Five restaurants in London to have your Christmas lunch with friends
To dine out with friends becomes ever more appealing in the winter season. London has become a hotspot for food, with artisan coffees to match, and the offers from some of London’s most unique and intriguing menus are just too much too resist.
- The Clove Club
Approaching the 1865-established Shoreditch Town Hall for lunch, you may not expect such exclusivity. It appears to be an old police station or university building, but is in fact a modestly grand endeavour from Isaac McHale, Daniel Willis and Johnny Smith. On the ground floor of the town hall, this eatery has become a firm favourite and choosing between the three or five course meal has become the ultimate holiday treat. Bar snacks that include buttermilk fried chicken are an early enticer into a somewhat unique menu, although seasonal and well thought out. Red mullet sashimi, a ham hock terrine, red wine-cured Ventreche and fresh apple tarts are just a taste of what has appeared on the menu over the past few months. This is one of the East End’s more refined eateries and a simple setting where you can enjoy the frequently disregarded ingredients which here create delicate and flavoursome meals.
- Gordon Ramsay’s Heddon Street Kitchen
What was once The Living Room has since been taken over by none another than Gordon Ramsay. At 3-9 Heddon Street, within the Regent Street food quarter, lies Ramsay’s European/Asian kitchen. Sharing dishes, set-menus and “boozy shakes” make it the perfect place to lunch with friends, whether drinking a “Gentleman’s Breakfast” or a “Blue Moon” alongside baked scallops, marinated sirloin carpaccio or a seasonal winter salad. Although within the heart of the London, Heddon Street Kitchen sits just behind the hustle and bustle of city life, in an industrial but sleek setting. The atmosphere is relaxed, whilst the menu is surprisingly affordable for the name and location, with no corners cut on taste or presentation.
- Raw Duck
McQueen’s flowers adorn the interior of 197 Richmond Road, where globally-inspired foods come together with London’s own Caravan coffee. It is also the sister restaurant to Soho’s Ducksoup. Raw Duck encompasses simple seasonal food and flavour. They work with a small number of artisanal suppliers, alongside a kitchen that produces its own pickles, ferments, jams and drinks, whilst also carefully selecting the wines they serve. On the lunch menu, there’s sourdough bread in abundance and brunch classics with a twist. Throughout December, the restaurant hosts “dumpling Mondays”. They are also currently taking reservations for Christmas and staff can create sharing menus for both large and small parties. Designed to encompass natural materials and the idea of simplicity, a bright interior with simple benches and stools pairs perfectly with the flavours of the world at Raw Duck.
- The Wolseley
Since its opening in 2003, 160 Piccadilly has become part of London’s gastronomic bones. The setting is grand, with silver-service part of the package, and with a choice of à la carte or all-day menus this is the perfect place for Christmas. Beneath all the grandeur is also something rather humble. The opulent 1920s building serves everything from wintery soups to oysters, Eggs Benedict and an opulent afternoon tea. This is one of nine London spots from restauranteurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, whose modern European cuisine strengthens the scene. It feels like a place for occasion-dining, but it is more casual than that. Tables are often available for walk-ins and there is a wide variety of food and drinks. The Wolseley is a wonderful place to eat, whether for an impromptu visit or a planned Christmas lunch in one of London’s most glamorous settings.
- Cat & Mutton
After a walk along the Regent’s Canal, through London Fields Park, or after wandering around the independent shops, the place for a casual lunch this December is Cat & Mutton, named after the Cat and Mutton bridge over the canal. Cat & Mutton is Hackney’s answer to America. Sitting on the corner of Broadway Market, they serve simple, American-inspired food, claiming to be the “finest fried chicken & southern fayre, seven days a week”. Fish gumbo, Mac & Cheese and roast dinner favourites are on the menu, with thirst-quenching refined cocktails and craft beers. There’s often a buzzing atmosphere at peak times, but even when it’s a little quieter the atmosphere is never dead. This is the place to spend a festive lunch amongst friends in London’s burgeoning East End.