That’s a good suggestion. Good combination of great food and friendly. It has plenty of space for a table of 7 too.
If Indian is a possibility, what about Cinnamon Club? Good food, good wine list (not as rapacious as some of the other places mentioned here), and interesting location (especially for those of us old enough to have used it when it was a library).
I’m now wondering why I’ve never been. 20 years after it coming out, their seafood cookbook is one of my favourites. I’ll add it to the ever growing list.
I just took a look at the online wine list because your description doesn’t at all match my recollection, and while it has some nice things on it I was frequently mentally exclaiming “how much?” as I glanced through it. To be fair that’s true of a lot of London restaurants, and Cinnamon Club is typically an enjoyable restaurant to eat in (I think there’s better Indian food in London but it’s good enough), but if I’m spending my own money, I’m probably ordering the house wine.
It may be too late, but I’m a big fan of Lorne among placeces not yet mentioned. I would second Hide (I think the food’s hit and miss, but it’s a really nice space and the wine is excellent). Noble Rot is great but possibly a bit cramped and noisy for the event. Taillevent and Noize would also seem to fit the bill, but I haven’t been to either since the pandemic started, and some wine lists in particular have changed a lot since reopening.
You could try Medlar down the Kings Road. Thoroughly enjoyable food - special enough for a 60th - plus a good wine list and very reasonable corkage if you wanted to go that route.
Lunchtime definitely…however long way to go to beat this…
£4 a bottle corkage…short and quite simple menu but always a few good specials. Long way from London though!
Depending on budget I’d second Core, Pollen St Social (or Social Eating House, though less good for a group), and certainly Trinity.
Five Fields, Chelsea has always been excellent though has become (even) more pricey during COVID (understandably).
Chez Bruce / La Trompette are both reliable.
I’ve previously enjoyed Portland and heard good things about it’s sister, Clipstone.
I have now been and can take this recommendation and turn it into a hard avoid. Zero atmosphere. The food was OK at best (and mostly not), portions were not big enough and the wine pairing was incredibly stingy pours of not great wine given what they were charging that’d been open too long. The “main event” red with the main course was a 2012 Chateau Grand Village, which retails at around £12 a bottle which we were given around 1/4 of a glass (to save people looking, the wine pairing is £75 and I’d say we got a total volume of two glasses of wine all of which retailed at around £10 a bottle - and I know you can get a lot better wines for that price too!). I know London is expensive to eat out, but this is the first time in a very long time I’ve felt ripped off. Please do not go to this restaurant.
That’s disappointing! I looked at the menu the other day and couldn’t help but feel irritated by the 13% service charge - a cheeky 0.5% extra on what is (irritatingly) standard because, well, why not! Must add up quite prettily…
If it’d just been one of the things, I’d not have minded so much. Some of the food was really good, the service was OK (although got worse as the meal went on as we clearly weren’t happy with the quality of what was coming out of the kitchen). The first couple of courses were good but fish and meat course just wasn’t good enough and the puddings were tasty but sub-M&S.
The wines made me cross. I accept (post rant) some of them were more than a tenner a bottle, but they’d clearly been open a while and the pours were so small I stand by my rip off comment. The Bordeaux was definitely cheap and over the hill). The extra 0.5% definitely adds up as the prices were too high even by London standards.
I have realised that everyone who recommended this restaurant is a trade person (either front of house staff at Core, which is round the corner, or Robin Moxton of Moxton’s Fishmongers, who supply them) so they would have had a very different experience in terms of the way they were treated (and maybe the menu was better, if the food had all been as good as the first course, that wouldn’t have been a problem).
I re-iterate, please do not go to this restaurant.
Interesting on who recommended. Recently, at a few restaurants with good restaurant-critic reviews, I’ve been disappointed with the service and food (and occasionally with the absence of choices mentioned in the reviews). I can understand restaurants trying harder for a critic; that’s human. But while I used to prefer proper reviews to comments on Hardens, Open table, or indeed here, now I am not so sure. Am I getting more demanding or is the problem getting worse?
I was curious and looked at the menu. This at the end immediately annoyed me
In order to reduce carbon emission and glass usage, we areserving unlimited still and sparkling filtered water for £1.50 per table.
An extra charge for water which should be free and does it really have anything to do with reduced carbon emissions? Could I just ask for tap water?
I think the point around people working in the trade having different experiences is a really good/interesting one. On the one hand you would be inclined to trust the judgement of people who work in restaurants, however like you say they may have been treated rather better!
I worked in a (pretty nice) restaurant in Newcastle for a brief spell, and in that period had some of my very best eating out experiences with some of the chefs and managers who had a lot of friends/contacts in good restaurants. Inevitably we got free stuff and a heavily discounted bill (and really good service) - it was a very different experience to being a standard customer.
One memorable one was at a 1* place in Newcastle, where we were given champagne on arrival and had the full tasting menu with wine pairing(generous pours!)/all the extras - very well looked after and in the end we paid about £70 each, I think the tables next to us would probably have paid more like £170 for the same. Makes a very big difference to how you feel afterwards!
Aren’t places that serve alcohol required to offer free tap water?
I always understood that to be the case. I remember very cheap restaurants used to charge for tap water on the grounds of keeping prices low and paying for washing up(!). When it was a fiver all you can eat Thai buffet you probably just shrugged at a 50p charge that shouldn’t really be allowed.
This water charge, and, as @DavidCB pointed out, the 13% rather than 12.5% service charge really sum up the restaurant well.
@SPmember I’m not sure which way round it is for me. I am usually pretty forgiving. and do tend to ignore website reviews by people as they’re usually biased by either a really good or bad experience (which is part of why I came back and gave some of the positives of the meal). Grace Dent liked the food, but thought the service was lousy. In retrospect we were left waiting too long between courses (with “glasses” of wine poured in front of us, which made the tiny amounts even more noticeable). It gets really great reviews on Open Table, Google et cetera, which really don’t reflect my experience of the evening. Maybe we just went on a bad night but if you can’t deliver on a Friday night to a 2/3rds full restaurant, when can you?
I rarely go to London but will visit twice this week. Eating at 67 Pall Mall and then at Viccolo in the little passageway next to BBR. Viccolo looks very old family Italian. I have not been before.
I did look at Caractere on the web. It seems very smart The first photo of a main course on Tripadvisor showed a thick piece of white meat with all sorts of stuff on the skin. The meat was cooked very pink…hmm…I thought, I hope that isn’t chicken or pork.
We went to Spring for dinner this evening, Skye Gyllenhall’s restaurant in Somerset House and had a lovely time. Beautiful room with tables properly spaced so you don’t spend the whole evening eavesdropping on your neighbours.
After (very good) cocktails we drank Zarate Albarino with raw scallops (for two of us) and prawn and lemon risotto (the other two); followed by Guy Breton Chiroubles with lamb and guinea fowl.
The Albarino was lovely but perhaps a bit sharp for the scallops. The sommelier steered me away from a Lismore chardonnay, not sure that was the best advice.
The Chiroubles was great. My wife, who had the lamb, thought it was too lightweight. But with my guinea fowl it was spot on. And served, unusually, at exactly the right temperature, about 15 degrees I guess.