With film premieres, concerts, fashion shows and football matches galore, London is a great place to catch a glimpse of the rich and famous. You just have to know where to find them. When the stars are in town, they have to eat, so London’s hippest restaurants are a good place to start. To increase your chances of spotting a celeb, below is our pick of the stars’ favourite restaurants in London.
Referee: Michael Craig Martin
A contemporary conceptual artist and painter. He is noted for his fostering of the Young British Artists, many of whom he taught, and for his conceptual artwork, An Oak Tree. He is Emeritus Professor of Fine Art at Goldsmiths and designed the poster for London 2012 Olympic Games.
St. John Bar & Restaurant Smithfield
Food celebrities love this trailblazing restaurant, famed for its “nose to tail eating”. It’s supposedly Anthony Bourdain’s favourite restaurant in the UK, and Jamie Oliver follows St John on Twitter. Tracy Emin is a regular at the sister branch St John Bread & Wine at Spitalfields.
Add: 26 St John Street, London EC1M 4AY
Celeb spot in style at The Wolseley, a grand old café-restaurant on London’s Piccadilly. With a spectacular Grade II Listed interior and a menu to match, it’s a magnet for the rich and famous. You’re sure to spot a star whether you go for the European lunch and dinner menus, a traditional afternoon tea or the famous Wolseley breakfast.
Add: 160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB
Referee: Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby
They are also known as Barber Osgerby, which is a furniture and industrial design studio established in 1996 by these two British designers. And also they designed the torch of London 2012 Olympic Games with the symbolism of representing the relay an the nation, and also to reflect that London and the UK are the forefront of design and manufacturing.
Londoners love this buzzing, Venetian-style ‘bacaro’ bar & restaurant, & are quite happy to queue until a table frees up (you can only book for lunch). Polpo puts the emphasis on ‘style & the customer’: the Prosecco flows & the music thumps as proceedings in the slender, artfully distressed room are orchestrated by warm, friendly staff who are simply ‘brilliant’. The menu offers amazingly inexpensive bread-based cichetti (snacks) such as cured pork panino or goats’ cheese, walnut & grape bruschetta ahead of irresistible small plates: favourites include polpette (saucy meatballs), fritto misto & grilled flank steak with truffle cream. The pricing allows you to ‘indulge yourself’ with lots of little dishes, & many wines are offered by the carafe. The dimly lit Campari Bar downstairs serves the same spot-on cocktails as the ground-floor zinc bar, & keeps hopeful punters happy while they’re waiting.
Add: 41 Beak St., London W1F 9SB
Located in the old Shoreditch Tramshed building, Mark Hix’s latest venture is a cavernous refectory space kitted out with communal tables and chairs made from recycled Coke bottles. Head for the mezzanine to get the best views of the striking Damien Hirst centrepiece depicting a cockerel astride a cow – a visual clue to the restaurant’s theme: chicken and steak. The former, sourced from Woolley Park, roasted whole and served upright for punters to hack apart, arrives with deliciously moist meat and crispy skin. As for steak, the ‘mighty marbled’ sirloin (dry-aged in a Himalayan salt chamber) has wonderful depth of flavour. Starters might feature smoked Cornish sardines with beets and horseradish, while puds keep it simple with the likes of apple pie and custard. A ‘hidden’ bar deals in snacks and cocktails, and the Cock ‘n’ Bull basement gallery doubles as a library/exhibition space.
Add: 32 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3LX
Referee: Kelly Hoppen
World-renowned designer Kelly Hoppen MBE is the visionary behind her design studio, Kelly Hoppen Interiors. Honing her craft since the tender age of 17, Kelly has created not only a distinctive ‘style’ but an aesthetic that is synonymous with elegance, luxury and timeless classics.
The Arts Club
During his visit to London in 1848 Chopin stayed in Dover Street a couple of doors up from No 40. Unfortunately this house is no longer there, having been bombed in the war. However, the Arts Club is typical of houses of this time and has a concert room decorated in opulent Victorian style, which is why we have chosen it for some of our events this year.
The Arts Club was founded in 1863 by Lord Leighton and Charles Dickens. Since then it has numbered many eminent authors and artists amongst its members, including Anthony Trollope, Arnold Bennett, Dame Laura Knight, Sir Alfred Munnings, Bram Stoker, Camille Pisarro, John Piper, David Hockney.
Add: 40 Dover Street | Mayfair, London W1S 4NP
The gregarious sibling of Osteria Basilico just a few doors away, Mediterraneo cranks things up a notch or two with more refined ingredients & an extensive wine list. Inside, its relaxed, rustic style is much favoured by locals & Italian expats, despite the formal linen cloths on the tables. Tagliata di manzo (succulent slices of char-grilled fillet of beef scented with rosemary) is a standout dish, while spaghetti with lobster is worthy of that special occasion. ‘The food isn’t cheap but it’s always exceptional’, observes one regular. A set-lunch menu (£14.50 for two courses) puts Mediterraneo’s assured cooking within easier reach, but it will take a lot of willpower to steer clear of the temptations on the main menu – not to mention the Tuscan treasures on the wine list.
Add: 37 Kensington Park Road, London W11 2EU
CEO of International Presidents Club (IPC)
In 1998 at the age of 31, Gordon set up his first wholly owned restaurant, Gordon Ramsay, in Chelsea. Combining an intimate ambience and exquisite cuisine by 2001 the restaurant had gained three Michelin stars which it retains today. Head Chef Clare Smyth, who was appointed to the position in January 2007 remains the only female chef in the UK to hold this accolade.
This intimate restaurant seats 45 guests surrounded by the stylish interiors designed by the acclaimed designer David Collins. Combining contemporary elegance and unparalleled service, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay has the hallmark of true excellence.
Add: 68 Royal Hospital Road London SW3 4HP
Alain Ducasse At The Dorchester
‘Seriously grown-up food in a seriously grown-up restaurant’ captures the essence of this outpost of Alain Ducasse’s global empire. It delivers a luxury experience with consummate expertise, from the comfortably spacious surrounds & legions of heavily accented staff to extravagantly generous amuse-bouches & premium ingredients. Lobster with truffled chicken quenelles, sautéed ceps & mini rolls of homemade pasta is precision cooking of the highest order, all melting textures, deep flavours & glossy saucing; turbot ‘matelote’ with tomato gnocchi & ‘country bacon’ is decadent but refined, while memorable desserts include an unmissable rum baba. Prices, however, remain an intractable issue: pitching one of the world’s most famous chefs on a blue-chip Monopoly square is never going to be cheap, but comments such as ‘very good but not extraordinary’ suggest that this ultimate expression of high-end French dining can also be a tad predictable. That said, the £50 lunch (with two glasses of wine) is a good introduction.
Add: 53 Park Lane, London W1K 1QA
Referee: Anna Dodonova
Anna Casa Interiors is the culmination of the intuitive and creative vision of owner and director Anna Dodonova. Launched in 2007 at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour in London’s fashionable Chelsea, Anna Casa Interiors has become synonymous with the very best in forward-thinking and glamorous design. Anna is highly passionate about art and design and this is reflected in the edited selection of brands and pieces on offer at the inspiring showroom.
‘Happening’, ‘electric’, ‘seductive’, ‘exclusive’ – just some of the superlatives fired at high-rolling Hakkasan’s Mayfair-chic sibling. The scent of jasmine candles hits you in the sultry passageway, & the smell of money also hangs in the air as the place works its ice-cool magic. A thumping ground-floor cocktail bar immediately cranks up the decibels, & the cacophony continues in the glamorous, moody-blue dining room. Those flexing the company plastic go for ‘supreme special dishes’ at ‘shocking’ prices, although financial investment pays dividends: the legendary roast silver cod with Champagne & Chinese honey shows technical skill & invention in spades, likewise roast mango duck & ‘awesome’ New Zealand lobster tails with glass vermicelli. Elsewhere, the long menu runs from some extraordinary dim sum to the likes of sweet & sour Duke of Berkshire pork with pomegranate or Alaskan royal king crab in black bean sauce. Cleverly crafted east/west desserts are also guaranteed to wow in this oriental sizzler.
Add: 17 Bruton Street, London W1J 6QB
Nobu - Berkeley Street
Nobu is one of the most popular celebrity restaurants in the UK. Co-owned by Robert de Niro and frequented by the likes of Cheryl Cole, Brad Pitt, Kate Moss, Tom Cruise, Elton John and Naomi Campbell, it is a veritable magnet for A List diners! Boris Becker very recently clarified that his daughter was conceived on Nobu’s stairs, not in the broom cupboard!
Add: 15 Berkelely Street, London W1J 8DY