London has a particular mastery of the “spectacle” restaurant, from the grandiose opulence of Galvin La Chapelle to the breathtaking views of Aqua Shard.
But Valentine’s Day is upon us – and so certainly something decidedly more intimate and cosseting is in order. To that end, we’ve teamed with our partners over at Urbanologie on this list of the capital’s cozier dining offerings, from the personalized sushi experience at Araki, to the gilded romance of Seven Park Place.
Specialising in Edomae-sushi (translating to Edo style), the sushi created by world-renowned sushi master Mitsuhiro Araki (one of just a handful of sushi chefs to be awarded three Michelin stars) is concentrated on focusing on the flavours of one ingredient, and uniquely incorporates European produce (including black caviar and white Alba truffle). Araki himself is quite a showman, preparing dishes in front of diners on a wooden counter. The restaurant accommodates just nine people up at the dining counter (and six in a private dining room) – making for an intimate and unique atmosphere. The (no-choice) Sushi Omakase menu is priced at £300 per person.
Little Quiet is a intimate, clandestine restaurant, hidden away near Barbican – from the team behind the Disappearing Dining Club. This dinky hideaway (formerly an abandoned wine cellar) has just 16 seats with places strictly limited to just one evening sitting (Thursday to Saturday only). Menus (priced at £40 for six-courses) change daily and draw upon Head Chef Fred Bolin’s Swedish roots with classic European touches – expect simple, classic dishes alongside a well-priced wine list. The perfect hidden gem offering an intimate supper club vibe.
Located in the heart of Belgravia, Mosimann’s Club is one of the most prestigious private dining clubs in the world and their Montblanc Room is the actually the world’s smallest private dining room – for two. Set in the luxurious and intimate atmosphere of a stunningly converted nineteenth-century church with its relaxed Balcony Bar, grand Main Dining Room and six other private dining rooms (each one is individually sponsored by distinguished brands). The rooms centre showpiece is a chandelier exclusively created by Montblanc for the Club, a cascade of crystals in Montblanc’s signature black and white. Mosimann’s menu offers an enticing palette of best-in-season specialities, and the perennial favourites include classics such as risotto ai funghi, Anton‘s Caesar salad, steak tartar, marinated salmon and crabmeat, and bread-and-butter pudding. Room hire fees apply.
Inspired by the format of the Michelin triple-starred Brooklyn Fare, this intimate set-up for up to 19 guests is centered around an open kitchen and tucked away behind Bubbledogs (specialising in gourmet hot dogs and grower Champagnes & sparkling wines). Hosted by chef-patron James Knappett (formerly of Noma and The Ledbury) to showcase his contemporary modern European cuisine through a daily changing 12-14 course-tasting menu. The menu is famously chalked in list form on the restaurant’s blackboard, with each course represented by a single word denoting its main ingredient. Much of the produce used is grown or foraged by Knappett himself, with a heavy focus on seasonal ingredients.
Award-winning restaurateur Simon Rogan has re-opened Aulis London, an intimate eight-seater chef’s table offering an interactive dining experience mirroring the Aulis concept in Cartmel. Although by day a culinary workshop, by night Aulis London is open to the public. This clandestine kitchen is found in a secret location in the heart of London via an unassuming door to a select eight people at a time for the ultimate personal dining experience by chef Rafael Cagali who brings with him the expertise of working at Michelin starred establishments such as Quique Dacosta, Fat Duck and Fera at Claridge’s. The Aulis London experience is priced at £250, which includes a tasting menu with wine pairing. All other details, including location and timings are revealed to guests only upon making a reservation.
Executive Chef William Drabble has held a Michelin star since 2010, and oversees dining at the luxury boutique St James‘s Hotel – located in a quiet cul-de-sac off Piccadilly. This intimate jewelbox of a restaurant is living proof that good things come in small packages. With just nine tables, the ornate restaurant (evoking the gilded 1920s) is one of the smallest Michelin-starred restaurants in the world and serves seasonal dishes in a truly intimate setting. The food focuses on French ingredients and technique with Drabble’s unique twist.
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