As one of the oldest parts of London, the City is full of old-fashioned British restaurants, including the oldest chophouse in town, but over the years kitchens offering a more modern take on our native cuisine have joined the ranks. These are our favourites.
Meat dominates at this gastropub, especially during game season when daily specials like partridge, teal and grouse appear on the menu, as does their namesake jugged hare dish. The rest of the time you can find chicken and suckling pig cooked on a rotisserie and Cumbrian Shorthorn steaks on the grill, though they do have a handful of fish dishes too for the non-carnivores out there.
Hawksmoor is known as one of the best steak restaurants in London and the Guildhall branch has a historical connection in this area, as it’s located very near to the site of one of the world’s first steakhouses, which would have been in operation at the start of the 18th century. This Hawksmoor also does breakfast, with a meaty platter and steak and eggs being the best way to start the day, and there are sharing menus for when you want something a bit special for dinner.
Part of Jason Atherton’s Social family of restaurants, City Social is unapologetically swanky with art deco interiors and amazing views of the city’s skyscrapers. The food is a mix of British and Asian influences, so dishes like pig trotter & ham hock with crispy Lancashire black pudding and Newlyn cod with spicy ponzu, bok choi and miso aioli sit alongside each other on the menu. The extensive drinks list means it’s worth sticking around for a cocktail, especially when you’ve got those views to look at.
Along with their restaurant in Fitzrovia, Mac & Wild also showcase their Scottish produce at their site in the City. The award-winning Veni-Moo burger is present and correct as are their venison and beef steaks, grouse and haggis, and a fantastic selection of whisky. You can even get in on the hunting action yourself in their Gun Room, which boasts a state-of-the-art virtual shooting system, pine trees and plenty of tweed.
Michelin-starred Angler is the place to go for seafood in the City. Executive Chef Gary Foulkes showcases the best that British waters have to offer with produce from Orkney, Cornwall, Devon and Dorset all well represented. The five and eight course tasting menus are great for a celebratory occasion, though the restaurant’s location at the top of the South Place Hotel already makes it feel special.
The South Place Chop House is another of the South Place Hotel’s in-house restaurants and naturally for a chop house, the focus is on hearty British fare with craft beer and punchy wines complementing the food. Meat is the focus with steaks, lamb, pork and chicken all getting the josper grill treatment and they do a cracking Sunday roast too where you can also build your own bespoke Bloody Mary or opt for unlimited wine.
The Kitty Hawk is an all-day one-stop shop for food and drink. Inside, where it’s highly stylised (lots of polished industrial design touches), there are four separate spaces. A bar, which also serves small plates and sharing boards; a restaurant, with a mix of classics like steaks, burgers and stargazy pie and European dishes; a back room wine bar, which in the evening stocks a mix of old and new world wines sourced from local merchants and serves cheese and charcuterie, with coffees, juices and pastries available during the day; and a must for the City, a private dining room that’s perfect for entertaining.
Duck & Waffle may be known for being open 24 hours a day and for having some of the best views over the city (that’s the advantage of being on the 40th floor) but it also serves up a playful spin on British-European food, like celeriac carbonara with pancetta cream and truffle, spicy ox cheek doughnut with apricot jam and paprika sugar, and their signature crispy confit duck & waffle. The cocktail menu is just as inventive, showcasing the flavour profiles of single ingredients.
Housed in an old bank, itself a stone’s throw away from the Bank of England, The Mercer has a sense of elegance that befits its grand surroundings. The menu is resolutely classic too, featuring pies, grills and daily specials including corned beef hash, Barnsley chop and fish of the day, and there’s also a savouries and cheeses (British, of course) section should you not want to end on something sweet. The 400-strong wine list means you’re well covered in terms of drinks too.
Established in 1757, Simpson’s Tavern can lay claim to being the oldest chophouse in London with Charles Dickens and Samuel Pepys amongst the clientele. That history is immediately apparent thanks to its stalls seating and old-fashioned menu. Grills are a big feature, as you’d expect from a chop house, with pies, Lancashire hotpot and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding amongst the daily specials.