin Originale, Smoked Rosemary Aroma, Lime Juice, Mediterranean Tonic, Sugar Syrup, finished with a sprig of rosemary. See in 2024 with an Italicus Spritz, a perfect fusion of Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto, Prosecco, Soda, and Lemon. The festive cocktail menu also includes the Itoddycus, Negroni Bianco, and Salute!, each offering a unique and delightful combination of flavours. After dinner and cocktails, guests will be only be a short walk from the iconic Battersea Park firework show. A visit to Fiume is not to be missed.

A New Year’s Night to Remember

Embracing the allure of Mayfair, Sartoria invites guests to welcome 2024 with a grand Italian feast priced at £150pp. The journey kicks off with a glass of Franciacorta and a delicious amuse-bouche. The evening features dishes such as a fresh lobster salad, artfully presented in a catalana style with caviar, and an exquisite Burrata Tortelli, generously infused with truffle and grana padano. The star of the night, Black Cod, takes centre stage, accompanied by Tropea onion and liquorice, promising a harmonious blend of flavours. Concluding this feast is a Chocolate cake paired with passionfruit mango sorbet, ensuring a sweet send-off to the year. Over the winter season, Sartoria is partnering with Cambridge Distillery to create a new menu focusing on their Cambridge Truffle Gin, adding a touch of decadence to the festivities. Guests can indulge in truffle-infused cocktails like the Truffle Vesper, Truffle Negroni, Truffle Margarita, and Truffle Bellini.

Spend This Festive Season in Luxury at The Royal Horseguards Hotel

For those looking for the ultimate festive experience, The Royal Horseguards Hotel is offering a luxury New Year’s Eve menu providing guests with the most opulent black-tie experience. Dinner at One Whitehall Place includes a selection of canapes to start, steamed halibut with keta caviar or a pan-fried fillet of beef in Madeira juice with raspberry sorbet or peach puree to refresh. From 7 pm – 2 am, from £450 per person

Embrace the enchanting spirit of the season and enjoy iconic views of London by indulging in a cherished English tradition: the delightful experience of afternoon tea at TĪNG Restaurant and Lounge by Shangri-La, featuring Seasonal Sips. A recent visit to TĪNG by our House of Coco couple, Eulanda and Omo Osagiede inspired a festive mood and left indelible impressions.

A Time-Honoured Tradition With a Festive Flair

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and what better way to usher in the festive season than to enjoy the revered English tradition of afternoon tea at one of London’s most iconic restaurants and hotels?

The time-honoured ritual of English afternoon tea gets a touch of elegance when combined with the excellent service and hospitality of the world-renowned Shangri-La brand. The modern connoisseur can expect to enjoy a selection of hand-crafted sandwiches and pastries and an impressive collection of curated teas served with traditional elements such as a three-tiered serving tray, delicate tea cups and glistening utensils.

The annual experience of Christmas at Shangri-La saw us step into a beautiful winter-themed wonderland from the ground floor reception. We took the lift up to the 35th floor and were welcomed into a world of festive colours and sparkling decorations as we emerged into the warmth of the TĪNG Restaurant and Lounge.

Dispensing with the solemnity of tradition, the decidedly informal but festive setting of the TĪNG Lounge made us feel relaxed and created a mix of curiosity and excitement as we were ushered to our table for our afternoon tea experience. 

Seasonal Sips

Regardless of where you sit at the TĪNG Restaurant, British weather permitting, you can expect to enjoy commanding views of the London skyline including views of the Thames River, the ever-changing architecture of City of London, the London Eye, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf.

If the weather decides to act up, the unique architecture of The Shard means that you will have the unrivalled experience of dining in the clouds, similarities of which are featured in the TĪNG festive afternoon tea presentation.

Seasonal Ingredients and a Tea Adventure

Our experience began with a welcome blackcurrant purée and lemon juice palate cleanser followed by a sparkling glass of Louis Roederer Brut (Vintage 2015) champagne. Cocktails and mocktails are also options on the menu.

Attempting to choose from Shangri-La’s signature teas was where our adventure really began. Their extensive menu includes a range of high-quality black, green, white and herbal teas with delicate flavours and indulgent aromas. We chose a Masala Chai – a spicy and robust brew – and Green Gunpowder, a traditional green tea from the Zhejiang province of China.

The bottom tier of our three-tier serving tray held an assortment of crustless finger sandwiches filled with seasonal and fresh ingredients. Our selection of fillings included roast turkey, smoked salmon and cucumber, roast beef and truffle egg. Each bite into these moist and delicate sandwiches unleashed a range of delightful flavours.

In a slight departure from tradition (scones were served separately) the middle tier featured a savoury chicken and duck liver cherry jel hors d’oeuvre and a mini-burger containing roasted celeriac and confit black garlic.

The top of our tray tier was essentially Christmas on a plate with meticulously crafted miniature treats including a ‘Reindeer Mont Blanc’ made with blackcurrant and chestnut mousse and a ‘Red Bauble’ made with green shiso mousse, grapefruit and black pepper.

The quintessential freshly baked scones arrived after we had finished the tray items and were served with the traditional clotted cream and jam.

Elevated Experience and Impeccable Service

Our favourite and final item was the ‘Festive Shard’ white chocolate treat with a dry ice presentation that elicited the feeling of being amongst the clouds which, given our position on the 35th floor on a cloudy day, we actually were!

To wrap up our TĪNG festive afternoon tea, we dived back into the tea menu and made different selections. We spent the remainder of the time immersed in the views that surrounded us as we sipped our teas.

The entire experience was elevated thanks to the impeccable service provided by the attentive TĪNG Shangri-La staff, who ensured our utmost comfort and enjoyment.

The Festive Skyline Afternoon Tea at the TĪNG Restaurant and Lounge, Shangri-La, is available from 14th November 2023 to 14th January 2024 and is priced at £89, or £99 with a glass of Champagne. Afternoon tea is served between 12:30 and 15:30 on weekdays (Monday to Thursday) and up till 16:00 on weekends (Friday to Sunday). See ting-shangri-la.com/afternoon-tea

Food writer and resident House of Coco chef visits Bossa, London’s hottest new restaurant and takes a Brazilian flavoured trip down memory lane.

My one and only experience of Brazil is that of a second gap year – one taken after university because I really didn’t want to get a proper job (still don’t). It was a magical place, partying in the streets of Lapa, recovering on the beaches of Isla Grande, wandering the shoreline of Rio and discovering the depths of the Pantanal. My memories are plentiful and those that revolve around food, some of my favourite. A staple of rice & beans doused in Farofa and lashings of chilli sauce being my most beloved. The infamous churrasco kick starting my obsession with fire cooking and the out of this world sushi as plentiful as the Cachaca to cater for the huge Japanese community – the largest outside of Japan. I went there with no expectations and left obsessed with rich flavours and dishes that were packed with history as well as deliciousness.

Fast forward a few years and though I am still to make it back, I enjoy voyeuring from a far at the bustling food scene, pawing over the works of Alex Atala and circling each restaurant that appears on the top 50 list – I lust from afar.

When the invite landed in my inbox to visit Bossa, a refined modern reimagination of Brazilian food, I jumped at the chance. Since being on UK soil and lusting after the flavours of Brazil, I had dabbled with some restaurants that claimed to transport me back to that place. Sure, the novelty of seeing a sword of Picanha steaks in the UK was fun but it never quite hit the spot. Was this my chance to sample plates of real Brazilian flavours, fruits plucked from the Amazon, wines still to be discovered by the masses hailing from the southern part of the country, interpretations of pulses and grains not often seen in our dark and dismal land?

Setting the scene – elegant, serene, chic.

Heaving open the heavy wooden door, embossed with brass lettering proudly stating the name Bossa, a Brazilian flag fluttering from flagpole high above. I was greeted by an elegant, chic space, all clean lines and polished finishes where the staff are as perfectly placed as the interiors.

An open kitchen allows diners to watch the brigade work, each chef dedicated to their station, prepping garnish, stirring sauces, seasoning protein with precision and flair. Cleverly positioned tables and countertop dining allowing the spectacle of the kitchen to be enjoyed by restaurant goers as if watching a perfectly executed dance.

Let’s talk drinks – Mojitos, Mezscladinha and a very nice Brazilian Chardonnay.

Our meal started with cocktails –  a Bossa Mojito (because you can always tell the skill of a mixologist via their Mojito)  and a Mezscladinha, a smokey, more grown up version of the Brazilian classic that had left me recovering on those aforementioned beaches many moons ago – the bar (no pun intended) was high, if the kitchen was doing things as spectacularly as the bar, we were in for a treat. Delivered with a flourish from the mixologist himself, an explanation of the flavour profiles within the drinks and a brief chat on his favourite tipple. Personal touches like this removed any potential stuffiness and formality that can so often be found in restaurants of this area.

In a seamless handover, the mixologist paved the way for our maitre’d.  As informative as she is warm, her passion and enthusiasm for the Brazilian wines on offer was palpable. Seeing that both my dining partner and I were fond of a grape juice or two and especially keen on varieties we hadn’t tried before, a trio of bottles were placed on the table to sample including a Brazilian Chardonnay – you heard. Apprehensive at first, I have had far too many buttery, oaky Chard’s thrust upon me in my time. However, this iteration was crisp and full of zest – I assume skipping it’s second fermentation or keeping it to the absolute minimum to ensure low levels of lactic acid and in turn keeping things light as opposed to the thicker Californian chardonnay’s we know and apparently for some, love.

Starting strong – Brazilian inspired starters to set the pace of the meal.

On to the food portion of the piece. We began with a starter of a tapioca, raw cashew nut cream and wild mushrooms. Having seen it described this way on the menu, I was expecting the tapioca served in ‘grain’ format, most likely with the mushrooms running through and a drizzle of the aforementioned cream. However, I was presented with a savoury ‘pancake’ made from the tapioca pearls, swiped with lashings of the cashew nut cream and showered with sauteed wild mushrooms. I am still unsure if you are meant to pick it up like a taco or use the elegant cutlery placed next to you (probably the latter) but taco method I went for and it was sensational. The pancake giving the perfect texture and bite to the topping. This is how to cater for your vegan diners in exciting and innovative ways – anyone who reads my work regularly knows I’m a meat protein led kind of girl but this dish left me perfectly satisfied and allowed my inner carnivore to remain dormant. We also shared sweet potatoes, Coppa, Brazil nut cream, turnip greens  – a dish that doesn’t hide behind ‘cheffy’ techniques but rather showcases good ingredients and proven flavour combinations. There is something bold about a chef that chooses to do this, when the plate landed on the table it looked simple, perhaps too simple but on eating, it quickly became apparent that Chef Nilson Chaves knows exactly what he is doing and his confidence exudes on the plate.

The main event – sensational seabass and a steak I can’t stop thinking about.

For mains – Sea Bass, Delica Pumpkin cream, Okra Vinaigrette and finally allowing that carnivore to come out to play, Grilled Bavette, Beans, Fried Rice, dry banana farofa. As soon as my eyes landed on farofa I was happy.

The sea bass was excellent – the flesh delicately flaking with each touch, the skin crispy and burnished as it should be. The okra prepped to perfection – not a slimy globule in sight – come on, we’re all terrified of it – but instead, holding a firm bite to contrast to the soft flesh of the fish. Both adorning the most heavenly pumpkin cream, thick, unctuous, warming – a marriage of Brazilian flavour with a much-needed dose of autumnal comfort – a very clever dish.

And on to the steak – I can wax lyrical about tapioca and pumpkins but we all know the real reason I’m here. Pink bavette sliced thin, doused with a heady, punchy chimichurri (accompanied by an Opinel steak knife – lovely touch), served with three side dishes of fried rice, beans and and THAT farofa. I was instantly transported back to those restaurants in Brazil where I would take my plate of beans and shovel the dried farofa on top of them, albeit this was a much classier affair. I am yet to try and recreate the banana farofa at home but it is on the list – the sweetness of the fruit sitting along side the salty, toasted cassava flour, hits of chilli popping with every bite. Sprinkling it on the soft red meat like you would a pangrattato on soft pasta – it is sheer heaven and I could have eaten it by the bucket.

Delightful desserts showcasing Brazilian ingredients.

For dessert, egg and coconut custard. For me, there wasn’t enough coconut flavour in this dish – I wanted to be slapped around the face with it, feel like I was drowning in a Pina Colada vibe to end my tropical luncheon, however, the flavours were subtle and the texture interesting. We also sampled a Cupuacu cheesecake – a lovely opportunity to try a native ingredient to Brazil (the national fruit of Brazil if we are getting into it) and a fruit I saw so often when I was there but never really learnt much about it. It’s a chocolatey fruit if you were wondering, that can be made into butter or powder similar to its cacao relative but minus the alkaloids. Both dishes offered a light finish to the meal and I loved that they both championed the produce of Brazil in spades.

As the towel (napkin) was thrown in and we began to brace ourselves for the stark reality of the outside world and leave this heavenly, calm, serene oasis, a shot of house made jalapeno infused tequila was placed in front of us to warm us on our way out. Now I have dabbled in the dark arts of chill infused tequila, but this was something else. A sippable tipple, that builds heat as it trickles down your throat until you get to the point of ‘no way, I absolutely cannot drink that’ but then in a mere moment, you are reaching for more. It is that delicious. We were told the secret is in vacuum packing and fermenting – I would give it a go, but I love my liver too much. And so, 45ml later, I was back where it all began – tipsy, a fire in my throat, sated from fantastic food and in love with the produce of Brazil. Now I just need to find a beach to recover on.

www.bossa.co.uk

Our girl Hannah Tan-Gillies went to Burger & Lobster, a must-visit in every Londoner’s foodie hit-list to try its new burger collab with doughnut specialists Crosstown.

Every Londoner will have countless memories at Burger & Lobster (obviously one of the best restaurants in London) which we think has very much earned its reputation as the most beloved burger (and lobster) joint in town. This holiday season though, Burger & Lobster is taking it up a notch by reimagining its beloved burger with Crosstown doughnut buns? Scandalous? Sinful? Why yes indeed.

Move over chicken and waffles, because this is Team Coco’s newest favourite sweet and savoury combo. The burger combines three succulent beef patties, cripy smoked bacon, tangy blue cheese sauce, sitting in between two delectable Tongan Vanilla Bean Glaze dougnuts from crosstown.

Served with Burger & Lobster’s signature crispy fries and ranch dressing and is available at a very reasonable £20. It launched across all nien Burger & Lobster locations on 25 Octobr and has been changing lives since.

Elsewhere in the menu, we of course sampled all the other Burger & Lobster classics such as the Steamed Lobster, Tabbouleh Salad, Tempura Black Tiger Prawns and the always delicious Chunky Truffle Chips. All regular menu items were unsurprisingly delicious, which just shows why Burger & Lobster has maintained its reputation as one of the most well-loved restaurant chains in town throughout the years. We shall surely be back, many many more times, in the years to come.

Book a table now at Burger & Lobster