London is hard to beat at Christmastime, from the decorations to the atmosphere and most certainly the food. With so many high-end restaurants vying to produce the finest and most imaginative Christmas menus for the festive season, consumers have been spoiled for choice when dining in the capital this year. Be it classic roast dinners with creative twists or unique fusion food inspired by festive traditions from around the world, every taste is catered to. But which were the best Christmas menus in London this year? These five restaurants have crafted truly impressive bespoke menus that have proved popular with diners and critics alike, giving us insight into what appeals to customers during the holiday season.
Le Coq, Islington
At LeCoq in Islington, dining at Christmas is called ‘Christmas feasting’, and this should give you a good indication of their philosophy for the festive season. The stylish London restaurant was created by two food experts from Brooklyn whose entire concept is based on the ingredient roast chicken, so you can expect their Christmas menu to be good. And it doesn’t disappoint. As The Resident explains, “There are three menu options, starting at £30 per person for a three-course Christmas Meal with rotisserie Sutton Hoo chicken, there’s also a £40pp Christmas Feast, or the £60pp Whole Hog with a whole suckling pig and all sorts of delicious sharing platters including smoked salmon and a pigeon crostini.” Offering specially-catered dishes for dietary requirements, their menu provides not only chicken, but also goose, pork, lamb, vegetarian options, and delicious mix-and-match sides and platters featuring such delectable dishes as Jerusalem artichokes, hazelnut and goats cheese.
What they get right: Le Coq strikes the perfect balance of specialising in the core ingredients that appeal to many in a roast dinner, whilst offering interesting flavour combinations that spark interest without sacrificing a sense of tradition.
We are to expect great things from super-chef Michael Wareing both on-screen and in the restaurant, and his menu at Tredwells in Seven Dials does not disappoint with its Christmas offerings. While the restaurant modestly describes itself as “casual, neighbourhood dining”, their food is truly impeccable, especially at this time of year. As Great British Chefs say, “there are four different ‘feasts’ on offer this year at Tredwells, with each one offering plenty of flavour and interesting little twists.” Sample a succulent Lake District hanger steak, a Brixham crab salad with clementine, sorrel, and chestnuts, and a spiced ginger cake with pear caramel and clotted cream on their various festive menus. The ingredients on their stunning menus perfectly tread the line between local sourcing and international intrigue, guaranteeing that even the seasoned restauranteur can try something new during their visit. Not a Christmas pudding in sight!
What they get right: Beautifully presented and perfectly cooked, Tredwells know how to cook dishes to make their high-quality ingredients shine without complicating the dish. Offering various set menus, each of which feels opulent, their Christmas menus are the epitome of good food.
Dirty Bones, Kensington, Carnaby & Shoreditch
The Resident describe Dirty Bones as “the perfect place for groups”. The restaurant has joints in Carnarby and Shoreditch, but it is the venue on High Street Kensington that stands out for its festive menu with a twist. Here, New York comfort food meets modern British cooking, all accompanied by brilliant music for the hip diner. Yet with all the creativity of their venue, their Christmas menu still manages to stand out. Their gooey deep fried Mac Baubles are full of fried American-style taleggio mac ‘n’ cheese with a festive cranberry and red onion chutney, whereas their enormous Raspberry & Vanilla Dirty Macarons delight for their pure novelty value as well as the sumptuous taste. As an added bonus, you can also enjoy exciting Mince Pie cocktails – a unique fusion of gin, lemon juice, and a real brandy and port-infused mince pie reduction.
What they get right: Dirty Bones is the perfect location for those who are looking to indulge at Christmas without the element of elitism, offering the comfort food typical of American-themed eateries that are particularly tempting during the winter months, but with festive flair.
The Dalloway Terrace
Dalloway Terrace is named after the eponymous protagonist of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, which is particularly apt considering its location in Bloomsbury. For Christmas, the venue has been transformed into an enchanting hideaway with outdoor heaters, rich and creamy hot chocolate cocktails, mouth-watering cheese fondues, and a weekly film club. As The Resident report, the restaurant is filled with snow-dusted flowers to mimic the enchanting Narnia forest. Their Christmas menu is perfectly in-fitting with this elegant theme, drawing on archetypal British ingredients to create traditional dishes with quirks such as Scottish Highlands oak smoked salmon with Guinness bread and pot roast duck breast with cinnamon, spiced apple and braised red cabbage, plus mulled cider butter.
What they get right: For diners looking for that ‘magical’ and all-immersive seasonal experience, there really is no better than Dalloway Terrace. The setting of this restaurant plays a large part, but the food lives up to theme without overwhelming the diner – classic flavour combinations are executed to the highest standard to impress even the most discerning diner.
Proving that Christmas food doesn’t have to be all about meat-based dishes is Bruno Loubet’s vegetable-led restaurant, the Grain Store. Situated in King’s Cross, this sustainable restaurant claim: “There are no geographical boundaries to the influences that have inspired our eclectic menu.” This is certainly evident in their varied menu of dishes inspired by numerous cultures.
Great British Chefs identify their stand-out dishes as their mushroom and Montgomery cheddar croquettes to start followed by the roast cauliflower and gingerbread puree with braised endive, green onion and duck fat salsa and roast partridge. They say, “While none of the dishes are what you’d normally find on the table come Christmas Day, each one is positively bursting with festive flavour and makes the most of produce at the height of its season.”
What they get right: With consumers being increasingly well-travelled, diners love to experience flavours from around the world, and if they can be worked into Christmas dishes, this creates the ultimate international experience.