A friend recently asked us where she could take a friend who was getting married as a treat for lunch in London. She wanted somewhere with a great room that wasn’t too tiny and with a lively atmosphere, great food (obviously) and something that felt special, but without a huge bill at the end of it. We gave her these recommendations on the basis that some are new, some are classics, but all come with a great lunch option showcasing the best from the menu at an affordable price. These are our top 5 pics if you are taking someone out for a lunch treat in London:
1. Berners Tavern – Fitzrovia
We love the grandeur of this room in Berners Tavern, with the beautiful ceiling and the walls full of (mock!) paintings and a gorgeous bar. With Jason Atherton at the helm it’s a very British menu with lots of hearty dishes and some fun seafood options. The room is very large although still buzzy. It’s also great for breakfast when the room is full of enthusiastic business meetings and glamorous hotel guests (very good avocado on toast with poached eggs).
Our lunch favourites:
- Lobster and prawn roll in brioche with fries (£16);
- Mac & Cheese with braised ox cheek, with a brioche and bone marrow crumble (£20); or
- the Sunday roast with all the trimmings (£22.50)
Full menu here
Fera at Claridges – set 3 course lunch for £30
Although Fera is a Michelin starred restaurant situated in one of London’s most prestigious 5 star hotels, it somehow avoids the uncomfortable stuffy pretentiousness that you would expect. The £30 set lunch menu is a dream for those who want a special treat without breaking the bank. Read our full review from November here.
Set lunch menu and a la carte option here.
3. Chotto Matte – Soho
We love a culinary fusion and one of our favourites is this mix of Japanese and Peruvian food. In the evening Chotto Matte is dark, loud and really good fun. During the day, although a bit quieter, it is a great pick for something a bit different. We love the bento box options for lunch that showcase their signature dishes. The salmon one for example, for less than £19, comes with a quinoa salad, a sea bass ceviche, spicy vegetable donburi, the salmon with purple potato puree and lots of sushi rolls. It’s a great choice for those who like to try new cuisines and aren’t going for traditional Japanese. There’s also a great pre-theatre menu for £25.
4. Balthazar – Covent Garden
We love this London-based outpost of the New York classic brasserie. It’s in the heart of Covent Garden and would be an impressive location for any special lunch date. The French brasserie decor (lots of red and gold!) is quite credibly art deco considering that it’s only a couple of years old. Our favourite lunch picks include:
- the Onion soup (can’t go wrong);
- the Balthazar steak frites; or
- the bouillabaise if it’s available as the dish of the day.
Do NOT miss the raspberry soufflé for dessert!
Full lunch menu here
5. Nobu – Park Lane or Berkeley
Our last pick is the Japanese classic, Nobu, but we’ve continued to take advantage of it for years due to their phenomenal lunch bento box for £38.
The box is a pretty hefty serving for one, and comes with:
- miso soup;
- sashimi salad with Matsuhisa dressing;
- assorted sushi;
- rock shrimp tempura with ponzu sauce
- a generous portion of their signature black cod in miso; and
- spicy vegetables with garlic rice.
It’s always a winner and whether you choose the Park Lane classic Nobu or the newer (slightly livelier) Berkeley Square base, it’s a great option for the best of Nobu at an affordable price for a special treat.
OK… we’re hungry now! Enjoy.