People frequently complain that London’s high end restaurants are too expensive and on an absolute basis this is perhaps true. Three restaurants that jump to mind as being on the punchy side, with tasting menus at over £120, are Bo London and two Michelin 3* destinations: Alain Ducasse and Gordon Ramsey Royal Hospital Road (In fact GR’s more expensive special seasonal menu is an eye-watering £155).
However, it’s important to put this into perspective. Compare to France: where 3* tasting menus are frequently around 300€ (okay, including service) and where in 1* places starters can cost around 40e, or Japan where it is possible to pay £250 for a tempura tasting menu. Medlar’s (1*) three courses prix fix at £45 starts to look like really good value and even the Ledbury’s (2*) £110 tasting menu does not look all that bad. In fact, only the Fat Duck’s menu at £195 is truly comparable!
However, if you still think that London’s high end dining is too dear you can always plan to bag a lunch time bargain. In London, as well as a lot of other major cities (NYC, Paris etc.) there are some very good lunch deals at some of the best high-end restaurants which I have listed below.
I’ve had to be strict with this list (many restaurants offer a lunch deal and I would be here all day if I listed the lot), therefore I have only listed those places that have a choice of at least 3 starters and main courses as I like to have options (so this excludes the deals at The Square, Greenhouse etc.); the value element is determined by comparing the cost with the evening menu price. Also I have given preference to restaurants with wine options as I usually find that if you want wine then by ordering from the main list this can make things expensive again very quickly! If you do not drink/ don’t drink at lunch this will not be a concern…
Alain Ducasse– £55, ‘The Lunch Hour’ includes 3 courses, 2 glasses of wine, ½ bottle of mineral water, coffee or tea.
Gauthier– £33, three courses with two glasses of wine.
Le Gavouche– £52.60, ‘business lunch menu’: 3 courses plus amuse bouches and petit fours with half a bottle of water and 1/2 bottle of wine per person. Probably the most popular one, you may need to book months in advance.
GR RHR– three courses £ 55.00
Hélène Darroze at the Connaught– £42, three courses with two glasses of wine.
Kai– £39, 3 courses plus extras with matching 75ml tasting sized wines for the 3 courses.
Petrus– three courses £35.00
Pollen Street Social– £29.50 for 3 courses
Rasoi– 2 courses – £23; 3 courses – £28; 4 courses – £33
Sketch Lecture Room and Library– ‘gourmet rapide lunch’, a mix of 4 different starters and 3 deserts all served together plus choice of a main course, 1/2 bottle of wine and water per person, coffee and petit fours.