Hop from one edible masterpiece to the next by checking out these superstar-chef eateries on your next trip to London.
Rochelle Canteen, London
Cafe, Restaurant, European, British, Street Food
Dinner cooked by renowned British chefs in a candlelit old school bike shed – this is unique, as London dining experiences go. Rochelle Canteen is headed by Margot Henderson of French House fame, who steers clear of modern trends, such as foam and molecular cooking, to focus on the simplicity of the seasonal ingredients she uses. The grilled harissa quail is a must, and the fact that you’re eating it in a cosy, refitted shed only adds to the ambience. Recommended by local insider Josh Lee
As a chef who has earned 31 Michelin stars throughout his life, you would expect the food that Joël Robuchon serves in his restaurants to be of the highest quality, and you would be right. The menu at the Covent Garden branch draws on European and Japanese flavours peppered with French delicacies like truffle and foie gras. Though you can eat at the counter downstairs, head to the first floor dining area for a more memorable experience.
Feeling glamorous? Fitzrovia’s Berners Tavern, overseen by Michelin-star chef Jason Atherton, can certainly provide in this department. Grand chandeliers, walls adorned with paintings and perhaps a famous face or two to greet you as you walk into the atmospherically lit dining room. You’re there to eat, but also to see and be seen. Menu-wise, Berners Tavern offers British classics done beautifully – favourites such as roasted lemon sole, slow-cooked Herdwick lamb and even fish and chips all feature, alongside a selection of intensely flavoursome, grass-fed Scottish steaks.
Acclaimed chef Skye Gyngell heads up the produce-driven, zero-waste Spring, based in Somerset House’s elegant conservatory and drawing room. You’ll find the slow food philosophy that first earned her a Michelin star weaved through seasonal dishes, elevating the fresh, British produce at its heart. The £25 pre-theatre scratch menu is a great way to experience this restaurant on a budget. Each day, the kitchen team creates an original set menu to use up food that would otherwise go to waste, so you can experience top-quality British fare while doing your bit for the environment. Recommended by local insiders Josh Lee and Alyson Parkes
Jason Atherton’s pièce de résistance Pollen Street Social is slick and smart, giving you full-on Michelin vibes from the moment you walk in the door. Buzzy, shiny and well-lit, it’s everything you expect a restaurant serving innovative, delicious food to be. Lunch is a great deal, with three courses for £37. Go for a pudding and have it at the dessert bar, where the pastry chefs will whip it up before your very eyes – so you’re getting an experience for your money as well as what’s on your plate.
Fergus Henderson’s no-frills restaurant has been credited with sparking the nose-to-tail eating movement by making offcuts fancy. Sadly, despite the fact that offal and other under appreciated cuts of meat are cheap, the menu at St Johns isn’t. If you bypass the restaurant and instead opt for a light supper in the bar, however, many of the dishes on the menu come in under a tenner. Just don’t splash out on some of the pricier wines and you’ll be set.
Having worked in Scandinavia’s most sustainable kitchen, Noma, chef Doug McMaster knows a thing or two about sustainable eating, which he’s translated to his zero-waste Hackney-based restaurant, Silo. Utilising a pre-industrial food waste system, Silo strips production back to basics while keeping its food anything but. Both the à la carte and six-course tasting menu offer plant or omnivore options and change daily, featuring dishes like braised Friesian dairy cow with parsnip and peppercorn to rosalba radicchio and brown crab. Meanwhile, bread is served from the on-site mill, drinks are fermented in the on-site brewery, and there’s a biodynamic wine selection from Sussex. As for the menus, you’ll find them projected onto the walls of the upcycled space.
Bar, Restaurant, European, Contemporary, British, $$$
As a social working space with a bar and restaurant, Forge & Co is the perfect place for a working lunch. The food offering, created by chef Timothy Brindley who has spent time at The Ivy, is modern British but served in a casual fashion. There are salads, sandwiches and burgers for the times you can’t take a long break or more substantial grill dishes, like spatchcock poussin with spring greens and ribeye steak and fries, for the times when you can linger over your emails.
Popolo may be small – just 12 seats at the kitchen counter with actual tables upstairs – but it’s perfectly formed. The menu, designed to be shared, draws inspiration from all over Italy with some Spanish and Moorish influences thrown in for good measure. This means dishes like labneh with fried olives and scallops with lentils sit alongside excellent pastas and risottos. Co-owner and chef Jon Lawson trained under Theo Randall, so you know the cooking is top-notch.