It’s that time of year again in London. The weather is getting colder, our once glorious tans have well and truly faded and oodles of fabulous Christmas party invitations are clogging our inbox – and front door mat if we’re lucky,
This is also the time to eat, drink and be merry – and where better to do this than in the gastronomically diverse city of London Town?
If you have more refined tastes and crave a spot of festive feasting, yet despise the thought of mingling with the stodge-loving masses at Winter Wonderland (or Christmas Wonder Thingy as a dear friend of mine calls it) then have a cheeky peek at our favourites below.
Pied à Terre, Charlotte Street
Best for lavish Christmas parties with glam guests
Established in 1991, this independently owned West End gem is perfectly nestled in Fitzrovia’s suave Charlotte Street and is regularly frequented by fervent foodies and celebrities in search of eclectic modern cuisine. This award winning London restaurant gained its first Michelin star in 1993 before achieving its second in 1996. At present, Pied a Terre has one Michelin star and the food we consumed by head chef Asimakis Chaniotis was almost otherworldly. We opted for the seven course tasting menu which included canapés to get the foodie party started and a tempting pre dessert. The gourmet wines accompanying the picture perfect plates of buttery fish, hearty beef and vegetable-based dishes added an extra touch of festive decadence to the evening.
The private dining room is ideal for hosting opulent Christmas dinners with a gaggle of your beloved people. For an extra special touch, you can arrange for your guests to leave with an exciting goody bag packed with Michelin Starred gifts and even a fetching Pied a Terre apron for those who get the urge to partake in a festive cooking session themselves.
Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, Baker Street
Best for relaxed festive dining with your favourite person
When I minced into this quaint Baker Street bistro, I felt as though I had arrived fresh off the Eurostar for a festive foodie city break. Dark wooden tables adorned with crisp white table cloths adorn a spacious dining room buzzing with famished London diners with a love of fine French bistro-style cuisine.
The restaurant offers two tempting festive menus featuring seasonal delicacies such as smoked salmon, pot roast pheasant suprême, lasagne of Dorset crab, lobster bisque, venison and a decadent chocolate Moelleux served with blood orange ice cream and a ten year old Tawny port.
A shamelessly opulent truffled brie is also on offer for cheese lovers seeking to indulge at this merry time of year by taking their dairy addiction to heady heights.
Perfect for a laid back, yet indulgent dinner with a loved one before hitting the town for a scandalous festive night out.
Jam Tree, Clapham
Best for a hangover-busting festive brunch
Perfect for a hearty yet slightly mischievous brunch the morning after a scandalous Christmas office party, this Clapham based eatery offers hungry regulars a variety of enticing dishes.
Available on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm, their infamous brunch boasts hangover-eradicating dishes such as eggs Florentine perched on top of buttered spinach lavished with rich hollandaise sauce, and avocado and poached egg on thick cut sourdough toast.
Those sorry souls in desperate need of serious alcohol soakage can opt for the Cowboy Breakfast – the western campfire side feast made up of sticky baby back ribs, pulled pork, Boston baked beans and potato hash. Heck, you can even go crazy and order their cheese smothered hotdog and fries.
The menu also features the Middle Eastern egg dish Shakshouka – a warming breakfast dish made up of eggs baked in tomato, onion and peppers served with a spiced yoghurt.
For hardcore hair of the dog types, an extra £17.50 gets you bottomless Prosecco for two merry hours.
Best for festive feasting Spanish style
This elegant Bloomsbury restaurant is beloved for its authentic Spanish food and laid back yet refined ambiance. The bright red decor evokes a fabulous flamenco-esque vibe and the staff aways do their best to make you feel at ease. If you’re seeking to reminisce about that food fuelled Ibizan holiday, order the palate-pleasing Paella de Marisco – made with bomba rice imported from Valencia as well as other exciting fishy things such as monkfish, prawns and mussels fresh from Billingsgate.
We adore their varied tapas menu which features tasty mini dishes such as golden salt cod fritters with alioli, garlic infused spinach laden with pine nuts and a very festive baked crab muddled with cayenne, parsley, tomato and brandy.
The restaurant boasts a range of fruity Spanish wines hailing from all over the country to compliment your dining experience, and shamelessly naughty puddings. We were slightly enamoured with the Tarta de Chocolate – an almondy chocolate tart garnished with a blissfuly boozy dollop of cream. The Spanish cheese board with quince jelly and coca bread is also a must this time of year.
Tis the season to be merry and all that malarkey…
Best for impressing the one you love..like a BALLER
Famous for its obscenely romantic views of the River Thames and eclectic British menu, Skylon is now attracting a new, fun-loving crowd after the recent launch of the aptly-named Sky Nights. Every Thursday evening from 8.30pm, the restaurant hosts a glamorous evening of live music, fine food and a special selection of chic cocktails, each representing the four elements; Earth, Sky, Fire and Water.
We were rather partial to ‘Earth’ – a warming concoction of mushroom, rosemary, chocolate and floral flavours. ‘Fire’ is also perfect for getting you into the Christmas spirit with its intoxicating blend of warming spices.
After getting suitably sozzled and gorging on decadent plates of red wine braised ox cheek and crab with caviar and truffles perched on angel hair pasta, get ready to gyrate those hips to the sultry sounds of resident DJ Matt Maurice and other esteemed artists on the glitzy dance floor
Who needs an office Christmas party?
Archer Street and Piste, Soho
Best for cozy Alpine chic and the cheeseboards of your dreams
Soho’s quaint cocktail bar Archer Street has always been a firm favourite with city-dwellers in need of a couple of cheeky cocktails after a hard day at work. Perfect for those seeking a spot of entertainment alongside their booze, Archer Street features friendly waiters who randomly jump on tables and break into song. Such boisterous shenanigans have always given the place that lively ‘office Christmas party’ feel, so you can imagine the vibe this time of year.
When we visited, we indulged in their special winter cocktails, which included the aptly-named Rehab – a heady concoction of vodka, Chardonay, Apricot and St Germain served in a wine glass topped with Tiki Bitters, lemon juice and soda. Festive fans will love their fragrant Step into Christmas cocktail, which combines Johnnie Walker Gold, Archer Street Rum and Fino Sherry mixed with egg, milk, vanilla syrup, Mozart white chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Mince downstairs and you will find a luxury ski lodge style bar for the ultimate in après-ski festivities. The rustic chic booths and alcoves are the perfect setting for cozy Christmas catch ups with friends and family. Don’t forget to order the mammoth cheese boards to get you into the spirit of all things jolly.
Just remember to dance it all off afterwards…