Sketch / Edmund Dabney
Hattie Lloyd 21/07/23
When it comes to restaurants in Mayfair, there are really two types on offer: the ones where you’ll scrape your plate, and the ones where you’ll scrape your overdraft.
In this part of London, more than anywhere else, don’t let the pricing on menus fool you – thanks to the rich concentration of, well, rich businessmen and clients to be entertained, there are some ludicrously expensive spots that get away with serving substandard food in glossy but unimaginative surroundings. So what follows here is a list of Mayfair’s exceptional restaurants – the hidden gems, the laid-back havens, and the top-tier eateries that genuinely do pull out all the stops.
These are the best restaurants in Mayfair…
BiBi comes to you from Chet Sharma, a former chef at The Ledbury who went on to be head of menu development for JKS (the over-achieving restaurant family that includes Lyle’s and Hoppers). After a long wait, he opened his debut spot in 2021 (to rave reviews, we might add), serving a tasting menu of dishes like raw orkney scallops with Indian lemonade and wood-grilled Lahori chicken with cashew and yoghurt whey, all washed down with a fine list of cocktails.
Details: 42 North Audley Street, Mayfair, W1K 6ZR | Book here
Noble Rot Mayfair
Proving that dining in Mayfair doesn’t have to be stuffy, this is the hat trick from wine connoisseurs Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew. Just like its predecessors in Bloomsbury and Soho, it’s a beautifully polished, yet slightly mischievous feeling wine-drenched rendezvous, with bottles to please both novices and wine buffs. And the indulgent Modern European menu, designed by head chef Adam Wood and The Sportsman’s Stephen Harris, is a real winner too…
Details: 5 Trebeck St, Shepherd Market, W1J 7LT | Book here
Casa do Frango Piccadilly
Piri-piri chicken often gets lumped in with cheeky meals and low-effort dates, but over at Casa do Frango’s shiny new (and substantially bigger) Mayfair location, they’re making this eternal combo sexy again. Give your chargrilled bird some company in the form of sides like African rice and batatas fritas (traditional Portuguese hand-cut fries) before turning dinner into late-night drinks at their cocktail bar, The Green Room, where you can get acquainted with wines from Portuguese producers and piri-piri margaritas.
Details: 31-33 Heddon St, Mayfair, W1B 4BN | Book here
Third-generation sushi chef Taiji Maruyama works miracles behind the blond wood counter of this eight-seater Mayfair restaurant. Maru is his first solo London venture (after stints at Nobu, and the triple Michelin starred Ginza Koju, in Tokyo’s most upmarket dining district). And he’s wasting no time in blowing everyone away, with a 20 course omakase tasting menu that changes every night…
Details: 18 Shepherd Market, W1J 7QH | Book here
Joining the ranks of London’s fresh pasta joints, Notto serves up simple seasonally-driven pastas (including white crab spaghetti and a herbed ricotta ravioli with walnut sauce) alongside Italian cocktails that bring something extra to the classics, like blood orange bellinis and grapefruit Negronis. The setting is clean and neutral toned, with rattan shades hanging overhead. Overall, there’s notto lot wrong…
Details: 198-200 Piccadilly, W1J 9EZ | Book here
Tucked away down an alleyway in Mayfair, you’ll find Roji, one of the best sushi restaurants in London. It’s a small, elegant, and quintessentially Japanese spot, with husband and wife team Tamas and Tomoko there to greet you. Restaurants don’t get much more intimate than this, with the duo preparing a parade of dishes right before your eyes behind the dining counter, omakase-style (where the chefs decide the menu). And if you thought you knew the meaning of ‘fresh’ sushi, get ready to have that scrapped – because here they prepare the catch of the day literally minutes before it’s in your mouth.
Details: 56B South Molton Street, Mayfair, Central London, W1K 5SH | Book here
Kitty Fisher’s is named after a prominent 17th century British socialite known for once eating a £1,000 banknote at breakfast. You could say she had expensive taste. This eponymous restaurant set in an old Victorian bakery on Shepherd Market doesn’t give you the option of repeating that famous feat, but you can chomp through confit pork belly with XO sauce, grilled venison loin and Belted Galloway wing rib instead. Be sure to finish things off with the sloe-gin and elderflower-based signature cocktail the Bad Kitty, which, in spite of its name, is actually rather good…
Details: 10 Shepherd Market, W1J 7QF | Book here
After popping up across London since 2019, Tendril has finally put down permanent roots by Bond Street station. Easily one of the city’s best vegetarian restaurants, Tendril owes its success to the ingenuity of chef-founder Rishim Sachdeva, who steers clear of all the stereotypes of meat-free dining. Instead, tuck into flavoursome, varied dishes like ratatouille with ras el hanout, smoked tomatoes and crispy polenta, best enjoyed through the very reasonably priced discovery tasting menu.
Details: 5 Princes Street, Oxford Circus, W1B 2LQ | Book here
Passion project of chefs Will Murray and Jack Croft, Fallow is proof that sustainability doesn’t just sound good, it tastes good too. Bag yourself a seat – pulled up close to the massive open kitchen if you will – and you can enjoy locally-sourced, British produce worked in a way that only years of hard work at institutions like The Clove Club and Dinner by Heston will allow. Stand-out dishes include the corn ribs, flash-fried and dusted with a house-made kombu seasoning; cod’s head with sriracha butter; and the venison with hen of the woods mushrooms and a creamy celeriac sauce. Wash it all down with a classic cocktail, or jump straight to the biodynamic-leaning wine.
Details: 2 St. James’s Market, St James’s, SW1Y 4RP | Book here
Gymkhana reopened its doors after a fire a few years ago, and like a phoenix from the ashes, it came back even more opulent and special than before. Dressed up like a Raj-era gymkhana (a sort of Indian country club where high society folk socialised, drank, dined, and played sport), it’s one of those Mayfair restaurants that oozes style throughout. The menu is equally refined, earning a Michelin star back in 2014 and focussing on dishes to share. Highlights include the impressive conical Chettinad duck dosas; as well as fragrant kid goat methi keema; boozy wild tiger prawns inspired by Keralan toddy shops; a game bird baida roti served with girolle achaar pickle; and a Bombay Gymkhana club vegetable cutlet with masala ketchup. The bar downstairs takes 17th century East India punch houses as its inspiration, and has its own dedicated G&T map…
Details: 42 Albemarle Street, W1S 4JH | Book here
Tucked away on a tranquil corner of Mayfair, Apricity isn’t a restaurant to put up with any garbage… Mainly because its complete dedication to zero-waste means nothing ever meets the dreaded landfill. Owner and multi award-winning chef Chantelle Nicholson has unmatched green cred (she’s a won a Michelin Green Star) and, with the help of Eve Seemann, sees to a constantly-changing menu of dishes that have included cured Chalk Stream trout, Lyme Bay scallops on a Hollis Mead cream sauce and Devon pork belly with sugar snap peas and mint salsa. The cocktails too are made with the environment in mind – the vodka collins, for instance, is made from the remnants of a rhubarb dessert and wilted herbs from the kitchen.
Details: 68 Duke Street, W1K 6JU | Book here
Unparalleled in grandeur, style and value, The Wolseley is a true London classic, housed in a monochromatic, marble-clad 1920s car showroom a stone’s throw from The Ritz. It’s an elegant all-day restaurant styled after the European grand café tradition, where you can feast on Viennese pastries and cakes, excellent Sunday roasts, and unfussy brasserie dishes long into the night.
Details: 160 Piccadilly, W1J 9EB | Book here
Despite all its best attempts to keep a low profile, HIDE was awarded a Michelin star within a year of opening. It was never going to stay hidden for long, considering wunderchef Ollie Dabbous is behind it. The dishes here are curious and inventive, ranging from croissants made with birch sap in the mornings, to nine-course tasting menus and burnt liquorice root with gold leaf in the evenings. In the basement is HIDE Below, a suave, low-lit bar run by Dabbous’ longtime mixology partner, Oskar Kinberg. That birch sap reappears in place of ice to keep drinks cool, while the cellar houses one of the world’s largest wine selections.
Details: 85 Piccadilly, W1J 7NB | Book here
Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill
Reliable and refined, Bentley’s is on the older side of Mayfair restaurants having been shucking oysters and other shellfish for over 100 years. For the last 17 of them, it’s been in the capable hands of Richard Corrigan, who gives the place an unstuffy atmosphere, despite the postcode. They’re just as happy for you to bed in and order platters of seafood and the fanciest wine on the menu, or drop in after a little shopping or before a show, grab a stool at the bar and neck half a dozen oysters and a bottle of Breton cidre.
Details: 11-15 Swallow Street, W1B 4DG | Book here
Sabor really has added a little flavour to Mayfair. Amidst the polished dining rooms and white tablecloths, Sabor offers something a little more immediate, where chefs serve dishes directly to diners who can feel the salt and fat hang tantalisingly in the air around them. Head chef and founder is Nieves Barragan Mohacho, a former Barrafina chef who’s earnt herself a star in the blink of an eye. That’s down to the delicate regional Spanish dishes on offer – some served tapas style, some scorched in the asador – and the handpicked selection of Galician beers, sherries, and Basque sparkling wines…
Details: 35-37 Heddon Street, W1B 4BR | Book here
This Sketch is stunningly rendered. Housed in a grandiose townhouse just off Regent Street, Sketch is a quirky palace of design, fine dining and good drink. There are multiple dining areas – a more casual Parlour for breakfast and light lunches; the stunning Glade with its cocktails and fairytale-esque découpage walls; the famously beautiful Gallery dining room for one of afternoon tea (that’s one of our top picks for best afternoon tea in London) and dinner; and the upstairs Library, one of London’s most beautiful Michelin-starred restaurants, serving stunning Modern European dishes.
Details: 9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG | Book here
Bombay Bustle is a cinematically-styled Indian spot (and one of the best Indian restaurants in London) designed to resemble a vintage train carriage – and the food here is just the ticket. Coming to you from the co-founder and chef of the once Michelin-starred Jamavar, it’s high-end Indian at its finest: koliwada squid; tandoori lamb chops; Kerala fish curry… and it all comes with a globe-trotting wine list to boot.
Details: 29 Maddox Street, W1S 2PA | Book here
Le Gavroche was among the first restaurants in London to receive a Michelin star, and still holds two of them decades later. It’s quintessential French fine dining, and has incubated many a rising chef in its time – head there now for timeless, quality dishes and a bottle of fine French wine.
Details: 43 Upper Brook Street, W1K 7QR | Book here
Humo’s been one of the hottest openings of the year so far, and not just because they only cook with fire and smoke… Colombian-born chef Miller Prada, protégé of Endo Kazutoshi (from Endo at the Rotunda) has crafted a menu that’s all about maximising flavour using various types of British Wood (birch, oak, cherry, walnut… to name a few). The dinner journey takes you through the four stages of fire – ignite, smoke, flame and ember – to produce dishes ranging from orkney scallops grilled on wood from old whiskey barrels, to cauliflower cooked under ash with Spanish truffles, and 32-day-aged Cornish lamb chops served with pink radicchio. For drinks, you’ve got low-intervention wines from small artisan vineyards, sake and signature cocktails.
Details: 12 St. George Street, W1S 2FB | Book here
First things first: Umu is eye-wateringly expensive. Luckily, the lighting’s so dim and the sake so persuasive you won’t really notice till later. With a Michelin star to its name, it’s more than worth the price, too. As one of the best Mayfair restaurants Umu serves, without a doubt, some of the finest Japanese food in London, thanks to the indefatigable attention to detail from chef Yoshinori Ishii. He’s taught the Cornish fishermen who supply the restaurant’s sashimi the art of ike jime, a humane way of killing the catch that preserves the utmost level of tenderness in the meat. Beyond that, he also arranges all the flowers in the restaurant, while the tempura chef (yes, they have a chef just for the tempura) grows all her own vegetables using seeds she brings back from Japan. To say they’re diligent here is an understatement…
Details: 14-16 Bruton Place, W1J 6LX | Book here
Like dining out in the area? Then you’ll be needing a tour of the best Mayfair bars, too…
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