London is known for its multicultural features and it can definitely be seen in the dining scene here. While British classics dominate the everyday palate, foods from around the world are not rare to make an appearance, too, and South Asian cuisines, in particular, are favoured, as are Persian dishes, which definitely has something to do with the British imperial past. Luckily, the old world veil is thrown out of the window and a modern, inclusive, contemporary take on everything from culture to cuisine can be truly savoured within the restaurants in London. This busy city is full of driven individuals expecting the best, so the finest restaurants in London do everything they can to impress, even when it comes to casual everyday dining, and that’s something we don’t mind because few places achieve such a well-balanced approach to fine dining that isn’t pompous. Here are five of our picks of restaurants in London during your stay.
Nutshell, is a fantastic modern Iranian restaurant on St Martin’s Lane in central London. It’s located close to Nelson’s column, so it’s very easy to find and a bit more difficult to reach on a bustling Friday or Saturday night when the whole of London seems to be out and about. But we’re ready for a challenge and we encourage you to be as well, because the moment you’re here, it’s oh so worth it.
This innovative yet classy Persian restaurant serves ornate new spins on meze, grills and stovetop deliciousness. Think pearl onions and split chickpeas making a beautiful combo in a khoresht bademjan, while pulverised and strewn feta, crisp shallot, blackcurrant and walnuts meet in a sublime take on baba ganoush. Moreover, the interior of the restaurant follows suit with its beautiful and contemporary chic design, and it definitely inspires a more open-minded approach to convince even the fussiest eaters to try something new. The dishes are beautifully presented, but they don’t feel too overworked, bring about a fantastic balance between laid-back and fine dining.
Continuing our explorations of London restaurants that introduce innovative takes on cuisine from around the world, Paradise is a small, contemporary Sri Lankan food mecca. Both food and drinks, as well as the overall design of the restaurant and the levels of hospitality are directly inspired by the bistros of Colombo and Galle. Paradise brings the essence of modern Sri Lanka to Soho’s legendary Rupert Street strip. Here you will find a unique take on contemporary curries, breads, hoppers, and short eats that are all intended to be shared among diners so it’s the perfect place to visit with a partner, a group of friends, or even family.
The ingredient-led approach combined with traditional family recipes and put through a modern filter of today’s high expectations from diners, the result is truly exceptional. The restaurant puts a strong emphasis on seasonality and sustainability. The menu sees both British and Sri Lankan ingredients, and all are prepared with a modern edge. Paradise serves only free-range and herb-fed chicken from Easingwold. Native breed pork comes from Longridge, and the succulent lamb comes and free-range eggs also come from local farmers’ hands. You can rest assured that seafood is delivered fresh every morning and so are the vegetables, while mouthwatering fruits and aromatic spices come directly from Sri Lanka. Try the charred pineapple salad with green chillies or the legendary mutton shoulder rolls with fermented chillies that the restaurant is famous for.
Sri Lankan food is creating a real buzz in London, so it’s not surprising that the renowned Kolamba has also made its mark on the list of the finest contemporary restaurants in London. The establishment’s slick charcoal façade invites diners in its open-arms atmosphere to enjoy vibrant food that waits inside. Sri Lankan plates presented in a smart way yet having a modern edge channel indulgent home cooking done up and done right. The interior is rustic with elements of cement and exposed brick, smooth wooden fittings, patterned cushions and rattan lampshades in tan hues.
The scents are everywhere and it’s a sensational experience even before the food arrives. Naturally, the dishes are designed to be shared and this creates a wonderful opportunity to try many things at once. The result is a real feast. Sweet pilchards with crunchy breadcrumbs, string-hopper noodles topped with roast beef. Turmeric, cardamom, and chillies are used generously and things that should be slow-cooked, are cooked slowly indeed to deliver a result worth pouring over – the still bubbling, falling off the bone beef rib is a must-try.
Kerridge’s Bar & Grill
Kerridge’s Bar & Grill showcases a beautifully masculine dining room where British classics are brought to you in a warm and friendly environment by a Michelin-starred chef and his team. The setting is truly rich and luxurious and so is the food. Naturally – the restaurant finds its home within a five-star hotel (Corinthia Hotel London). The restaurant is known for its take on UK’s favourite dishes, but these are nothing like your basic pub-style fish & chips. The menu reflects refined and re-invented classics from the British culinary repertoire.
A giant, bespoke rotisserie is the centrepiece of the dining room. It showcases perfectly grilled meats, fish and vegetables for many of the dishes. Every dish that arrives at your table strikes every chord just right. Every time. Try the pig cheek pie with clotted cream mash or the whole haggis-stuffed quail – what a treat! Moreover, we recommend visiting on a Sunday for a traditional British Sunday roast – it’s better than you can imagine. Make sure to pop in for a drink at the bar – it is as exquisite as the restaurant itself and serves the best drinks this side of town.
In a nutshell, Spring is a beautifully grown-up restaurant to come to for dinner. It is expensive, quietly elegant, and doesn’t care much about trends. Instead, it is thoroughly refined in a timeless way. The menu changes daily here. It always showcases the finest seasonal British foods and ingredients – slow-cooked pork with sage, fennel and blood orange, sirloin steak with Jerusalem artichokes, grilled leeks, and aioli. Bourbon-infused desserts and classic crumbles are to die for. The restaurant is led by Skye Gyngell, a former head chef at the Michelin-starred Petersham Nurseries. Spring restaurant is housed in a restored 19th-century drawing room that was previously closed to the public for 150 years, so you can definitely get the sense of exclusivity here. The cooking is heartfelt, wholesome, produce-driven, and cooked by a team of people who are passionate about what they do and feel truly privileged to work with beautiful ingredients.