When it comes to destination eateries and hot spots to see and be seen, the British capital is more than capable of holding a candle to New York and its ever-changing fads. So it comes as no surprise that the top five eateries in The Hollywood Reporter's last list back in June have all been replaced, if not entirely usurped, by yet more buzz-worthy and chichi locations.
Wolfgang Puck has brought his modern American steak restaurant to Park Lane, Mayfair’s poshest strip. Set up in the Dorchester Group’s latest hotel venture and billed as the famous lodge’s hipper little sister, Puck’s restaurant mirrors the original Cut in Beverly Hills.
It promises diners prime dry- and wet-aged beefs, salads and pan-roasted lobster. It also has an extensive handpicked wine list for European imbibers and seating for 70 guests on the ground floor.
A spiral staircase leads to a first floor library and Bar 45, with bar dining for 30 scenesters available. The hotel’s interiors come from the imagination of New York-based designer Thierry Despont and the kitchen is run by Puck’s right-hand-man for years, David McIntyre.
45 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1PN, +44 20 7493 4554
Puck may have Tinseltown cache, but for the bigwigs and moguls, British beef mixed with East End cool is catered for at Hawksmoor. The original restaurant, at Spittalfields, London’s world-renowned wholesale butcher’s marketplace, remains a destination for the more discerning carnivores.
Diners can sink their teeth into a steak cut from a Longhorn, the oldest purebred cattle in the U.K. with a couple of fried eggs atop and chipped potatoes cooked in beef dripping while enjoying a bottle of 1982 Petrus which comes in at an eye-watering $14,000 per bottle.
157 Commercial St., London, E1 6BJ, +44 20 7247 7392
3. The Ledbury
The trendy, high-end West London eatery has made headlines -- and not just for its exquisite menu and two-Michelin-star fine dining. Indeed, this restaurant hit the news during this year’s riots, which saw central London gripped for several days by civil unrest and social disturbance sin August.
At the height of the disorder, diners in the restaurant found themselves under siege from rioters who stormed the eatery, demanding wallets, jewelry and other trinkets from them. But the waiters and chefs stepped up to the plate armed with kitchen tools, driving out the interlopers before leading customers into the wine cellar for protection.
Australian chef Brett Graham leads the Ledbury’s gastronomic charge, offering diners delights such as loin and shoulder of lamb with green tomato juice and aubergine glazed with black sugar and garlic or roast sea bass with watercress, cauliflower and potted shrimp butter.
127 Ledbury Rd., London, W11 2AQ, +44 20 7792 9090
Situated in one of London’s top hotels, a place where Jon Bon Jovi has stayed when he’s playing to sell-out crowds, Heston Blumenthal’s latest venture is drawing its own groupies. And very positive notices. Blumenthal is a world-renowned English chef famous for running and owning the Fat Duck, a three-Michelin-star eatery in Bray, and a veteran of myriad television shows showcasing his unique approach to eating, modern science and 21st century cooking techniques.
His first venture outside Bray, this menu at the Mandrain Oriental Hyde Park is billed as being inspired by historic British gastronomy and includes the dates from which the dishes are meant to have first appeared. So diners will find starter offers of the chef’s famous snail porridge (c. 1660) or salamugundy (c. 1720), a combo of smoked calves heart, beetroot, horseradish and walnut. Mains include powdered duck (c. 1670), complete with smoked confit fennel and umbles (deer entrails) or the relatively modern cod in cider (c. 1940) that comes with chard and fired mussels.
66 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LA, +44 20 7201 3833
After all the meat and fine dining, this final destination on the list is hipster chic, relaxed and is a different scene depending on what time of the day it’s visited. Early morning meetings over breakfast at this London brasserie will likely see execs from Rentrak discussing that weekend’s box office hits and misses over a chilled grapefruit, buttermilk pancakes or chorizo hash browns. At lunch, film company types from the North of Oxford Street enclave dubbed Noho (North Soho) by media wags may be found talking up their latest projects over the brasserie’s selection of small plates, which can include salt cod fritters and red pepper aioli or veal and pork sausage with lentils, mustard and sage.
Diners, after enjoying one or two of the eatery’s signature cocktails, might find themselves discussing the latest media merger or the phone-hacking scandal fallout for James Murdoch over dishes such as whole roast turbot or venison sourced from the royal family’s highland retreat, Balmoral.
43-51 Great Titchfield St., London, W1W 7PQ, +44 20 7927 0840