Dine out with the beautiful people at these swanky eateries.

First, it was Covid that wounded the restaurant scene. Now, it is the cost of living.

In May, José Carvalho, head of consumer products at Barclaycard, told The Caterer: ‘The impact of rising living costs on consumer spending is starting to show, with a number of categories – including subscriptions, takeaways, and bars, pubs and clubs – seeing less growth than in March as Brits begin to feel the pinch.’

The prevailing sense today is that, if you are going to spend your hard-earned pennies in a restaurant, it had better be one worth showing off about. When you decide you need a treat, here are nine of the capital’s steamiest spots in which to splash some cash.

Cavita, Marylebone

Ay caramba! This brand-new Mexican joint is so hot right now. Adriana Solís Cavita says: ‘As a Mexican chef, I feel a responsibility to preserve traditions, as well as help in the education and enhancement of Mexican cuisine. Most importantly, I want to transmit the love I feel for my Mexico through the dishes I present to you. This is where I find my greatest joy.’ Reviewers are raving. Instagram is buzzing. You’d better get booking, which you can do here.

Trullo, Islington

This low-key neighbourhood trattoria has been filling hearts and stomachs since 2010.
Giles Coren said of it: ‘I’ve been twice in the past three days, and I’m going back on Friday. I may review it again next week. I may not bother going anywhere else ever again.’ The service, vibe and pappardelle with beef shin ragu are truly out of this world. If you know, you know. If you don’t, you should. Book it.

Spring, Embankment

This exquisite restaurant is what Skye Gyngell set up when she left Petersham Nurseries. Sprawling in a restored 19th-century drawing room in Somerset House, it is among the prettiest places to eat in London. The inspired, seasonal menu sings with promise; the dining room can’t help but delight. Go for lunch and prepare to while away the afternoon over a bottle of something cold and fizzy. Book it.

Sessions Arts Club, Clerkenwell

In an old judges’ dining room in a Grade II*-listed building in Clerkenwell sits this ‘urban sanctuary’. The uber-trendy restaurant – whose chic and modern menu is devised by Florence Knight of Polpetto fame – is accompanied by three terraces, a rooftop bar, garden and gallery space. The Guardian says: ‘It’s decadent, a bit sexy and definitely not of its time.’ Book it.

Gold, Notting Hill

This glorious restaurant feels a world away from the tourist tat shops of Portobello Road. It purports to be ‘informal and honest, with a humble menu focussed on generous, seasonal plates cooked in wood ovens and served to share’. Set over four floors, it is a place to gather with friends (preferably in summer) and drink cocktails that masquerade as works of art. Don’t miss the octopus carpaccio or the zucchini ravioli. Book it.

Rochelle Canteen, Shoreditch

Excellent seasonal produce is transformed here into a small classic and modern European menu that changes daily. It is achingly cool (so cool you can hardly find it) and the food is very, very good. House & Garden says: ‘Housed in a converted Victorian school in east London, Rochelle Canteen attracts an art and fashion crowd who feast on straightforward dishes such as radishes and cod’s roe or quail with harissa.’ Book it.

Silo, Hackney Wick

Not every restaurant that professed be ‘designed from back to front, always with the bin in mind’ would be a success. Few of us want to think much about the bin in relation to a treat of a plate of food in front of us. Silo has managed, however, to eliminate waste entirely at the same time as delivering a strong, popular, vegetable-heavy, tasting menu. You might be thrilled by the laudable concept; you might loathe it. Either way, you ought to be able to say you’ve been. Book it.

Sam’s Riverside, Hammersmith

First, you’ll book Sam’s Riverside when you can’t get into the nearby River Café. After that, you’ll return again and again – for the parmesan churros, the sight of the sun setting on the river and a glass or several of the sparkling Gusbourne Brut Reserve. Sam’s Riverside opened in 2019 and was quickly thwarted by the pandemic. Testament to its greatness is that it reopened with fanfare and hasn’t looked back. Book it.

Firebird, Soho

Whether it’s halloumi, fish, meat or the ingredients for a belter of a cocktail, almost everything at Firebird has been prepared on an open fire. But it’s more elegant than that sounds. Calm and sophisticated, the interiors belie the bustle of Oxford Street outside. Grace Dent wrote in The Guardian: ‘The standard of cooking, matched with genuinely intriguing and appetising dishes, puts Firebird right up there on my list of 2022’s important openings.’ Book it.

By Becky Ladenburg
July 2022

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.