Fancy getting up close and personal with some of the city’s top chefs? Book the best seat in the house at one of these Chef’s Tables, where diners are invited to see behind the scenes at some of London’s finest eateries. From swanky private dining rooms in Mayfair to theatrical displays in Fitzrovia, these are the best Chef’s Tables in London…
Michelin-starred Valencian chef Quique Dacosta’s recently opened paella palace is a celebration of rice – something so integral to Quique’s cooking he decided to write a whole book about it. The 10-person Chef’s Table is located on the ground floor of Arros QD, giving diners the chance to see paella being cooked theatrically a la llama (“to the flame”) on the restaurant’s impressive six-metre stove.
With its inconspicuous frontage, one can’t help but feel ‘in the know’ upon arriving at Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House. Regulars will be aware of the speakeasy-style bar hidden above the restaurant: a dimly-lit, cosy space with antique mirrored ceilings and a copper-topped bar. Even more secret, though, is the chef’s counter, tucked away in the lower ground kitchen area. Seating just eight guests, this intimate experience offers the chance to enjoy Michelin-starred food while watching top-class chefs at work. Chef Paul Hood moved over from sister restaurant Pollen Street Social to run the kitchen, and unsurprisingly he does a stellar job. The Chef’s Counter menu offers an impressive nine-course spread featuring scallops with smoked avocado, foie gras with sesame vegetables, lamb with cardamom and lentils, and an optional cheese selection.
Hidden inside Adam Handling’s Covent Garden restaurant is The Library, a private dining room complete with its own kitchen, waiting staff and sommeliers. Accessed via a hidden doorway, the space is elegant and intimate, seating 20 guests. Food-wise, expect a winning combination of seasonal and flavoursome, presented beautifully and with the lightly theatrical touch Adam is famous for. Their current offering includes mushroom agnolotti with black garlic; salt-aged duck with peach and burnt cream; white asparagus, tagliatelle and Champagne cream; and a chocolate tofu dessert served with cranberry and coconut.
Dining’s Chelsea follow-up, Dinings SW3 is a glossy sushi spot centred around traditional izakaya cuisine. Their luxurious chef’s counter is positioned right in front of the kitchen, giving diners a front seat in the prepping process, which involves whizzing together an array of colourful sushi and sashimi tapas-style plates with both flair and impeccable attention to detail.
You can pretty much guarantee everything served within Angela Hartnett’s bracket will be outstanding, but the private dining experience offered at her Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant Murano is extra special. The elegant room accommodates 12 guests – seated around an oval table – with a window offering a direct view into the kitchen, where Angela and her top team will be cooking up a special tasting menu. Though without a doubt a fine dining restaurant, Murano breaks Mayfair traditions with its relaxed atmosphere and large portion sizes. The menu is a reflection of Angela’s Italian upbringing – think lobster linguine, buffalo mozzarella, and turbot with seaweed butter, mussels and clams, alongside a predominantly Italian wine list.
The Mandarin Oriental is home to one of the world’s most famous and cutting-edge chefs, culinary wizard Heston Blumenthal. Here the Chef’s Table offering caters f0r four to six guests, with a bespoke menu created for your party by Chef Director Ashley Palmer-Watts. Worlds away from your average dinner, eating here is a gastronomic journey of showstopper dishes, all inspired by British history. A heads up: it’s pricey, so your wallet may not thank you – but your stomach definitely will…
After first opening its doors back in 1986, Launceston Place quickly became a hotspot for the rich and famous – even said to be Princess Diana’s local. Housed in a mid-century townhouse in South Kensington, the restaurant remains as trendy as it was back then, in part thanks to the string of top chefs who have headed up its kitchen over the years. Their Chef’s Table is served in a private dining room and seats up to 12 guests, with both three and seven course menus available, paired with wines selected by head sommelier Maciej Lyko. Alternatively, opt for The Discovery Menu: a surprise menu prepared by current head chef Ben Murphy, previously at The Woodford in Essex. This can be tailored to your party’s preferences, but rest assured it’ll be impressive – Ben is known for his artful, elaborate style of cooking, which tends to feature unique flavour combinations and playful presentation.