Here are our favourite Mayfair restaurants. Some of the best foodie spots include afternoon tea at The Luggage Room and bottomless brunch at Hix. Check out our ideas for eating and drinking in Mayfair
Davies & Brook, Brook Street – for special-occasion dining
Claridge’s has welcomed the world-renowned chef Daniel Humm to London with new restaurant, Davies and Brook. It’s a return to the iconic London hotel for chef, who did a stint here as a commis aged 15. Now with the three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park in New York to his name – once named number one in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants – Daniel has entrusted the newly renovated kitchen within Claridges to Estonian exec chef Dmitri Magi.
Fans of Fera, the restaurant’s previous incarnation, will notice Davies and Brook’s lighter, brighter and all-together more modern decor. It’s definitely fancy – crisp white tablecloths, plush velvet chairs, seamless service – but it’s playful, too. Have a giggle at the suggestive photography of Icelandic hills by American artist Roni Horn.
At dinner time you can take the tasting menu (£145 per person) for the table or order from the à la carte (four courses, with extras, for £98) – do the latter if you want the biggest variety of dishes. This is special-occasion, best-meal-of-your-life territory, so make the most of it. Whether you order poached lobster and sweet squash or king crab in a slippery chawanmushi custard; the signature dry-aged duck with honey and lavender or the most tender, crisp-skinned parmesan-stuffed poussin with lemon and fennel; sugar-dusted doughnuts that sparkle like diamonds or soft-serve honey ice cream, you’ll be satisfied.
This is a meal you’re going to want to remember so, if you’re keen to pace yourself, or don’t fancy the full wine flight (at £95 per person), order one flight between two. And, if you’re as big a food geek as us, ask for a tour of the shiny new kitchen.
Kitty Fisher’s, Shepherd Market – for bistro
Red velvet curtains welcome diners into this intimate bistro. A handful of tables sit snugly beside a bar, behind which jars of home-made rhubarb gin, turmeric syrup and fig leaf vodka nestle in amongst trinkets. A creaky wooden staircase in the back corner takes you down past the kitchen into the intimate basement dining room, where dusty-pink banquettes line walls decorated with antique paintings.
Start with a round of cocktails. A boozy hanky panky is a more delicate and floral twist on the negroni, while the restaurant’s signature Bad Kitty has a subtle sparkle and a syrupy sloegin edge. Order all the bite-sized snacks. A smoky stack of Welsh rarebit is finished on the open grill to make Montgomery’s cheddar cheese extra golden; crisp ham hock and jowl croquettes melt in the mouth; fresh, dill-flecked bream tartare is topped with apple slices and grassy green leaves, and a silky-smooth splodge of chicken liver parfait comes with pieces of quince on a seeded cracker.
Mains are cooked on a wood-fired grill so take 20-25 minutes to arrive, but it’s worth the wait. Pork presa is soft and pink with charred edges, accompanied by a pig-cheek sausage, candied heritage carrots and plums, while meaty monkfish comes on a rich bed of aubergines and tomatoes. Get involved with the sides, too – crunchy layers of deep-fried pressed potatoes or wood-fired Hispi cabbage lifted with mustard seeds, described correctly by the owner as “buttery wonderfulness”. For pudding, try the hazelnut and chocolate ganache with brown butter ice cream, covered in a dome of fluffy hazelnut mousse and dusted in cocoa powder.
Kanishka, Maddox Street – for regional Indian
The first Indian chef in the world to receive a Michelin star, Atul Kochhar reminds us why he’s been so decorated in his 30-year career, with his glamorous two-floor Mayfair restaurant centering on lesser-known, more remote regions of his homeland and neighbouring countries.
Let chef guide you with the set or tasting menus, or explore via the à la carte. This might be a refined dining experience but portions are far from dainty – expect to leave full. In our case, this is thanks to seafood Alleppey curry, which sees a gentle bathing of sweet, soft shellfish, kissed by heat – portly scallops, tenderised squid and butterflied prawns – in a sauce exquisitely balanced with coconut, curry leaves and mustard seeds.
Gridiron by Como, Old Park Lane – for upmarket grill
Taking over the spot of the former Met Bar (cool cats will remember it was theplace to be in Mayfair in the Nineties and Noughties), Gridiron’s drama comes from its open kitchen, complete with real fire, flanked by a marble counter, dark woods, and blood-red and racing-green seating.
Food is the stuff of death-row dining dreams. Save room for the mains (simple but superb) and as many sides (outstanding) as you dare. There’s little for veggies and diddly for vegans – meat here reigns king. Highland sirloin comes served medium rare, as chef recommends, on the bone and with a just-right kiss of smoke. It’s joined on the menu by Middle White pork, Barnsley hogget and venison saddle, as well as a few more steaks, but we’re sidetracked by roasted turbot – sticky, gelatinous, and bobbing decadently in a creamy, roasted chicken butter sauce. Desserts are familiarly classic (and rib sticking), from sticky toffee pudding to banana eton mess.
The drinks here should get just as high a billing as the food, with brothers Max and Noel Venning of Dalston’s Three Sheets behind the cocktails, and esteemed food and wine writer Fiona Beckett all over le vin. We start with a clear, silky White Russian with smooth vodka, coffee made mellow by miso, and clarified milk. It’s the best interpretation of this classic that we’ve tried.
Sabor, Heddon Street – for authentic tapas vibes
With a friendly service style and nods to Andalucían tapas bars (colourful tiles, high tables), Nieves Barragán Mohacho and José Etura have nailed the authentic feel of bars found all over Spain. Wait in the lively brick-walled bar area and whet your appetite with mushroom croquetas and cured presa Iberica. Charismatic José will then seat you at a counter overlooking the open kitchen, where conversation with the Spanish chefs is encouraged.
Sabor means ‘flavour’ in Spanish, and there’s plenty of that in the restaurant’s small plates – tiny deep-fried shrimp served with a crispy, paprika-dusted fried egg, golden croquetas and chubby mussels ‘a la Bilbaina’ slurped up a light sauce of tomatoes, sherry, sherry vinegar and herbs. Sobrasada, the soft paprika sausage from Menorca, come in a rusty rubble on top of lightly crushed new potatoes, bobbing in a garlic cream. Desserts tick every box – chocolatey bombas, sharp and creamy rhubarb and mascarpone tartlets, and an inspired goat’s cheese ice cream with a liquorice sauce rounded off a perfect meal.
The all-Spanish wine list begins with txakoli, the lightly effervescent Basque wine that’s poured from a dramatic height. Or try fresh and zingy rosé with a touch of red fruit, along with a couple of saline fino sherries. There’s vermouth on tap, too!
Scott’s, Mount Street – for seafood
Celebrity haunt Scott’s has been a resident of Mount Street since 1967 but it actually dates back to 1851 when it was opened as an oyster warehouse, making it one of London’s five oldest restaurants. This Mayfair establishment has welcomed the great and the good for decades, and it’s where James Bond creator Ian Fleming is said to have discovered his ‘shaken not stirred’ dry martini.
Since 2005, Scott’s has been owned by Richard Caring, who has retained the restaurant’s character, right down to the bowler-hatted doormen. Eat in either the oyster and champagne bar or the stylish dining room, where blackened miso salmon and goujons of Cornish sole and tartare sauce are among the signature dishes.
Rüya, Upper Grosvenor Street – for upmarket Turkish
Fittingly swish for its Mayfair locale, Rüya’s interior is expansive and sleekly outfitted, with lush autumnal and jewel tones, metallic accents and pretty tiling everywhere.
Though replete with Turkish flavours and ingredients (specifically those from the Anatolian region), chef patron Colin Clague’s immaculately plated, fine-dining fare is more of a riff on the cuisine – although you will find plenty of traditional dishes such as gözleme and lahmacun. Try burnt watermelon with sheep’s cheese, tomatoes and pine nuts, and 24-hour slow-cooked chilli BBQ glazed short rib, with unctuous, falling-apart meat and a velvety chickpea purée.
Another reason to visit Rüya is its cocktail list, which is themed around different Anatolian localities. We liked its sweeter take on a negroni, with Turkish coffee-infused Antica Formula vermouth and tonka bean.
Indian Accent, Albemarle Street – for elegant Indian
Set over two floors, the décor has a restrained opulence – deep-green velvet banquettes, clothless dark wooden tables, parquet flooring, walls of smoky mirrors and accents of gold. It delivers its promise, too – a menu with a loud whisper of Indian flavours from chef-owner Manish Mehrotra, breaking free from the confines of what diners might perceive ‘Indian food’ should be. Try Kashmiri morel mushrooms stuffed with duxelle, dusted in walnut powder and baked, with an umami-rich cream and lacy parmesan crisp, the signature dish of soy keema (a veggie take on the street-ffod staple), and a northern-Indian-style dessert of makhan malai (a cloud of saffron milk foam, bejewelled with rose petals, almonds and gold leaf). You can get a whisky or wine flight with your meal (we choose the latter).
Dickie’s Bar, Upper Grosvenor Street – for late-night Irish cocktails
Renowned Irish chef Richard Corrigan has joined forces with Gregory Buda from New York’s Dead Rabbit (World’s Best Bar 2016) to bring an elegant late-night cocktail bar to Corrigan’s Mayfair. Dickie’s Bar oozes Irish charm and, naturally, Irish whiskies feature heavily in cocktails – Jameson Black Barrel is combined with peach, bergamot, vanilla and lemon to create soft and smooth Stage Door Johnny; while dark and punchy Professional Stalker showcases Powers John’s Lane 12-year-old whiskey along with allspice and fig.
Illustrations and anecdotes in the menu showcase ingredients picked and shipped over daily from Richard’s 100-acre Virginia Park Lodge in Ireland. Sit on burnt-orange leather stools at the wood-panelled, marble- topped bar and sniff at the various infusions that the team conjures up.
Lucknow 49, Maddox Street – for affordable Indian
Lucknow 49 might look more traditional that its Soho sister restaurant, Dum Biryani, but regulars to Dhruv’s first restaurant will certainly recognise his love of hip hop and R&B on the playlist. There’s ivy-green walls framed by a dado rail and floral wallpaper, paisley and patterned cushions, clothless wooden tables and staff who have a clear love for what they do.
Very rarely seen here in the UK, the luxurious flavours and cooking techniques of the Indian city of Lucknow (thanks to its royal residents) are celebrated here on Maddox Street – melt-in-your-mouth beef patties that are bound with green papaya paste and more than 50 spices, lamb leg slow cooked for 12 hours with another 30 spices and chicken thighs, slow cooked again, in a rich brown onion and cashew gravy, brightened with vetiver, which is like a clap of dried limes. The biryanis are as good as you’ll find in Dhruv’s DUM Biryani – the rice super soft, with defined individual grains – while the moong dal makhani, with whole moong lentils cooked in milk for six hours, is surprisingly spicy and zinging with fresh green chilli flavour.
Cocktails include silky, sweet, sour and floral ABA pisco sour with rose syrup, whisky with lapsang souchong, kumquat liqueur and sweet vermouth, and a negroni made with craft Indian Jaisalmer gin, artichoke liqueur and chai bitters.
Sketch, Conduit Street – for contemporary afternoon tea
Aside from the other-worldly surroundings, the highlight of afternoon tea at Sketch has to be the tea itself. Waitresses scoot golden tea trollies around the room, each one stacked with glass jars of aromatic loose leaf teas – there are at least 40 to pick from, including whole rosebud, matcha, white peony and Taiwan red jade. Feel free to sniff before you choose, and refills are complimentary.
Sketch’s caviar afternoon tea begins, as expected, with a spoon of rich, creamy Oscietra caviar (from Russian sturgeon) – vegetarians get little pearls of cold cauliflower as a clever substitute. Even more enjoyable was the accompanying take on boiled egg and soldiers: a 63 degrees egg yolk nestled inside a deeply flavoursome ‘egg white’ made from comté cheese mornay. Utterly indulgent, and one of the most exciting, innovative ways to kick off an afternoon tea that we’ve ever seen.
Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill, Swallow Street – for oysters
Richard Corrigan has worked in restaurants for 35 years and is now the chef-owner of Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill in Mayfair, which has been open for more than a century. World-famous for its seafood and shellfish, Bentley’s is also revered for its exceptional service.
The oyster bar at Bentley’s is one of the things Richard is most proud of, and during the native oyster season from September to April, his staff will shuck more than 1,000 oysters a day. “There’s always an element of fun,” says Richard.
The Ritz, Picadilly – for traditional afternoon tea
The Ritz is as iconic as the Queen, and this institutional British hotel keeps up tradition by serving 350 afternoon teas every day. It’s only fitting that afternoon tea at The Ritz is a lavish affair; the formal dress code requires men to wear shirt and tie, doors are opened for you by folk in top hats, and the resident pianist, Ian Gomes, who flutters away most days during afternoon tea service, used to play with Frank Sinatra.
Afternoon tea at The Ritz is taken in the Palm Court, an area raised up from the rest of the hotel’s lobby like a marble-floored stage. The Louis XVI-style set is beautifully ornate, with pristine white tablecloths laid out beneath intricate chandeliers, giant palms and gold-gilt mirrors.
Choose from the 18-strong tea menu that has been curated and exclusively blended by The Ritz’s tea sommelier, Giandomenico Scanu. There are black tea blends, fermented Oolongs, herbal fruit teas and even The Ritz’s own Chai. We tried The Ritz Royal English, a classic black tea blend, combining aromatic Ceylon orange pekoe and rich Assam.
Cubé, Blenheim Street – for sushi and Japanese ‘tapas’
This sleek, intimate restaurant brings sushi and Japanese ‘tapas’ with a fine dining twist to Mayfair. Butter-soft scallops are a must if you’re a seafood obsessive; perfectly cooked, they came drizzled with an intense sea urchin butter so delicious we nearly drank it directly from the scallop shell it was served in. The soft, tender lamb with a bronzed, crisp ribbon of fat was another hit; the sour, refreshing oroshi a clever spin on a classic mint sauce.
Ginza Onodera, Bury Street – for high-end Japanese
The menu is extensive and detailed at this Mayfair institution, starting with kobachi (little snacks) followed by starters, sashimi and sushi, tempura, soups, robata and teppanyaki. Ginza Onodera’s prestigious Mayfair location is reflected in the liberal use of high-end, luxurious ingredients, from Kobe beef to Norwegian king crab. The best way to sample a little of everything is to try one of the sushi platters; from plump slices of butter-soft, fatty marbled tuna and luscious scoops of sea urchin to (predictably good) slices of Kobe beef and creamy seared yellowtail. Cocktails include the Panacea, a boozy Japanese take on a corpse reviver.
The Luggage Room, London Marriott hotel – for afternoon tea
The Luggage Room is a speakeasy-bar-cum-afternoon-tea-lounge hidden underneath the London Marriott hotel in Mayfair. The award-winning bar has won favour with tourists and socialites alike and the 1920s prohibition-inspired low tea menu, which, launched in March 2016, hopes to match this level of success and popularity. Try peppery Devonshire wild boar sausage roll, dreamy scone trifle served in a little jam jar, and salted caramel meringues.
Nine different leaves, of various flavours and intensity, are offered up in tapered nosing glasses. After smelling and learning about their origins, we opted for the award winning white apricot tea (a light and floral brew) and the lapsang souchong (strong and tobaccoy, it was not for the faint hearted).
No.5 Social, Pollen Street – for British comfort food
After six years in operation Jason Atherton closed his French bistro, Little Social, and reopened it as a modern British outfit. The dark-wood interiors of Little Social have been replaced with a lighter, softer look – the long, narrow space reimagined with duck-egg-green walls, caramel wood panelling, dusty-blue velvet banquettes with pink cushions, and statement rattan light fittings.
British ingredients take centre stage on the menu – Cumbrian beef, pork and lamb, Isle of Wight tomatoes and Orkney scallops all make appearances – and the kitchen has an enjoyably sumptuous approach to sauces. Tender beef tartare encased in a soft cannelloni lounges in a luscious foie gras sauce, while a creamy, silky artichoke and hazelnut sauce bathes buttery morsels of native lobster. Rich Herdwick lamb chop and fall-apart braised neck are balanced by summer peas, mint and cucumber. Petits fours of fudgy, salted caramel financier petit fours are not to be missed.
The cocktail list has a garden theme – try the likes of rhubarb wine with sloe ginand rosehip cup, or cucumber gin with pea cordial, fennel and sorrel. The (old- world-heavy) wine list has plenty of choice by the glass. Spot-on recommendations from the sommelier include a salty albariño and an earthy sangiovese.
Elystan Street, Elystan Street – for contemporary European
Open all day, this contemporary restaurant serves “delicious, clean, ingredient-led dishes, full of natural vitality,” according to chef Phil Howard, in an elegant space designed by Clare Nelson. It’s a 64-seat dining room with near floor-to-ceiling windows lining two walls, blue and soft salmon coloured chairs, and teal leather banquettes.
The food is modern British, with dishes typically including smoked mackerel velouté with Porthilly oysters, leek hearts and eel toast; fillet of cod with lightly curried cauliflower purée, golden raisins, coriander and lime; and roasted figs with goat’s milk ice cream, lemon and thyme fritters and olive oil. There’s also a dedicated lunch menu and a Sunday lunch menu that includes a house cocktail.