By Esme Banks Marr, senior account manager at Magenta Associates
Choosing the right place to wine and dine potential clients in London can be tricky – after all, there are almost 40,000 restaurants to choose from in the capital. But if you’re really trying to impress and you want to pull out all the stops, what should you book? Do you go for the Michelin Starred stalwart or the latest opening that has the cool kids queuing out the door?
- The Clove Club – Let’s start high, really high…as in the 26th best restaurant in the world. Too much? Possibly. Formerly an East London supper club, The Clove Club has since developed into an extremely successful restaurant. Fried chicken can be very, very chic. If you really need to impress a foodie or a Londoner, this is probably the place to do it.
- Beast – Does your client enjoy steak? If that’s a yes, then take them here. It’s a few steps from Oxford Circus, but you wouldn’t know it. Think Game of Thrones banqueting but with chesterfield sofas and giant tanks full of Norwegian King crab. Bring your credit card and let them tell you what’s good (tip: the wagyu tataki).
- Pollen Street Social – This one is a Magenta favourite. Jason Atherton’s flagship restaurant was the venue of our first roundtable dinner. You can sit at the bar and eat or take a table and enjoy the minimalist design. The restaurant’s philosophy is to ‘deformalise fine dining’.
- The Ned – If you really need to impress and you’re in the City, you can’t go wrong with this place. Sure, you might be met with fur coats and shiny shoes, but you’ll also feel comfortable in Vans with your ankles showing. The Ned boasts numerous restaurant and bar options. For breakfast, try Malibu Kitchen or Zobbler’s. For lunch, literally anything. And for dinner, Cecconi’s – fantastic Venetian fare served on white table cloths. It’s a beautiful building with lots of history – a great spot if you need a hand with conversation starters (it’s the old Midland Bank and, yes, there’s a rooftop for ‘members’).
- Hovarda – In the West End and fancy something that’s Aegean inspired? Head here. In spring and summer, the front doors pull all the way back, so you’re virtually sat on Rupert Street. The set lunch menu often changes depending on what produce is in season.
- Bleeding Heart Restaurant– Think old-school business lunches: downstairs, exposed brick, low ceilings, white table cloths, leather-bound wine lists and modern French fayre. It’s a bit of an EC1 institution that’s close to Farringdon station, has impeccable service and a welcoming atmosphere. The food is great. You could take a group of eight, or one key contact. You’ll never feel like they want to get rid of you but equally you could be in and out in an hour.
- Kym’s – I know that I said head to The Ned if you’re in the City, but if you like the sound of excellent Chinese food with a cherry blossom above your head, go to Kym’s in Bloomberg Arcade. Even if the food isn’t great (it is), you’ll still leave feeling warm and fuzzy about your experience. And your guest would, too.
- German Gymnasium – There’s heaps to choose from in King’s Cross these days thanks to new developments such as Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard. German Gymnasium is a huge restaurant located directly in between King’s Cross and St Pancras stations. Various menus are available from breakfast to late. It’s a stunning all day ‘Grand Café’ with a sophisticated first floor restaurant, two bars and an outdoor terrace. The food is Mittel-European (German inspired). Ask your waiter about the history of the building to help get the conversation flowing.
- Sketch – If your companion is super cool and you’re not really sure how to nail the lunch meeting, this is a safe bet. A destination for food, drinks, music and art, Sketch comprises an artist conceived gastro-brasserie restaurant, David Shrigley’s Gallery serving afternoon tea and dinner, and a two-Michelin Starred Lecture Room and Library open for lunch and dinner. Take your pick.
- Le Pont del La Tour – It’s London’s ultimate destination for fine French dining with breath-taking views. Located right next to Tower Bridge with dramatic panoramas of the City, the glamorous setting is matched with exquisite French cooking. If you’re south of the river (just), then check this one out. It’s got slightly Parisian vibes, but the staff are friendly, knowledgeable and you can’t go wrong with the food or wine.