I love a party. I fully appreciate London has some of the best bars and clubs in the world. I am a big fan of their work. But these days, in all honestly I’m far more likely to be found around a dinner table on a night out, than dancing til dawn. I love nothing better than long, lazy dinners with groups of close friends; wonderful wine, fabulous food, incredible company.
If it’s a social dinner though, the restaurant has to have something special about it. I mean, quiet cosy restaurants are perfect for date night, when you want to talk quietly to your lover, eat off their plate and gaze into their eyes. But with a large group? You want a certain buzz. A cackle. The background sounds of laughter and chatter and wine glasses clinking. Music playing at just the right volume. Lights dimmed just enough – so you can see your food but still look pretty at 11pm….
So, we thought we’d put together a list of five of our favourite “cool” restaurants, where you can hang out with friends, eat a gourmet meal, drink til you’re giddy and feel a little bit special while you’re there.
In no particular order…
You’ll probably have seen Nozomi in the press, as it’s Rihanna’s favourite whenever she comes to town. There are countless pictures of her making her way in or out with her entourage. The interior is stunning and simplistic, with crisp white table cloths, huge silver mirrors on the walls and a subtle sense of glamour. Food is “contemporary Japanese”, although the decor and music are much more Western. Awarded Best Restaurant at the London Bar & Club Awards in both 2006 and 2011.
Bob Bob Ricard
Tucked away in Soho, Bob Bob Ricard has a great vibe and you can press a button to order Champagne from your table. Do I need to say more? Probably not. They do a great range of cocktails (try the Rhubarb Gin & Tonic. It’s SO good). The owners are lovely, the food is great and it’s long been a favourite of mine. Fantastic place.
PSS is the first solo venture from “celebrity” chef Jason Atherton, who has stepped out from Gordon Ramseys shadow. Opened in 2011, Pollen Street Social was named London’s best new fine dining restaurant in the Time Out Eating & Drinking Awards. The restaurant sits on a huge site in Mayfair and offers beautiful English seasonal produce, cooked to the highest standards. Jason’s aim was to make this one of London’s most “social” restaurant’s, with a social bar where you can grab a drink, or the main restaurant which is suitable for all occasions. It’s beautiful, the food is fantastic and it’s a brilliant place to visit.
OK, so Sketch has been around forever (I first ate there 12 years ago) but it’s still pretty damn cool. The site is divided into numerous different areas, and there really is something to suit everyone. Check out the smaller, dreamy Parlour and Glade areas, for something truly magical. The Michelin Starred Lecture Room & Library upstairs is more formal, whereas the Gallery is super cool and trendy. The concept of Sketch was conceived by world famous chef Pierre Gagnaire (who still works as Head Chef) and they pave the way with innovative, beautifully presented dishes. Regular winner of awards and favourite of many of London’s elite.
One of London’s newer additions – this is less fancy – more sexy. So much so, in fact, that the entrance is actually inside a sex shop. It’s dimly lit, pretty and very, very cool. The food is Mexican (and expensive), the decor is a mixture of vintage tiling, pianos, taxidermy and general brilliance. The music is loud and the waiting list is loooong. This is the kind of place to bring someone you want to impress, get drunk, and have a very, very good time.