Today’s post is inspired by a variety of conversations I’ve had, both online and offline, when people have asked about interesting places to take parents or friends that have character and will impress. It is true that there are a whole host of options available to any Londoner, I have a few options that I always rely on and suggest to others. Each of these establishments feels special and has a quiet air of eccentricity without looking overly flashy. More importantly, however, they all offer an experience to their consumers which heightens any meal and will leave your guests thanking you for taking them there…
One of the best kept secrets in London, yet is based just outside Piccadilly Circus station and regularly overlooked by Londoners and tourists alike. At the back of the sleepy café, you descend down several flights of stairs before arriving in a large atrium. From here you can either enter the Mad Men-esque “Bar Américain” or go through to their grand dining room. Decorated in a similar manner to a classic French restaurant, you are met with a sea of tables and warm atmosphere as friendly staff buzz quietly move around tables.
The menu is simple but incredible quality with a variety of French classics to satisfy your hunger (I particularly recommend the Steak Tartare and the Duck Confit). For those with dietary needs, they have separate vegetarian and gluten free menus, meaning it is suitable for almost any diner. In the evenings there is live jazz and the staff are always happy to accommodate special requests. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a grandiose meal that won’t break the bank. Check it out here.
Despite the somewhat misleading name, this is nothing like a gym and something of a gem planted right outside of King’s Cross station. A double layered, sleek and modern interior is filled with elegant diners enjoying fine food and expertly crafted drinks. It is a fantastic expression of Metropolitan London, with high ceilings, open space and dark wood providing a warm and elegant atmosphere.
Their sparkling wine and champagne selection is definitely worth a look when you arrive, whilst the Lebberknodelsuppe (calf liver dumpling in beef broth) is a personal favourite that is quintessentially Bavarian. Whether you’re just in from a long journey or looking for a space in North London to enjoy quiet cocktails, this is a must see. Check out their site here.
Christopher’s Martini Bar
Cuisine: Fine Bar Food & Cocktails
Located opposite the Lyceum Theatre, between Covent Garden and The Strand, this cocktail bar is a fantastic spot to enjoy some of the best martinis London has to offer, as well as a selection of top class bar food and snacks. The decor is dark marble and bamboo, whilst the focal point of the room is the beautiful glass backbar that reaches all the way up to the ceiling.
Some personal favourites include the Espresso Martini (a classic choice), the chilli & chocolate martini and (for those looking for an extra decadent chocolate cocktail) the Nutella martini whilst the popcorn shrimp and Zucchini fries are fantastic snacks for keeping hunger at bay. An excellent post-theatre haunt and one that is bound to impress family, friends or even a date. Find out more here.
Cuisine: Vegetarian Fusion
Through the backstreets of Chancery Lane hides this stunning and contemporary restaurant that offers its diners a truly revolutionary experience in vegetarian food. Using modern techniques, high quality produce and stunning expertise they completely deconstruct the standard menu and turn it on its head, offering food that is both beautiful to look at and delicious to eat.
Their menu changes seasonally and offers some of the most diverse cuisine in London using recipes sourced from every corner of the globe. Some personal recommendations are the “Inside Out Doughnut” and the sweet potato and puy lentil dhal, both offer a great variety of flavour and character within one of the most modern fine dining spots in London. View their website here.
Boisdale of Belgravia
A true gentleman’s choice for a night out with friends, this is a fantastic restaurant in the heart of Belgravia near Victoria. This restaurant is all about hearty food with Scottish character, in particular the haggis starter which comes with a dram of whisky to accompany it (certainly not for the faint hearted, I assure you). The food is simple but delicious whilst the wine and drinks selection compliments the entire experience.
Upstairs leads to the cigar terrace where you can sit out on a London evening with a fine cigar and well-aged whisky with friends, enjoying the night sky. A personal recommendation would be for the Irish Coffee, one of the best I’ve ever had and certainly hits the spot after a indulgent dinner. A firm recommendation for a meal with your male friends, a high class stag meal or even a smaller birthday party. Find out more on their website here.
That just about wraps up this guide, thank you for checking it out. If you have any questions or recommendations you would like to add, don’t hesitate to comment below and I’ll be happy to answer/discuss them. In the meantime, you can also sign-up to be notified of new posts and follow The Male Stylist activity. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter or Instagram for style inspiration, gentleman’s musings and general fun.