Keen to get back out there and support restaurants, but not feeling ready to be around lots of people? Book one of the capital’s many private dining rooms for a small group of friends or family. From outdoor cabanas to a room dedicated to pies, here are our favourites.
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Sam Harrison’s new west London spot was only open for a few months before the pandemic hit, but the restaurant is now back up and running – including its private dining room. The space seats up to 16 guests, complete with a bespoke painting by artist Tomo Campbell and beautiful views of the Thames.
There’s ample space for private dining at Brunswick House, a Georgian mansion in Vauxhall dating back to the mid-17th century. The house – which once belonged to the eponymous Duke – is filled with antiques and reclaimed furniture: sparkling chandeliers sit beside spectacular chimneypieces, colonnades and cut glass entranceways. You can hire out all of its rooms for exclusive use, but for smaller groups The Library is your best bet. A lofty panelled room with a period objects and a fireplace, the space seats up to 10 guests for a seated meal – which will involve top-notch food from acclaimed chef Jackson Boxer.
Bob Bob Ricard
With its sparkling gold interiors, sexy
Soho spot Bob Bob Ricard feels like stepping back in time to the opulent Jazz Age. It’s private dining room takes things a step further, modelled on the imperial dining car on a train: think velvet blinds, train-style windows and their iconic ‘press for champagne’ buttons. The room seats up to 16 guests, with a minimum spend of £900 at lunch and £1400 at dinner. bobbobricard.com
A Chelsea stalwart,
Italian restaurant Daphne’s celebrated its 55th birthday this year. With its pink marble-topped bar and Venetian glass chandeliers, this ever-popular spot perfectly combines Italian comforts with Chelsea glamour. The private dining room is located in the conservatory, creating an al fresco feel during the summer months. It’s a larger space than many of its competitors, accommodating up to 40 guests for dinner or 50 for a drinks and canapes celebration. daphnes-restaurant.co.uk
Exotic Fitzrovia hotel The Mandrake recently launched private cabanas on the hotel’s outdoor Jurema terrace, from which guests are invited to feast on dishes from on-site restaurant YOPO. Dishes available include grilled lamb shoulder tacos with raw pea, jalapeno and tomatillo salsa, fish tacos and smoked cheese quesadillas. There are 10 bookable cabanas seating either four or five people, with prices starting from £300 for two hours.
Holborn Dining Room
By day, Holborn Dining Room’s Pie Room stands as a homage to one of Britain’s most loved dishes. But come evening, you can hire it out for private dining for up to ten guests. Head Chef Calum Franklin serves up two menus here, including a tasting menu dedicated to pies – from a lobster thermidor tart to a steak and kidney pudding. Better still: it’s a sight for the eyes as well as the tastebuds, with red leather seating, candelabras and metal pie moulds on the walls.
Undoubtedly one of the most special spots to dine in the city is Hutong on the 33rd floor of the Shard. With dark red, moody interiors and a traditional Chinese wishing tree where guests hang their wishes on branches, Hutong oozes the romance of fairy tales and is an absolute delight. There are two private dining rooms available for hire: the Shanghai room which seats up to 16 guests, and the Beijing room which seats up to 24. Both feature intricately carved wooden doors, moon gates and traditional red lanterns, with spectacular views of the city skyline.
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.
A baroque ballroom with a huge gilded chandelier centrepiece, Jason Atherton’s Berners Tavern is one of the grandest dining rooms in London. There are private dining spaces seating up to 14 guests, featuring long dark tables, rose upholstered chairs and atmospheric lighting.
Frog by Adam Handling
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 veal sweetbread, BBQ Scottish lobster, wagyu beef with ox tongue and elderflower with gooseberries and wild herbs.
Ollie Dabbous’ three-storey Michelin-starred Hide has four private dining rooms within its Piccadilly confines, each designed by a different artist to embody a whimsical theme. For groups of 20 or more opt for the mezzanine space, which has its own entrance, car lift and facilities. Smaller groups, meanwhile, can cosy up in one of the three rooms in the restaurant’s basement. There’s The Reading Room, designed around chapter and verse, The Broken Room, themed around the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete, or The Shadow Room, a place which plays with light, shadows and edges to create an atmosphere where not everything is as it seems. Whichever room you choose, delicious food is a given.
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