London is the place to be at the moment and to celebrate our fair city we've teamed up with Grant Thatcher, the publishing editor of LUXE City Guides, to bring you the top ten must-visit bars and restaurants...
Do one thing and do it really well. You come to the Wright Brothers for the freshest fish and seafood, with blackboard specials, warm and swift service and zero pretension. You cant miss the raw bar at the front, but the relaxed vibe of the main brasserie area is where I like to sit.
WRIGHT BROTHERS SOHO WEBSITE
Whimsy and delight abound at this characterful and eccentric sitting room bar designed by Russell Sage, complete with a taxidermy transvestite cat, log fires, squidgy sofas and acres of oil paintings. The signature house cocktails offer up some bold and unusual combinations, and the small, but elegant crowd are always friendly.
Fight for your seat whether it be lunch or dinner. Chef Brett Grahams magic wand has entranced the palettes of almost everyone who manages to score one of the prized 55 covers in this temple of simple sophistication. Featured at #14 on the Worlds 50 Best Restaurant list this 2 star Michelin eatelier is the perfect fine dining blend of urbane and sophisticated, but deliciously relaxed and welcoming. It really is a treat, and you really will need to book far ahead.
Low-lit and ambient this cellar bar under the deeply loved Hix restaurant in Soho is a den of Chesterfield sofas, moody mirrors and inventive drinks using artisanally sourced ingredients. Friendly and relaxed, it makes a very pleasant bolt-hole from the fierce see and be scene vibe of Soho. And dont forget the delicious Hix bar snax too!
Sassy, industrial chic Spuntino serves up great little plates of Italian American tapas, with a side of raucous and hip. Think truffled egg toast, macaroni cheese and of course their famed peanut butter & jelly sandwich the perfect hangover cure. No bookings, no exceptions, turn up, queue, eat, go.
Sister to the famous Wolseley, and equally popular morning, noon and night, the Viennese café menu features not only schnitzels and wieners, but a whole raft of comfort classics and day-long treats. Perfect for pre- or post theatre, but do book ahead and even then, be aware you may still have to wait a while at the bar.
No fanfair, faff or silly cocktail umbrellas here. As youd expect from my favourite London hotel, The Connaught gets it right first time, every time. The Coburg Bar is always a treat at any time of day, though particularly at that delicious, gloaming hour betwixt afternoon tea and cocktail hour, when the chink of china gives way to the clink of crystal.
Leave everything you know about cocktails outside and just go with the flow at this rare spirits speakeasy that has trounced all comers in its native Paris. Set in a Georgian townhouse over two floors, its as well to reserve a table ahead if you can, or face the ignominy of trying to look fresh and fashionable while standing.
Demure, understated, under the radar, unpretentious, with no urge or desire to try and be trendy or remotely hip, the Dukes Hotel bar has for years served my favourite martini and Vesper. Its the benchmark as far as Im concerned, and all the better that the regulars who go there couldnt give a fig about the London scene.
The Meat Fruit and Tipsy Pudding with roast pineapple are already the stuff of legend, and the restaurants placing at #9 on the Worlds 50 Best Restaurant list is proof positive that the wizard Blumenthal and his protégée Ashley Palmer-Watts have struck a vein of flawless diamond cookery. The staff clearly love what they do and are as knowledgeable as they are passionate. Whoever said old-fashioned recipes were old-fashioned is now clearly eating their words, or rather Hestons. Book very well ahead.