London’s best locations for ladies who lunch
Words Helen Brown
There’s nothing better than a catch up with the gals over a bottle of rosé. Except when it’s done in divine settings with even better food. Whether you’re after a relaxed rendezvous or fine dining at its best, London has it all. These are our top picks for a girl’s lunch.
The cafe at Petersham Nurseries is one of the dreamier venues for a girl’s lunch and is the perfect setting for an Instagram pic. The restaurant is housed in a vast glasshouse within the garden centre which means you dine in a pretty and peaceful enclave of botanicals and plants. Food is seasonal and the menu constantly evolving.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
The Ivy Chelsea Garden jostles for space on the King’s Road amongst artisan bakeries and yummy-mummy baby shops. It’s the perfect spot to hit up for a girl’s lunch after a stroll along one of London’s most stylish streets. The interior is beautiful; all sage green, interesting furniture, orange accents, botanical prints and brass light fittings. And the outdoor’s blue awnings and painted park benches are just as pretty. The menu ranges from breakfast of the Marmite-and-mustard crumpets variety to a shepherd’s pie dinner.
Vegetables are the focus of Grain Store which utilises their pretty colours and varying textures to create a menu of greenery and goodness. It’s healthy and inventive. Meat isn’t shunned however; crispy citrus chicken skin for example features with a tasty accompaniment of sprouting seeds, miso aubergine and potato wafer.
Granger & Co.
Australian chef Bill Granger brings his vibrant style and easy-going approach to London with Granger & Co. He has three restaurants here now, and each offer Aussie-style classics like BBQ shrimp burger, sticky chilli pork belly and great salad bowls. End your girl’s lunch with a not-so-naughty gluten free cake, available to take out along with juices and coffees.
The Modern Pantry
Fusion food has a bad reputation at the best of times, but not where Modern Pantry is concerned. Chef Anna Hansen affords a menu that uses a fantastically vast range of ingredients in a modern way. A lunch here is a showcase of globe-wide gastronomy in a contemporary and casual setting.
Daylesford Organic farmshop and cafe is one of London’s finer examples of an upmarket food shop. Fruit and produce from their organic farm in Gloucestershire is at its heart, alongside daily fresh bread from the bakery and milk, cheese, yoghurt and butter from their creamery. With its seasonal organic dishes and serene all-white setting, the cafe is a hotspot for weekend brunching. Alternatively, for a girl’s lunch on the go there are salads, sandwiches and hot drinks to take away.
The Wolseley is a grand European style cafe-restaurant that offers an eclectic variety of dishes from its impressive Grade II listed home in St James’. Explore a menu that ranges from seafood platters to salads, as well as classics such as steak tartare. Firm favourites veal Holstein and chicken soup with dumplings are always on the menu, as are the changing plats du jour.
With its white tiles, gold-trimmed bar and glossy marble floors, Nopi makes for an elegant girl’s lunch just north of Piccadilly. This Middle Eastern slash Asian all-day brasserie from Ottolenghi serves a broad menu that is creative and of great depth of flavour. Go it alone or chose from the selection of sharing dishes. The cocktail menu also makes use of eclectic ingredients and is well worth a try.
For the girliest of girl’s lunches the only answer is the pink room at Sketch. It’s housed within a quirky 18th-century townhouse tea room that transforms into a cocktail lounge every evening. The menu is vast and globally inspired. It takes bold flavour forays into Japanese, Italian, Spanish and British cuisines.
Percy & Founders
Percy & Founders is an all day affair in a vast, airy space that can accommodate an impressive two hundred covers. The menu takes a modern British-European slant with classics such as pies, steaks, burgers and salads. It’s relaxed dining at its best. End your week here for a delicious Sunday girl’s lunch of rolled pork belly, crackling and all the trimmings.