After an 18-month renovation, Mamounia Lounge – now dazzling with silver leafed ceilings and elaborate chandeliers – is back on the dining scene with a polished menu of Moroccan and Lebanese classics like seafood tagine and slow roasted lamb shoulder with fresh dates, oranges and apricots. The cocktails are equally inventive. Try the Sheik Royal which is a blend of Belvedere Pomaranncza and elderflower cordial, topped with Champagne.
Insider Tip: After dinner hours, the basement dining room is transformed as traditional Middle Eastern musicians and belly-dancers dance up a storm.
In just a few years, chef Jason Atherton has become somewhat a celebrity as he opens one successful restaurant after the other. Pollen Street Social is one of the originals and still one of the best. Depending on the season, you might be tucking into a robust fallow deer tartare, a braised West Country ox cheek, or roasted cod served with a fragrant Catalan paella.
Insider Tip: Like many London restaurants, the acoustics here can be terrible especially when the restaurant is full – which is always. When booking, ask for a table at the back.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s oddly named new restaurant is an acronym that refers to its location – north of Piccadilly. But there’s nothing short-handed about his breezy Middle-Eastern and Asian-influenced menu. Dishes are served tapas-style in a melange of fresh flavours and exotic ingredients. Think exquisite twice-cooked baby chicken with lemon myrtle salt, and seared prawns with tomato butter.
Insider Tip: It may sound odd to suggest going to a restaurant’s washroom, but Nopi’s is a dizzying trip. The walls are completely lined with mirrors.
With its low ceiling and plush English gentlemen’s club vibe, The Delaunay is the perfect venue to quietly eyeball gossipy media mavens and glamour pusses at adjoining tables (ah, there’s Victoria Beckham by the window!). The full English breakfast of eggs and sausages, and afternoon tea of scones and cakes are de rigueur, while the insanely rich sachertorte is one of London’s best.
Insider Tip: The restaurant offers early pre-theatre meals, guaranteeing that you will be seated, served and sent on your way in 45 minutes.
There are at least two reasons for coming here. The first is the unexpectedly good (and reasonably priced) dim sum menu that’s served daily alongside a fragrantly crisp house-roasted Peking Duck. The second is the incredible view of the city from the 33rd floor of the Shard skyscraper. Of course, the best seats are by the window and these are usually most easily secured for a lunch booking.
Insider Tip: If you’re booked for dinner, come early and have a cocktail at the bar while marvelling at the sight of London all lit up like a Christmas tree and spread out beneath your feet.