Jun 10, 2015

A Foodie’s Guide to Restaurants and Eating in Mayfair

Mayfair is very possibly one of the most densely populated parts of London when it comes to restaurants and fine dining. Depending on what you’re after there’s something for every occasion, from a casual dinner with friends, a wedding or a Michelin starred restaurant for a business lunch to somewhere traditional for steak and seafood or even a wildcard that will surprise and refresh those who regularly dine out.

So here’s our pick of the best places for foodies to eat in Mayfair.

Mayfair’s Michelin Men

Mayfair has a veritable cluster of Michelin starred restaurants in its windy streets, from the indomitable Benares, where Atul Kochhar serves the most memorable highly sophisticated and utterly delicious Indian cuisine on Berkeley Square to Phil Howard’s two-Michelin starred, The Square – their set lunch menu is an absolute steal £32.50/£37.50/£60 for two/three/six courses and is even available in the private room. Hibiscus and Hakkasan are also eternal favourites in the area – offering Claude Bosi’s unsurpassed French cuisine and modern Cantonese respectively.

Benares private dining room in Mayfair

Mayfair Hotel dining

It doesn’t come any finer than this hat-trick. With Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, the restaurant is one thing, but the private rooms are in another league entirely –two of the most beautiful spaces in London packed with original features including leaded windows, ornate cornicing and fireplaces, it’s ideal for intimate wedding receptions or never-to-be-forgotten dinners and celebrations.

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester also has undeniable wow factor. Three rooms from the striking Table Lumiere with 4,500 fibre optics to the Salon Prive and Salon Park Lane with its views over Hyde Park, provide his stunning contemporary French cuisine for up to 30 guests.

At Gordon Ramsay’s Maze on Grosvenor Square there are several different separate spaces available for private parties with options from Michelin starred dining to less formal grills. Our favourites are the Maze Grill for those who want a great steak with no fuss and the authenticity of a butcher’s block as a table; Maze View for diners who want a slightly more refined, dare we say feminine décor, and the Kitchen Table inspired by Grey Goose Vodka, which is one of the most intimate and exclusive spots in London situated opposite the kitchen pass, where up to seven guests can watch the masters at work.

Traditional and Iconic

Sometimes you just want old school – not faded, but genuinely classic and effortlessly timeless and there are plenty of these in Mayfair, catering for both business and social gatherings. It’s hard to get more of an institution than the Guinea Grill, which has been on the site since 1423, although the current restaurant is a relative newcomer having only opened as the Guinea Grill in 1952! Similarly Scotts and Pescatori are both world-renowned for their fish, seafood (and grills & game), while Greens for is loved for its quintessentially old-school English wooden seating and panelled partitions and Grieg’s for its superb steaks. And while we’re talking classic, Franco’s on Jermyn Street is another much-loved institution, its informal surroundings add a touch of Italian relaxation to the area – as does its private room, which is often used for local residents’ celebrations as much as business lunches. Another traditional setting, Richard Corrigan’s eponymous restaurant just off Park Lane, has, despite being a relative newcomer, all the hallmarks of being an all-time classic – they even have two striking chef’s tables where true foodies can lap up the kitchen environment while dining.

Francos Restaurant in Mayfair

Casual and Informal

For casual dining we love Hush, just off Bond Street, its covered cobbled courtyard is ideal for drinks receptions, while its private rooms can host a wide range of events – from the Silver Room which is just perfect for elegant hens or afternoon teas, to the newly refurbished penthouse(2nd floor) private room which can hold up to 100 standing (60 seated), it comes complete with its own bar and, being self-contained, is ideal for anyone wanting to let their hair down with discretion.

As much as Mayfair does ‘dress down’, there are three others we find totally enchanting, from patisserie experts and Mediterranean brasserie group Aubaine, to Avenue with its ever changing art, and delightful semi-private raised balcony area at the rear of the restaurant for up to 24, as well as the main private room (20 seated) with glass walls and windows looking out into the restaurant and quaint passageway behind.

Perhaps better known for its cosy bar, Fino’s restaurant is also worth noting as it features superb game and traditional specialities and even has a Boardroom for private events up to 28 guests.

Something Different

Of all the venues we’ve been to in the area, there are three truly unique sites that are guaranteed to get guests’ tongues wagging as well as tastebuds salivating.

Sketch’s ‘USP’ is that it defies categorisation – with rooms that differ wildly from classical to downright wacky, it’s safe to say not every room will be to everyone’s taste, and yet Sketch is guaranteed to give every guest a unique and exciting experience as well as cutting edge modern dishes.

Sketch Restaurant's The Glade private dining room seats up to 15.

The vaulted rooms at Gymkhana which pay homage both in décor and cuisine to the days of the Raj and gymkhana clubs in India and are unique spaces for any event – with rooms holding up to 50 guests (or 90 as an exclusive use of the restaurant), they provide a true wow factor.

For the artistically minded, the Emin Room above no 34 Restaurant is ideal. Seating up to 60 guests, its classic décor of oak panelling and leather chairs are contrasted with specially commissioned works by internationally acclaimed artist Tracey Emin – guaranteed to give guests something to talk about.

Take a look at our most recent post on the best Mayfair restaurants.