London's best restaurants for a business lunch
It’s owned by Fortnum & Mason and sits bang on London’s famous tailoring strip, so grown-up old-school treats are guaranteed at this glamorous, hushed dining room – 45 even has its own dedicated caviar trolley (accompanying eggs are scrambled at your lacquered table). Plates of grouse and Dover sole are also guaranteed to impress.
It sounds like the ultimate posh-dosh dream-ticket: a jet-setting superstar chef with three Michelin stars overseeing a restaurant in a legendary Park Lane hotel. Of course, prices take no prisoners in this reverential French gastro-temple, although the three-course ‘lunch hour’ menu is a steal in such rarefied surrounds.
Owner D&D London understands its City clientele, so expect smooth-as-silk service and reliably consistent cooking at this minimalist, monochrome restaurant high above Moorgate’s mayhem. Michelin-starred fish cookery is the name of the game, and you can have anything from two to six courses from the daily fixed-price lunch menu.
Venue says Join us this Autumn on our rooftop terrace and enjoy our partnership with Talisker, to bring a taste of the Isle of Skye to the City.
There are discreet booths for deal brokering, but also expect plenty of bubbly chatter at Bellanger – a neighbourhood offering from grand café supremos Corbin & King. Prix-fixe menus run all day, so you can lunch early or late at this spacious Islington rallying point. The food? French with Alsatian regional overtones.
Like ‘Hoppers for people with money’, this City offshoot of the Soho hit comes on like a swanky low-lit Indian grill. Expect super-slick service and a warren of little rooms that are just the ticket for discreet-but-buzzy business-lunching over fried fish ‘paos’, clove-scented samosas and ox-cheek vindaloo. A new jewel on Bloomberg Arcade.
Venue says Rugby fever is sweeping across Brigadiers from 20th Sept to 2nd Nov with match day menus including a dedicated Guinness Butler Service.
With its art deco bar and tables primed for lunch meetings, Cabotte is built for City slickers needing somewhere tasteful to get on with business over some decent French food and wine (it’s run by two of London’s big-name sommeliers). The cooking is classy, but not overly adventurous – so you won’t get distracted.
Out to impress? Be sure to book a table on the gorgeous mezzanine gallery of this double-height blast from the past, where French brasserie classics cosy up beside the greatest hits of continental cooking. Prices are friendly, although the two-course ‘Monico menu’ takes some beating if you’re lunching on a budget.
City business lunches don’t have to be flashy, formal or time-consuming: you can easily do the chat or close that deal over a swift slab of quiche Lorraine, an omelette or even a loaded baguette. Cue Café Sou – a plush Parisian-style café within Soho House’s sprawling Ned complex. You’ll be in and out within 40 minutes.
Zebra-striped floors, wraparound windows, a marble-topped bar, white-jacketed staff… Cecconi’s is nattily tailored for hedge-fund business lunches with an Italian flavour. Tables are at a premium and prices are high (this is Mayfair, darling), but there’s no arguing with an all-day menu that touts everything from veal milanese to lobster spaghetti.
The heat (and the hype) may have died down and you no longer need celeb cred to guarantee a table, but Chiltern Firehouse is still in demand for business or pleasure. Staff ooze professionalism, standards are sky-high, and the food is stunningly inventive. Perching at the counter is the most fun, but not ideal if you’re talking the talk.
A great escape from the West End’s shopping bedlam, calming Chisou is an unobtrusive shoo-in for aficionados of pure-bred traditional Japanese cuisine. There’s excellent sushi grazing at the counter, but izakaya-style sharing is the way to go for business lunching in the harmoniously neutral dining room. It’s relaxed and atmospheric, with just the right amount of bustle.
An established haunt of sharp-suited power brokers and Westminster politicos who enjoy swished-up Indian fine-dining in clubby, book-lined surrounds (this grand Grade II-listed building was once the Old Westminster Library). There’s a real sense of occasion about dining here (even if it’s only a working lunch), while set menus keep it affordable.
A bona fide gastronomic institution, Bibendum remains London’s nattiest and most heart-warmingly pleasurable dining room – and a bookmarked certainty for budget-blowing business lunches, especially with two-Michelin-starred über-chef Claude Bosi (ex-Hibiscus) now manning the stoves. It’s unnervingly expensive but overwhelmingly excellent, with polished service and classy wines sweetening the deal.
The very model of a smart-casual neighbourhood restaurant, Clipstone is quietly chic, interesting and exactly what’s required for a sociable business lunch – especially as the set menu rolls in at a very approachable £26 for three courses. Seasonal small plates, sharing dishes, clued-up genial staff and good wines help things along nicely.
If you’re happy to keep things casual, do your lunchtime business over a plate of upscale pub grub in the Coach’s clubby ground-floor bar; otherwise, trade up to the more elegant surrounds of the first-floor dining room. Either way, expect carefully rendered, bourgeois Gallic food from celebrated chef Henry Harris and co.
Sizzling steaks and fish cooked over coals are the headliners at this handsome offshoot of Brighton’s Coal Shed. At lunchtime, all savoury plates are £10.95, so fill your boots from a menu that runs from torched mackerel salad to smoked pork rib with Korean miso. Brilliant staff ensure that business goes swimmingly.
Venue says Celebrate the festive season with our delicious Christmas menus
It’s party time come nightfall at this theatrical City outpost of Peruvian hotspot Coya, but lunchtimes are less frenetic and a good shout if you’re looking for a business meet with a difference – ask for one of the semi-hidden ‘private’ tables. Top deal? The ‘express lunch’ (two small plates plus one bigger plate with rice/salad).
Venue says Join us for COYA Brunch every Saturday for a three-hour bottomless experience filled with delicious cocktails and signature COYA dishes.
Dinings’ charmingly poky Marylebone original isn’t really business lunch territory, but its sleek Chelsea sequel definitely is. With its luxe street-level sushi bar and sunken dining room, it provides a striking backdrop for some subtly complex modern Japanese cooking. Revel in the dialled-up culinary razzmatazz… then seal the deal.
A stalwart for posh City lunches, The Don is elegantly ensconced in what was once Sandeman’s port house – although its clubby surrounds get a modern uplift from John Hoyland’s abstract artworks. Set menus keep bills in check, but you’ll be tempted to splurge once you spot the double-height wine ‘tower’ and the jaw-dropping 400-bin list.
If your client fancies the thrills and chit-chat of an open kitchen, head downstairs; otherwise opt for the bare brick walls, low-hanging lights and green leather of Frenchie’s chic, buzzy ground-floor room. Service is polished, the music’s chilled and the Euro-accented food is bang-on impeccable. Set lunch: £27 for two courses.
A classy destination for clinching deals over red meat and red wine, this branch of the Russian-owned, New York-style steakhouse chain is built for business. Swerve the prosaic lunch menu and go straight for the day’s ‘cuts’ chalked up on the blackboard: perhaps a Dexter porterhouse or Wagyu ribeye – depending on your finances.
With its discreet mews location, Zen-like garden and two-Michelin-starred status, The Greenhouse is a bubble of calm far removed from the showiness of new-money Mayfair – and the perfect place to impress business partners or clients. Expect precision-tuned Euro-accented food matched by a truly magnificent 3,000-bin
A shoo-in for sanguineous steak in Covent Garden and a top joint for power lunching, Hawksmoor’s flagship branch ticks all the boxes: an atmospheric subterranean space with leather booths and flattering lighting; tip-top well-aged British beef; serious wines and killer cocktails. On a tight budget? Choose the fixed-price ‘express’ menu.
The Borough branch of the ace Hawksmoor chain follows the house style to the letter – so business lunchers can expect top-quality British beef, belting wines and smart cocktails, all served in the butch, leather-flecked surrounds of an old hops and fruit warehouse. Fixed-price ‘express menus’ add value, while ‘market’ specials provide variety.
Oyster bar meets clubby dining room at Mark Hix’s original standalone venture, a gloriously relaxed destination for those with business on their minds. With warm, polished service and a superb menu of top-drawer trad British fare, satisfied handshakes are almost certainly guaranteed. The no-choice ‘Oyster & Chop’ menu is a bargain.
Here’s a thrilling ethnic flavour-bomb for London’s ever-curious diners – including business lunchers wanting a change from the usual Euro clichés. ‘Bold heat and umami’ are the twin lures at this hip little terracotta-walled joint, which uses Nigerian ‘jollof’ cuisine as a jumping-off point for boundary-pushing hyper gastronomy. Tempting lunchtime deals are an added incentive.
Forget liking it hot: Indian Accent is for those who like it swish. The dining room looks like one of those international Raj hotels, almost everyone wears a suit and the swanky-pants setting is matched by food that’s pure class. Prices are top-end, although budget business lunchers can order two courses for £25.
Venue says Cool down this summer with a visit to our bar. Serving cocktails featuring inventive flavour combinations, it's the perfect post-work spot.
The vibe suggests a smart, colonial-era gentlemen’s club rather than a cliché laddish curry house, which makes Jamavar spot-on for Mayfair business. Its high-end food is also worth a serious punt, consistency is guaranteed, and service is never less than super-slick. Yes, it’s expensive, but fixed-price lunch menus are gentle on the wallet.
Now holed up in airy site on Shoreditch’s eastern fringes, this achingly stylish Burmese star is ideal if you’re business lunching with a group (rather than doing a one-to-one meet). Request one of their hideaway booths and order as much as you possibly can. The mood is buzzy, service is clued-up and it’s terrific value.
If you’re going for the big sell at lunchtime, this Notting Hill high-roller is top-tier for the gustatory good times. The Ledbury’s two-Michelin-starred status means deadly serious prices (the set lunch menu is £80), but there’s an infectiously hospitable hum to the place and Brett Graham’s unimaginably delicious food is a dead-cert ‘wow’.
Ellory is dead, long live Leroy. It’s the same team, and (almost) the same name as before, but this EC2 reboot of the short-lived Hackney star is more relaxed and miles better than the original. The idea of grazing on Euro-style small plates with terrific wines by the glass is just made for modern business lunches.
You’ll want to sit up straighter, refine your accent and use your cutlery in exactly the right order when dining here. The food is fine French dining at its best (tiny portions, lavish presentation), but Taillevent’s USP is an impressive line-up of 110 wines by the glass. Just right for oenophile clients who need impressing.
Elegant enough for mature Sloanes, stylish enough for yuppies and a no-brainer for business, Lorne is the restaurant of Pimlico’s dreams. The kitchen’s smart and its skilfully cooked modern European food is a perfect fit for the swishly turned-out, slightly feminine dining room. The set lunch brings three courses for £27, and wines are tip-top.
From the bods behind the Clove Club, this classy joint serves up ‘Britalian’ cooking in a hyper-smooth design-mag setting of billowing drapes, burnished mirrors and deco-rustic fittings. Pasta’s the big shout (they make it on site), and there’s an ‘express’ lunch menu in the bar for those with tight schedules and slim wallets.
Previously members only, Lutyens Grill at The Ned is now officially open to the public – but it’s still exclusive. Once a bank manager’s office, it comes on like a clubby wood-panelled NY steakhouse with imperceptible staff patrolling around placidly. Doing business feels just right here, although the bill will probably tell you that you’ve overdone it.
Perfect for City business lunchers on a health kick, this Californian sunshine strip of a restaurant promotes guilt-free ‘clean eating’ within the swanky surrounds of The Ned hotel/club complex. The all-day menu favours veggie and vegan over meat and fish, but there’s something for everyone, including fans of raw food.
Super-sumptuous and hyper-exclusive, Ormer resides within a luxuriously appointed basement room beneath Flemings Mayfair – in other words, this is a serious business-lunch venue for the posh brigade. Shaun Rankin’s high-end Brit-accented food fits the bill, and service is the sort that earns blue ribands. Prices are steep, so you’ll be glad of the set lunch offer.
Serene and elegant, with bucolic views through its arched windows, Orrery achieves the almost impossible – serving up a lunchtime menu of exceptional beauty, glamour and flavour in demure grey-toned surroundings that are the toast of Marylebone. Three courses will just about leave change from £30, without drinks or extras. A business lunch no-brainer.
Everything’s coming up roses at this luxuriant Covent Garden offshoot of Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond. Go on a sunny day, book an early table, and ask to be seated outside in the leafy landscaped courtyard (it’s first come, first served here). Smart Italian food and competent self-assured service come as standard.
Midas-touch Jason Atherton’s Michelin-starred Mayfair flagship promises near-perfect fine dining without over-egging the formality. It’s also custom-built for business: the setting speaks of smart, sleek and unfussy sophistication; well-drilled staff are some of the most professional in the business; the globetrotting wine list is a corker and the lunch menu is a stonking Mayfair bargain.
Famously intended as the canteen for Richard Rogers’ architectural practice, this riverside icon is still a diamond for business – although prices are far from your average workers’ playtime. Still, the Italian regional food is nigh-on faultless and the setting is absolutely gorgeous – summer lunch on the terrace is the way to go.
Head to Rochelle’s swish mezzanine dining room overlooking The Mall if you want to do lunchtime deals over epigrammatically-titled modern dishes such as ‘grilled quail and watercress’. Alternatively, take your laptop downstairs if you simply want to do some brainstorming over a cup of Caravan coffee and a cheese toastie.
Remember the days when business lunches drifted on for hour after hour? Well, you’ll need plenty of time (and money too) if you’re planning to tackle the menu at Simon Rogan’s reprised Roganic. The food is a procession of tiny and technically clever plates, little miracles of nature shot through with inventive, palate-challenging flavours.
This one’s for Shoreditch business types who are protected by gilt-edged expense accounts, and it’s also spot-on if your client is into the alpha pleasures of red meat – in this case txuletón beef from Spain’s Basque region. Sagardi might look a bit like a high-class dungeon, but cast your eye over its gleaming wine cabinets for a boozy break-out.
Venue says Basque Style Christmas Parties - Taking December Bookings now!
It may take a consummately traditional approach to Japanese cuisine, but Sakagura’s look is so modern it’s almost too cool for Mayfair. High-end choices abound, but for a business-friendly taste of things without the financial pain, share some ‘soul food’ appetisers, order the chef’s sushi selection or try a ‘gozen’ bento set.
Venue says celebrating Japanese maple leaf season with an autumn leaf installation and exclusive limited-edition seasonal drinks menu until November.
Jason Atherton’s Michelin-starred Soho outpost is one of his more frenetic outposts but it still cuts it for business – despite the noise, buzz and bustle in the sprawling dining room. Expect pitch-perfect Anglo-European cooking from chef-patron Paul Hood and his skilled brigade backed by sharp service and a terrific Atherton-standard wine list.
A contemporary re-tread of all those Italian restaurants that flooded Chelsea back in the day, Stecca is classy enough for local business without overawing diners: light, airy and casual does it here, despite the smartly laid tables. The food’s in keeping too – up to date, accessible, inviting and easy on the stomach.
Small but lovely, this sibling of Mayfair’s Chisou offers the best of both worlds: it feels old school, but the music’s upbeat and the blowtorch-wielding chefs are from all nations. Fish fans drool over the modish carpaccios, the magnificently silky otoro tuna and the market-fresh ‘omakase’ sushi sets – a perfect sweetener at lunchtime.
Old-fashioned English chop house meets fiery, smoky Indian small plates – that’s the deal at this Covent Garden charmer, which has sociable class written all over it. Tandoor’s all-in lunch thalis (£14 a pop) will really spice up your day (and your business dealings) – and you’ll be totally won over by the cheery, smiley service too.
Savile Row suits, Charles Tyrwhitt shirts and Churchill shoes are almost obligatory in this archaic, velvety-rich bastion of blue-blooded fine dining – so dress for lunch if you want to savour Wiltons’ gargantuan roasts and other pleasurably patriotic repasts. PS: switch off your electronic devices – the only apples and blackberries here are in the fruit crumbles.
Chat and haggle over gargantuan platters of fruits de mer at this diddy Wright Brothers’ outpost, which scores with its cracking vibe and exceptional seafood. Otherwise, there are oysters to slurp if you’re in a hurry, and the set lunch weighs in at around £20. Carnivores fear not: there’s ‘turf’ as well as ‘surf’ here.
From the crew behind Bao, this classy, upmarket Taiwanese joint could have been designed for discreet business with its narrow interior carved up into a bundle of mini-spots spread across two floors (including an exclusive mahjong room for private hire). The food is all-round magnificent, creative and surprising – but not stupidly expensive.
Venue says XU's new brunch menu comes with free-flowing Perrier-Jouët Champagne, for just £25 extra per person! Available Saturdays and Sundays!
A slick restaurant serving traditional Malay food is rare enough in Kuala Lumpur, let alone Chelsea, yet Zheng manages to hit the mark. It may be only a Jimmy Choo totter from the King’s Road, but you don’t need to spend silly money here – although it’s smart enough for doing business over plates of nasi lemak.
This enduring old-timer is defiantly out of step with the times – and that’s the way everyone likes it. The menu (sorry, ‘bill of fare’) is all about top-quality fish cooked the old way, most of the staff have been here for years, and the vibe is ultra-conservative – although rumour has it that you can use your mobile phones these days.
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