Guide to London

“Epicurean Escapades: London’s Coolest Restaurants Recommended by Expert Concierge Tim Badham”

Tim BadhamTim Badham

Step into the glamorous world of London’s elite as we delve into the unparalleled expertise of Tim Badham, the CEO of Innerplace, the city’s premier concierge company. With two decades of experience under his belt, Tim has earned a reputation as the ultimate tastemaker, handpicking the coolest hotspots that London has to offer. From chic lounges to cutting-edge eateries, Tim’s curated list showcases his keen sense of flavour and an insider’s knowledge of the newest and most exclusive London hotspots. Armed with the most coveted black book in the industry, he takes us on an unforgettable journey through the city’s culinary wonders, catering to the desires of London’s socialites and foodie stars alike. Get ready to impress everyone with Tim Badham’s selection of restaurant hotspots that are sure to elevate your dining experiences to a whole new level of sophistication and indulgence.

the Fuji Grill at Beaverbrook Townhouse
The Fuji Grill at Beaverbrook Townhouse

The Fuji Grill at Beaverbrook Townhouse

Sloane Street – SW1X 9PJ

Nestled in the heart of Chelsea, on the ever-bustling Sloane Street, lies a culinary oasis of Japanese elegance – The Fuji Grill at Beaverbrook Townhouse. As the sister restaurant to the exclusive Beaverbrook hotel and golf course in Surrey, this recent addition to London’s gastronomic scene is already making waves, and we were fortunate enough to experience its magic first-hand.

The Fuji Grill is a masterstroke of design, dressed in soft shades of green and adorned with an impressive collection of 19th-century woodblock prints depicting the world-renowned Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. 

The menu is a testament to the artistry of Japanese cuisine. We began our culinary journey with the popcorn chicken and ceviche, both of which were executed to perfection. The popcorn chicken was delightfully crispy, with a subtle hint of spice that left us craving for more. The ceviche, on the other hand, was a refreshing symphony of flavours that awakened our palates.

The black cod was delicate, buttery and melt in the mouth, with a natural sweetness perfectly complemented by a light glaze that added just the right hint of umami. A sublime blend of simplicity and sophistication that left us utterly captivated. The ‘Charcoal’ Wagyu with Juniper Miso was also a culinary masterpiece, with the Wagyu beef melting in our mouths and the Juniper Miso adding a unique depth of flavour that was both unexpected and delightful.

Yet, it was the desserts that truly stole the show. Each one was a work of art, with presentation so exquisite it felt almost a shame to disturb them. But once we did, we were rewarded with a taste sensation that was nothing short of extraordinary. These were, without a doubt, some of the most impressive desserts we’ve had in London for a long time. The egg and soldiers and the Beaverbrook Cigar in particular were reminiscent of Heston’s famous Meet Fruit, in their deceptive appearance and the delicious culinary surprise they both offer.

Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur of Japanese cuisine or a curious foodie looking for your next gastronomic adventure, this destination that should not be missed.

Chungdam
Chungdam

Chungdam

Greek Street – W1D 5DL

Korean cuisine is having a moment in London. Not only did we get our first Michelin-starred Korean / French fusion restaurant, we can now say hello to Chungdam, which opened in Soho just a few months ago. The contemporary Korean barbecue restaurant is firing on all cylinders, smoking up meats to delicious, devastating effect. We dropped in on a Thursday night and were smitten. 

This is probably the chicest Korean restaurant in Soho, decked out with white tablecloths in an intimate yet elegant environment that wouldn’t let you down if you were taking out clients. Once at your table, waiters will come over and operate the grill, which is run by buttons on the side of the table, and do all of the heavy lifting for you.

Diners will be treated to enthusiastically spicy kimchi, piquant pickles and toothsome seafood pancakes. Otherwise, you won’t be disappointed by cold glass noodles splice with mushrooms and beef, or barbecue dishes of curled wafers of beef brisket, marinated short rib and prime rib eye. 

Bossa
Bossa

Bossa

Vere Street – W1G 0DG

Touching down in Marylebone, Bossa is the latest London venture from a superlative international chef. Multi-award-winning, globally-renowned chef Alberto Landgraf of two Michelin-starred Oteque in Rio de Janeiro (currently number 47 of the World’s 50 Best List) has chosen Vere street as the site to stage his United Kingdom takeover, and is firing on all cylinders, importing the soul of Brazil to the heart of London. We dropped in to investigate and were immediately smitten by what we experienced. 

The room at Bossa is destination dining at its finest. Smart black tubular pendant lighting descends metres from the ceiling to illuminate classy circular wooden tables and sultry maroon banquettes. Open plan kitchens enliven the atmosphere, letting onlookers experience the clockwork precision of the chefs, preparing some of the best Brazilian cuisine in the capital. As if that’s not enough, downstairs you’ll find an intimate nightclub perfect for continuing the evening into the early hours. 

From start to finish, we were beguiled by the flavours served up. Scallops with leeks, buckwheat and tucupi (a yellow sauce made from Brazilian manioc root) was just the right side of innovative. Bone marrow roasted with tapioca and cashew nuts was the perfect blend of unctuousness and crunch. From the mains, our minds were blown by the crackling pork belly with feijoada broth, marinated swiss chard and black garlic. Two other must-hits are the butter-soft entrecote and the incredibly sumptuous crab pasteles. 

All in, Bossa is a true treat. 

Restaurant St Barts
Restaurant St Barts

Restaurant St Barts

Bartholomew Close – EC1A 7BF

When it comes to haute cuisine in London, there’s no shortage of restaurants. However, there is a paucity of restaurants doing it right. Enter Restaurant St Barts, nestled in a backstreet close in a quiet corner of Smithfields. Launched by Johnnie Crowe, Luke Wasserman and Toby Neil, who opened Fenn in Fulham and Nest in Hackney, the destination venue offers a masterclass in how to do fine dining correctly, blending modern British, New Nordic and Asian flavours to fine effect. 

The dining room at Restaurant St Barts is a stunner, but before you enter you’ll be led to the lounge where welcome drinks are complemented by a quartet of thought-out snacks, including a Cornish lobster bun steamed with lobster mousse and an onion tart for the ages. You’re then brought into the dining room, with a wide-open, open-plan kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows that drink in the gorgeous architecture of London’s oldest parish church: the eponymous St Bartholomew the Great. The minimalist dining room is given a Scandi-chic treatment. 

We take our seats on sheepskin throws and embark upon a three-hour odyssey of flavour. The East End Seafood Cocktail sees an oyster shell laden with oyster mayo, smoked eel, raw prawns and langoustine and Exmoor caviar. A bowl of cuttlefish that has been fashioned into cephalopod tagliatelle smoulders in a soup of ginger, yuzu and chilli, on just the right side of saline. Cornish lobster parboiled in an oil made from its own head is finished on a barbecue and served in a bisque. A savoury chicken custard peppered with barbecued peas and miso. We could go on, but suffice to say, the kitchens at Restaurant St Barts surprise and delight, as does the rest of the venture. This is fine dining worth its salt. 

Bellanger
Bellanger

Bellanger

Islington Green – N1 2XH

Looking for a classy place to dine in Islington? Bellanger is just that. Launched by the Wolseley Hospitality Group, the restaurant is nestled just to the north of Islington Green. Walk inside and you’ll find a haven in the grand café brasserie style of Paris. The restaurant reopened in 2020 and has been rejigged with a southern Mediterranean menu and a new chef – Mauro Ferri. 

The dining room looks as if it were lifted from France. Guests enter past a statement pewter-topped bar that forms the restaurant’s heart. Wraparound red banquette seating and white tableclothed tables are counterbalanced with colourful playful artwork on the walls and art deco pendant lighting and banker’s lamps. It fits in seamlessly in this chic corner of Islington. 

We were really impressed with the cooking, which was executed confidently. We kicked off with a crisp flavourful focaccia with rosemary salt and basil pesto before diving into starters of steak tartare with quail’s egg and sourdough toast and a toothsome plate of Dorset crab with salmon roe and caviar. A flat iron steak with beurre maître d’hôtel and french fries was lovely, as was an Andalusian stew brimming with squid, salmon, mussels, clams and chorizo. We wrapped up the meal with a delicious coupe amandine with pistachio, hazelnut and almond nougatine ice creams, whipped cream and butterscotch sauce.

Bellanger is a great addition to Islington and a safe bet for a top meal. 

Roketsu
Roketsu

Roketsu

New Quebec St – W1H 7RW

London has seen its fair share of quality Japanese restaurants, but is lacking in truly excellent Kaiseki eateries, which specialise in ceremonial Nipponese tasting menus. Roketsu has striven to right this wrong since it opened its doors on New Quebec Street in a chic corner of Mayfair. Helmed by Daisuke Hayashi, a protégé of seven-Michelin-starred chef Yoshihiro Murata, Roketsu crafts the finest produce into finely wrought works of art. We popped in on a weekday evening and were blown away by the experience. 

The evening unfolded in a beautifully designed dining room built by Sotoji Nakamura – a master designer of the Sukiya-style Japanese design. Guests enter over a tiled floor so clean and polished that it catches the light, past a terracotta urn and warm wooden reception area, through sliding tatami-style doors, into the restaurant proper. The counter is a great spot to watch the culinary magic unspool in real time, but we were here to investigate the new a la carte dining room, which was perfect for a more intimate evening. 

Dinner kicked off with a spring vegetable takiawase which saw simmered seasonal vegetables served with beetroot paste and tomato clear water jelly. This was followed by tsukuri of the day: sashimi carved from Cornish red mullet, Cornish cuttlefish, Scottish scallop and Spanish fatty tuna. Dishes such as lobster tempura were something to write home about, the native crustacean was battered and fried to perfection.  

A miso-marinated chargrilled shoulder or ‘secreto’ cut from Iberico pork meat was an absolute flavour bomb, detonating with umami. Japanese curry was made from a demi-glace sauce over a few days before being cooked with Wagyu beef. Finally, Roketsu ramen was made with lobster stock, char siu pork and rice noodles and was one of the most impressive noodle soups we’ve had in the capital. 

For anyone looking for a top class kaiseki experience, book a seat at Roketsu. 

Daffodil Mulligan
Daffodil Mulligan

Daffodil Mulligan

City Road – EC1Y 2BJ

It’s always refreshing to see one of your fave chefs flex a little brawn and surprise, which is precisely what Richard Corrigan has accomplished with his new spot Daffodil Mulligan on the Silicon Roundabout. Renowned for gilt Mayfair restos Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill, Corrigan’s and Virginia Park Lodge in County Cavan, the Irishman has chosen Shoreditch as his newest launchpad, and deployed a fusillade of classic dishes with a twist to win over the locals. We popped in to see how it was panning out. 

Daffodil Mulligan is a sight for sore eyes on City Road, offering respite and refreshment from the area’s hustle and bustle. Mr Corrigan has secreted away a boisterous Irish pub in the basement, where live bands perform during the evenings, which was a blast on the opening night. Upstairs, you can crowd along the oyster bar to catch the activity from the open-plan kitchen, perch on a high-top table to avail yourself of small plates and the excellent, edgy wine list, or sit at one of the tables lining the wall for a full-on dining experience. We opted for the latter, kicking it off with a cold, commanding half of Gibney’s Irish stout.

From start to finish we were charmed by Daffodil Mulligan’s menu. Things got off to a great start with delicious “ember” bread grilled over fire and Hereford beef tartare with oyster cream and seaweed. Alongside an “offal waffle” teeming with glazed duck hearts, parfait  and grapefruit, this made for a bold beginning. From here we went a bit lighter, enjoying a toothsome tuna tataki with sesame, soy and avocado and a crisp, tempura-battered soft-shelled crab. For our mains, we enjoyed a sugar pit pork that shattered like glass candy, complemented by salted cabbage, a prawn spring roll and a sour lime dressing. The mash that complemented this was unreal, some of the best we’ve ever tasted. 

Daffodil Mulligan sees Corrigan, an old hand in the kitchen, cooking with the energy of a twentysomething. We loved it. 

Apricity

Apricity

Duke Street – W1K 6JU

Chantelle Nicholson has been on our radar for some time. We’ve watched her come out of the early ‘oughties Gordon Ramsay empire, working for him at The Savoy and Petrus before joining Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, launching The Gilbert Scott and Tredwells, then becoming the sole owner of the latter in 2018. Having earned a Michelin Green Star at Tredwells in 2021, just before its closing, she’s taken an eco-luxe approach to zero-waste restaurants Apricity, which similarly earned the accolade. 

With a dining room on Mayfair’s Duke Street, Apricity is nothing short of sensational. During a Thursday lunch at the restaurant, the room was buzzing. Notably low carbon, the refit sees the restaurant taking over a fashion outlet and scraping the plaster to a beautiful cream-pin; chairs are fashioned from Coca-Cola bottles and the beautiful bulbous pendant lights are crafted from oyster shells. Above it all, a rebar gantry supports pothos and ivy plants, imbuing the room with a sense of greenery. A ‘Sproutini’ – made with 58&Co gin, London Dry Vermouth and pickled sprout juice – was a revelation, and put us in the best possible mood for the food to follow. 

A round, buttery Chenin Blanc from Wasted Wine club was the perfect partner with oat and fennel seed crackers and a ‘wasted’ dip of carrot, cardamom and cumin. Starters of barbecued asparagus with XO sauce and ajo-blanco as well as scallops with new season garlic, egg yolk and leek pesto set the stage for Nicholson’s innovative approach. Butter-poached Cornish hake with cuttlefish, sambal butter and boy choi had an interesting Indonesian inflection. Cornish pollock with fresh flour orzo and Looe crab was tremendously rich and indulgent. We waited the additional 15 minutes required to prepare the Esmeralda milk chocolate mousse with miso and brown sugar custard and were glad we did – it was an absolute joy. 

Apricity is a welcome and interesting addition to Mayfair’s dining scene and sees Chantelle Nicholson hitting her stride as a confident chef who knows how to manifest her vision. 

the Ninth
The Ninth

The Ninth

Charlotte Street – W15 2NB

Jun Tanaka’s star has been rising for some time now. We remember him from the heady days of the early 2010s, when he ran Street Kitchen out of a retrofitted Airstream in Finsbury Park. Now he’s upgraded to one of Fitzrovia’s classiest dining rooms with a shiny star from Michelin and plaudits from everyone from Jay Rayner to Grace Dent. We dropped in for a lovely, relaxed dinner and were promptly whisked away to a Ligurian locale with Tanaka’s delicious Mediterranean-influenced menu.

From toe to tip, the dining room at The Ninth is a work of art, exuding a mistral airiness that you might expect on the beaches of northern Italy or the Cote d’Azur. Guests jockey for the al fresco terrace, but the indoor area is just as inviting. Overhung with big glassy chandeliers with exposed filament bulbs, the cosy room is replete with worn brick, wine walls, classy wooden tables with leather-backed chairs and charcoal-hued buttonback banquettes. Its airy simplicity is the perfect foil for the food to come.  

Kicking things off, an osso bucco croquette with tonnato sauce set the tone for what was to follow, clever and perfectly executed. Similarly a starter of tuna belly with mojama and sardine vinaigrette was well-considered and classy. The pasta was light to the point of buoyancy, the gnudi elevated with a wild garlic and mushroom ragù. The star of the show was a whole sea bream served to share, flavoured with white miso and preserved lemon and served alongside artichoke barigoule. A side of crispy agria potatoes was the perfect complement. 

Everything about The Ninth exudes understated class and quality, from the atmosphere to the cuisine and everything in between. It’s well-deserving of its Michelin star. 

Lio
Lio

Lío

Coventry Street – W1D 6BL

London has some of the best clubs in the world, but when it comes to putting on a show and levelling up the nightlife experience, Ibiza does a pretty impressive job. Its headline club is and arguably always has been Pacha, and the group has touched down in Soho with a no-holds-barred cabaret show concept that looks to take the capital by storm. Its name: Lío. Taking over the digs that famously housed the Café De Paris in the pulsing heart of Soho, we popped in for a recce. Suffice to say, we were blown away.  

Café de Paris had occupied the same site for almost a century and anyone who has visited before will know that it’s set up beautifully for theatrical productions. The Grade-II-listed building features original double-sided staircases dating back to the heady days of 1924, mirrored ceilings to reflect the fun, and a transportable DJ booth that can be shifted around the venue. 

The dining area can seat up to 200 guests and is spread across the wraparound mezzanine and original ballroom floor, with a menu from Adam Rawson, formerly at The Standard at King’s Cross and more recently Executive Chef at Laylow. No matter where you’re seated, it won’t be long before you’re smiling along with the dancers. The fun is nothing short of infectious. 

Having tested their mettle in Mykonos, Las Vegas and Ibiza, Lío has touched down in London with a stage-proven show worth its salt. Staff have been performing alongside the singers, actors and acrobats for the better part of a decade. As the evening progresses and dinner transitions to dessert and maybe a few too many drinks, the space shifts into a fully-serviced nightclub. 

This is a very unique proposition for London and one, as you may be able to tell, that we’re quite excited about.

Amethyst
Amethyst

Amethyst

Sackville Street – W1S 3DD

Want to go on a journey? Behind a rather understated entrance on Mayfair’s Sackville Street, you’ll find Amethyst, which, like a geode, defies its humble exterior with a ravishing, glittering interior. And behind the pass at the open-plan kitchen in the hindquarters of the restaurant you’ll find Carlo Scotto, who Grace Dent wrote “has quietly and painstakingly revealed himself over the past few years as one of Britain’s most imaginative chefs.” It’s evident upon walking into Amethyst that this won’t be a cut-and-dried dinner. You’re here for a meal to marvel at. 

This is reflected in the restaurant’s design. The ground floor is dominated by an enormous chef’s table inlaid with the eponymous gemstone, which happens to be Chef Scotto’s birthstone, and has been designed ergonomically to give each diner their own little perch. Downstairs, there’s a more traditional dining room with a wine wall. We were very happy to sit upstairs, where we could look into the high-technology kitchen and watch the gastronomical magic unfold. The evening kicked off with flutes of Nyetimber English sparkling and a trio of bites that served as a mission statement for what Amethyst is looking to accomplish: this is ultra-modern cooking that draws inspiration from all corners of the globe. 

A dish named Lick Me Up set the tone, with asparagus, calamansi and a dusting of paprika oil and flowers offered to us without cutlery. We did as we were told and licked it from the plate. Celeriac Leafy saw spicy Korean gochujang and ssamjang spliced with tete de moine cheese impregnating a mellow white chocolate carapace. Other favourites included the scallop crisp coated in ras el hanout with Oscietra caviar, coffee oil and Mahogany smoked cream, nestled in an addictive smoked eel broth and dusted with lime zest. The signature dish didn’t disappoint either: salmon marinated in rosewater with bracing bursts of yuzu, crunchy Piedmont hazelnuts and a seductively silky foie gras. We’ve only touched upon a couple of the dishes here but you need to experience them to truly understand the ambitious thrust of Carlo Scotto’s cooking. 

For anyone looking for a fine dining, chef’s table experience par excellence, Amethyst by Carlo Scotto certainly delivers.

Sale E Pepe
Sale e Pepe

Sale e Pepe

Pavilion Road – SW1X 0HD

Sometimes, you want a classic, and for old school Italian in Knightsbridge, there’s nothing quite as classic as Sale e Pepe. Launched in 1974, the trattoria has been an institution ever since, catering to SW1’s smart set and Harrods shoppers (it’s nestled right behind the department store) ever since. In a time when most restaurants are lucky to make it a decade in London’s perennially shifting market, Sale e Pepe has been a stalwart, bringing in a devoted clientele with seasonal menus cooked with locally sourced produce and their exceptional range of Italian wines. 

The dining room at Sale e Pepe could have been easily transposed from Naples, with the same inviting cosiness and charm that typifies the city’s eateries. The room is brimming with round tables bedecked with white tablecloths and rustic wooden chairs. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the street gulp in enormous amounts of natural light, and big mirrors in the wall give an impression of extra space whilst enabling people to watch. 

We kicked the meal off with perhaps the most traditional trio of starters imaginable, including a burrata caprese, calamari fritti and carpaccio all rucola. All were beautifully prepared. The hero dish at Sale e Pepe is its linguine all’aragosta, which sees the pasta lashed with generous amounts of basil and garlic and silken chunks of lobster. A bone-in grilled veal chop with rosemary and butter offered a generous wallop of protein and deliciousness. We wrapped up the meal with a lemon tart and an excellent tiramisu. 

Sale e Pepe is pushing fifty years old and knows its way around the block. If you want food that’s consistently good, come here.

Nessa
Nessa

Nessa

Brewer St – W1F 9UB

Recently, there have been two openings on the tip of everyone’s tongues: private members’ club 1 Warwick and its restaurant Nessa. The latter is spearheaded by wunderkind chef Tom Cenci, who launched his career at Cliveden Hotel in Buckinghamshire before making a name for himself at 1 Lombard Street, Noble Rot and Duck & Waffle in London. Now, he’s been put in charge of the kitchens at Nessa and created a menu that leans as heavily into provenance as it does finesse behind the pans. 

Taking over the ground floor on Brewer Street in Soho, Nessa borrows its name from Virginia Woolf’s sister, a painter and designer who was a mover and shaker in the Bloomsbury set, the bohemian group that paved the way for artists and intellectuals in the 20th century. The dining room is a sight to be seen. There’s a  spacious mid-century modern bar packed with plush furnishings and brass fixtures. The main dining room is consistent with classy chandeliers, teal seating and funky green foliage. 

We kicked our meal off with an eclectic array of starters. Cheese and onion croquettes were packed with the former and perfectly crisp, served with an unctuous, winning grape mustard mayo. Woodfired leeks were laden with almond ricotta and caramelised pecans, and were gorgeously presented. One of the signature dishes was the celeriac carbonara, served with pancetta, confit egg and winter truffle. It hit all the right notes. Roasted sea bass was drenched in beurre blanc and complemented with pickled seaweed. It was very fine indeed. 

Nessa is everything you want from a Soho restaurant and more. Well with a visit, whether you’re dropping into 1 Warwick or not. 

Gouqi
Gouqi

Gouqi

Cockspur Street – SW1Y 5BN

Even if you’re unfamiliar with Chee Hwee Tong’s name, you probably aren’t familiar with his cooking. Having trained under master of Cantonese cuisine Chin Hon Yin in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, he arrived in 2001 to become head chef of Hakkasan and has since then achieved seven Michelin stars across seven different countries. Now, he’s striking out on his own with Gouqi, located on Cockspur Street in St James’s. We found him in finest form, orchestrating a kitchen that is turning out some of the best Chinese food in the country. 

Gouqi derives its name from the goji berry, a symbol of health and vitality that inspires the restaurant from toe to tip. The dining room has been executed to the rarefied standard that you’d expect of a chef of this calibre. Boasting 78 covers as well as welcoming banquette seating and an open-plan kitchen, the restaurant leans heavily into Chinese art with work from six different award-winning artists from the country. For those who want to push the boat out, choose from Gouqi’s two PDRs (Crimson and Ruby) or the semi-private area which includes three tables. 

Chef Tong has carved out a name for himself as one of the best dim sum chefs on the planet, and the steamed royal dim sum platter is a must-have at Gouqi, brimming with eight different immaculate parcels. A deep-fried soft-shell crab was best in class, complemented with a curry leaf dressing. Honey glazed Iberico char siu was made even more indulgent with salted egg yolk. For something more main-adjacent, the stir-fried Black Angus tenderloin with asparagus and bamboo shoots was a revelation. We capped the evening with sesame balls and passionfruit coulis. 

Gouqi is definitely a restaurant worth its salt, and especially so if you have deep pockets. We wouldn’t be surprised to see it earn a Michelin star in the near future. 

Unlock the most elite and exclusive experiences in London with Innerplace, a distinguished concierge company that caters to an esteemed clientele. Prestigious memberships encompass a range of tailored options, including the coveted VIP Red Global Membership, the Corporate Concierge Membership for businesses seeking unparalleled service, and the Jet Set Membership designed to accommodate discerning visitors. Each membership comes with the privilege of a personal interview to ensure a seamless fit with our discerning community. As Innerplace curates bespoke experiences and access to the city’s most sought-after hotspots, they  promise a world of luxury at your fingertips. To explore the possibilities or inquire about Innerplace Memberships, kindly reach out to Innerplace – lifestyle@innerplace.co.uk.  Elevate your lifestyle with Innerplace, where exclusivity and sophistication meet in perfect harmony.

Londons Coolest Restaurants Recommended by Expert Concierge Tim Badham