Our pick of the best venues for private and intimate dining in London….
Words Helen Brown
Dining in London can be an overwhelming experience. Choosing the restaurant amongst the city’s thousands is never an easy task. Then you get there to find that the crowds have beaten you to the best tables and you can barely hear your dinner buddy. Rewind. Remove those stresses. And take a pew instead at one of London’s most intimate dining rooms. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites for a relaxed, private dining experience like no other.
This micro-restaurant comes from MasterChef contestant and butchers daughter, Marianne Lumb. With her tiny team she serves classical, fine-dining fare with a lightness of touch and boldness of flavours. The menu highlights the most beautiful, seasonal produce. The deluxe tasting menu includes ceviche of Hebridean scallops and carrot cake soufflé.
This modern British restaurant in Hackney is bringing back the supper-club. They serve a no-choice, four-course set menu that changes each week. It feels like a friend’s dinner party where the chefs are actually very good. It’s the first foray into restaurant territory from the supper club Secret Larder founders. James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy deliver a stress-free menu and buzzing atmosphere from one adorable dining area.
This authentic Parisian bistro is one of London’s most intimate dining rooms. The blackboard menu offers just three choices per course scribbled out in French. The chairs are bentwood, the table clothes red and checked and the food bang on the mark for delivering true bourgeois flavours.
Tucked away at the back of Bubbledogs through a discrete entrance, is the 19 seat U-shaped Kitchen Table. This experience encourages full interaction with the chefs and showcases impressive kitchen theatre. Head Chef James Knappett prepares, cooks and serves a daily changing menu made up of European small dishes. It was awarded a Michelin star in 2014.
The Barbary is situated in the iconic Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden. It takes inspiration from the Barbary Coast, an infamous for pirates and the Barbary Lion. It tells a story of trade, travel and culture – people voyaging along the coast, collecting and sharing ingredients and recipes. This culinary heritage is about seasonality – food available at that moment from that piece of land, cooked in the purest way. That is the basis of this teeny-tiny London kitchen. Some history, a little bit of romance and a bar.
This small Japanese restaurant specialises in sushi and sashimi, with a chef’s choice menu. It’s owned and run by husband and wife combination, Harumi and Toru Takahashi, who have a vision of bringing a relaxed sushi experience to London. The place offers only half-a-dozen seats so the competition is fierce but absolutely worth it.