Top 9 Haut Cuisine Restaurants in London
London’s culinary scene has improved dramatically in the past 10 years. Some of the world’s best chefs have set their residence here and created innovative and exciting venues. What’s really interesting about this is that the capital has been opening its taste spectrum and there are many different types of cuisines that have thrived. Being in London doesn’t mean the scope is limited, on the contrary, you’ll find foods from around the world cooked in remarkable ways. In fact, you’ll probably find the best of each cuisine here.
From Britain to China. From Scandinavia to Japan. You’ll be delighted with the variety London has to offer your palate. But where to start? If you are celebrating an important occasion, you might want to check this list of wonderful restaurants.
Today I bring your attention to some of my personal favourites, but bear in mind that the list of haute cuisine restaurants in London is endless. I try to never go to the same place more than once and I’ve been trying some new and amazing venues for the past three years. However, one likes what she likes and I’ve been ‘guilty’ of finding myself in some of them many times. For good reason.
If you are looking for some delicious, exciting and architecturally stunning places (sorry, I am an architect and that matters to me), here’s a list of 9 haute cuisine restaurants in London.
Located a couple of streets away from Green Park Tube Station, Hide is not exactly a secret as it is very visible. Opened in 2018, the three-story restaurant by Hedonism Wines and Ollie Dabbous, consists of three spaces: Above, Ground and Below. Two first floors are dining areas and the bar is in the basement.
The creative and delicious dishes are organised in set menus that are also different depending on the dining areas and the time of the day. Though lunch and dinner are the most popular, they also serve amazing breakfast. A highlight is the wine list, which boasts 4,000 wines. Any bottle available at Hedonism Wines Shop in Mayfair may be reserved and delivered to the restaurant for you. By the way, the most expensive wine available is the 2004 Penfolds Block 42 – £120,000.
As an architect, another highlight of this stunning space is the curling staircase by Atmos Studio.
Remarkable Dish: Cornish lobster baked in fig leaves over charcoal
Location: 85 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7NB (Google)
2. Core by Clare Smyth
Located in a traditional house of Notting Hill, an area developed thanks to the affluence of the railway success, Core by Clare Smyth is famous for its natural and sustainable food. In fact, they source all their products from local farmers and producers. Core is also the debut restaurant by reputed chef Clare Smyth, the first and only female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin-stars in the UK.
Whether you choose ‘A la Carte Menu’, ‘Core Seasons’ or ‘Core Classics’, you’ll be granted a delightful experience full of surprisingly natural flavours and classics with a twist. You will never think of ordinary foods such as potatoes, carrots and onions in the same way.
Remarkable Dish: Girolle and toasted buckwheat tart
Location: 92 Kensington Park Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 2PN (Google)
3. Sake no Hana
As a foodie and architect, this has to be my favourite of the list. Sake no Hana is not only located in one of the most significant buildings erected after World War II – The Economist by Alison and Peter Smithson – the interior design is by Japanese starchitect Kengo Kuma. The restaurant is located on the first floor of one of the structures of the complex (there’s three but this is the only one facing St James’s street). Ok, enough about the building, let’s move on to the food.
Though the highlight of the restaurant are the signature menus (enhanced by the superb wine pairing), I also found the à la carte menu quite interesting. Las week I tried the Wagyu Maki and was definitely blown away by the combined taste of all flavours and also, the surprising fact that meat maki can actually taste good.
Remarkable Dish: Gunma Wagyu A5 Beef Maki
Location: 23 St James’s St, St. James’s, London SW1A 1HA (Google)
4. Galvin at Windows
With privileged views over Hyde Park, Galvin at Windows is the best spot to delight all your senses. Located on the 28th floor of Park Lane Hotel (another favourite of my personal list of Brutalist buildings), you’ll be eating delicious food and drinking the best wine while stimulating your eyes. Seriously, the views keep me returning to this place.
If you also keep returning to the restaurant (guilty!) the ‘Menu du jour’ is always changing and will provide extra fun. Otherwise, the best menu is the ‘Degustation Menu’, which is the creation of chef Joo Won. The best thing is that they also do this menu for lunch, which is my favourite time to go because there’s plenty of light to admire the great views.
Remarkable Dish: Baked hake, Beaufort crust, Iberico pork & spicy cabbage
Location: 22 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1BE (Google)
5. Sketch: Lecture Room & Library
Sketch, a quirky place that seems taken out of Alice in Wonderland, is famous because it is where celebrities hang out. And you’ll ask me: ‘Virginia, is this place really worth the hype?’ My answer, ‘Absolutely’ – said out loud with posh accent. The interior design is epic (thanks for a wonderful job India Mahdavi), the food is tasty and fun to eat and the atmosphere is great. It feels like being in a movie.
You’ll find separate areas and restaurants within Sketch: The Parlour, The Lecture Room & Library, The Glade, The Gallery and The East Bar and Pods. The Lecture Room & Library is the best place for lunch. The set menu is what I’d recommend as about 15 creative dishes will be plenty for you to try the quirky battery of techniques they’ll use to impress you. The afternoon tea at The Gallery is another experience I’d highly recommend.
Remarkable Dish: Lasagna ‘Bastarde’
Location: 9 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG (Google)
Yauatcha, located in an early Richard Rogers building, is part of the reputed Hakkasan family of restaurants. In fact, there’s another one in Broadgate Circus but this one is better because of, well, Richard Rogers. Yauatcha Soho was created in 2004 by Alan Yau and has increasingly grown in popularity.
The food is high-end Chinese and includes exotic flavours from the East, exceptional quality and generous portions. Some delicious dishes are umami-filled foie gras taro croquettes and lobster dumplings with tobiko caviar, but you’ll be surprised by each plate, in my case, especially with those dishes containing duck.
A friendly warning, portions of the tasting menus are outrageous – you’ll struggle to finish them.
Remarkable Dish: Roasted duck pumpkin puff
Location: 15-17 Broadwick St, Soho, London W1F 0DL (Google)
7. City Social
Tower 42 is famous for its top floor bar, but somewhere in between on the 24th floor, City Social should be where you head instead. Yes, the upstairs bar is disappointing. By contrast, City Social offers amazing food with equally amazing views. Prices are similar though.
The menu, created by Paul Walsh and Jason Atherton is full of classics such as seafood pasta and steak tartare with a little twist. So whilst you’ll enjoy your typically favourite dishes, you should expect some tasty surprises.
Remarkable Dish: Seafood Linguine
Location: Tower 42, 25 Old Broad St, London EC2N 1HQ (Google)
8. Aquavit London
Aquavit London is a Scandinavian heaven in the midst of St James’s Market, a wonderfully refurbished area by Make Architects. Interior design is sleek: artistic tapestry, long chandeliers hanging from the double height ceiling and wood everywhere.
Food is purely Nordic so if you aren’t quite sure about that pickled herring you had ages ago, maybe this place is not for you. For the rest of us who tolerate strong tastes, it can be an authentic delight. You’ll find Shrimp Skagen, Herrings, Gravlax and Vendace roe. And yes, I know you’re also wondering, they have the famous Swedish meatballs (yummy!).
Remarkable Dish: Cod, Mussels, Leek Mayonnaise
Location: 1 Carlton St, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4QQ (Google)
Kym’s, located in one of the most anticipated buildings of 2017, opened earlier this year. Chef Andrew Wong created this venue after a long time under the wing of his parents’ culinary ventures. The result is an innovative, yet experienced, Chinese menu.
I celebrated this year’s birthday at Kym’s and it didn’t disappoint. From the refreshing cocktails at the beautiful bar to the sharing platters of the restaurant, the experience was relaxed and fun. As we were in a group, I was able to try several dishes of the menu, particularly liking the Prawn Har Gau, Sweet & Sour Rare Breed Pork Ribs, Crispy Duck Pancakes and the Iberico Pork Char Sui.