Exquisite fine dining options in London’s most iconic neighbourhood
Courtesy of sushi god Endo Kazutoshi, this casual newcomer features incredible sushi. The minimalist interiors still manage to create a convivial atmosphere, with friendly staff and great music. Known for their temaki – hand rolls – which are as fresh and delicious as their reputation dictates, the rest of the menu is just as enjoyable. Everything is so full of flavour, from the nigiri and sashimi to the main dishes. Each of the sauces is made in-house, and you can tell – don’t miss dessert either, particularly the weightless Matcha Mille Feuille.
Look past the statement-painted eye mural, and Portobello’s Gold gives way to a leafy environment that is almost transportive. Much of the rotating seasonal menu is cooked over an open fire and features modern European favourites with a bit of a twist and there’s something to appeal to all palettes and dietary restrictions. One of few venues in the area open past 11pm, the bar scene is busy and buzzing as well. Cocktails incorporate more fruit and herbs than typically found – the rich, unexpected flavours of the Banana Old Fashioned is a favourite.
Rare recipient of three Michelin stars, this elegant restaurant, courtesy of the World’s Best Female Chef 2018, Clare Smyth, spotlights modern tasting menus. Utilising sustainable British ingredients, the French-influenced cuisine clearly integrates Smyth’s passion for nature. Refined and beautifully presented, a meal here is a journey facilitated by exceptionally (but not overbearing) attentive service set against a streamlined dining room.
Blurring the lines between destination and neighbourhood restaurant, Jackson Boxer’s Orasay has reinvented itself a few times while staying within the ethos of being a friendly seafood restaurant. Open for both lunch and dinner – and, taking a cue from popular New York establishments, an oyster happy hour preludes the evening – the sophisticated sounding menu is rife with familiar elements. The Fried Haddock sandwich is a top pick, served at lunch; a fancy fish fillet sandwich so perfectly done, you’ll think about it long post-visit.
Having received a glamorous facelift during lockdown, The Ledbury is back with its signature tasting menus. Nature-inspired artful presentations define every course, each of which features seasonality at the forefront. Known for innovation, there is an unexpected twist with each dish. More relaxed than many other fine dining restaurants – there is no dress code – the convivial atmosphere makes for an enjoyable, yet still elevated, dinner with friends or family.
Reborn to close again just before the pandemic, Julie’s has quite the storied pedigree. Having played host to the likes of Mick Jagger, Madonna, Kate Moss and more in the restaurant’s heyday, it was refurbished over the span of four years. The sophisticated dining spaces still feature some private nooks and there is an expansive terrace when weather permits. A ‘modern British’ menu features market-fresh vegetables alongside classic proteins with a bistro sensibility. Stop in the attached champagne bar après dinner for a glass or two of bubbly.
French-focused but with an Italian twist, reflecting the background of its proprietors, Caractère sits on an unexpected and quiet corner a bit away from the primary hustle of the neighbourhood. Having defined itself as ‘casual and contemporary’, the restaurant is just that. Forward features such as a choose-your-own tasting menu lend an interactive feel to the experience that makes it feel a bit fresher and younger than its counterparts. The menu categories are defined by flavour intensity; make sure to include dessert, aka ‘Greedy’, as each is spectacular.
Busy year-round, the best time to visit Mazi is in the warmer months: their garden terrace beckons with a leafy feel reminiscent of a European island vacation. Fitting, as the food follows suit. Delicious Greek dishes, meant to be shared, define the menu, and fresh, aromatic flavours ignite each dish – think thyme-infused olive oil to lend depth to honey-roasted tomatoes with goat’s cheese and fresh dill to enliven artichoke risotto. Portions can err on the smaller side, so order a lot; you won’t leave with leftovers.