Maybe you’re leaving London. Maybe your friend’s leaving London. Maybe nobody’s leaving London, and it’s just an elongated holiday masquerading as an RSVP-able Facebook event. Whatever it is, it needs a place for dinner. Somewhere big enough for friends, family, and everyone who turns up for a half a bottle, a profiterole, and leaves without paying a thing. Here are 12 restaurants perfect for a goodbye dinner.
St. John is a quintessential London restaurant in the same way a cabbie flicking you off is a quintessential London experience. Though this legendary white-walled Clerkenwell space is best known for its meat-heavy menu, it’s the effortlessly classy but boisterous dining room that makes this restaurant the ideal location for a big, boozy, pie-heavy goodbye. If a full sit-down number isn’t your thing, then the bar area works even better for people dipping in and out.
Our favourite way to celebrate the betrayal of a friend deciding to leave us behind is by taking them to a restaurant that’ll make them regret leaving. Enter Brigadiers. This loud and proud Indian spot in the City is the perfect place to show them exactly what they’re giving up. Think big booths, a whisky vending machine, and a pool room - and that’s just the restaurant. When it comes to the menu, you can’t go too wrong with anything, but just make sure to order the BBQ butter chicken wings and the lamb chops - they’re some of the best in London.
Technically, your friend has lived in over 30 different countries in less than three decades of living. Yes, that two hour stopover in Seoul does grant resident status, apparently. Don’t overthink it. Just head to My Neighbours The Dumplings in Victoria Park to celebrate their latest (month-long) home instead. The walk-in only policy makes this tastefully trendy Chinese spot perfect for fluctuating numbers, while steamed prawn dumplings and sake are a brilliant sharing and kind-of-caring meal.
Few London restaurants host a group knees-up quite as naturally or raucously as Ciao Bella. This old-school Italian on Lamb’s Conduit Street doesn’t care whether you’re leaving for a month, a year, or a long weekend - it’s a party whatever happens. The piano is in full-swing come 9pm most evenings, bags of spaghetti al cartoccio are being emptied onto plates, and glugs of wine are being poured left, right, and centre. It’s the kind of of leaving party that you never, actually, want to leave.
A leaving dinner is a once in a lifetime occasion. Or in the case of your dramatic friend, once every three months. But in our books that’s enough of a reason to go all out. And what better way to go all out than with bamboo steamers filled with dim sum from this Baker Street landmark. The huge round tables are perfect for groups and the cheung fun is perfect for the happiness of your stomach. It’s a win-win. The prices can rack up so we like to start off with a selection of dumplings, all the cheung fun, and a crispy aromatic duck with pancakes for the table.
Noble Rot has everything you need from a celebratory goodbye dinner. Wine? Very much covered. Atmosphere? Have you tried leaving this place after an hour? Impossible. Flexibility? Sure. Start with London’s best bread in the front bar area, before moving back into the dining room with your nearest and dearest later on. You see, it’s got everything. The only problem is that one person will not be happy leaving it for the long-term.
Nothing says “goodbye, my friend” like a murderous rendition of the Spice Girls. If that sounds like the kind of departure you’re looking for, then look no further than the karaoke room at Bao Borough. Aside from their fluffy pork and deep-fried cheese-filled buns, their fried chicken, cocktails, and basement karaoke room makes for the best kind of ending to any farewell.
Saying goodbye to someone you love, care, and rely on for Amazon Prime can be hard. So it’s only right you give them a glamorous send off. Enter, Brasserie Zedel. There’s next to no situations that this jaw-dropping brasserie in Piccadilly Circus doesn’t suit, but big, see ya later, dinners is one the best. The prix fixe menu allows you to keep the cost down when you’re in a big group, and the enormous space makes every meal a memorable one.
This isn’t their first leaving party, and everyone knows it won’t be their last, so the days of pulling out all the stops are long gone. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a nice time, even if everybody’s stopped bothering to attend their bi-monthly farewells. A pub is what you need and the Canton Arms is that pub. Whether you’re munching black pudding toasties and sinking pints in the bar area, or digging into the changing Mediterranean menu in the dining room, this Stockwell boozer is a safe bet.
Leaving dinners can be impossible situations with big groups. Which is why, sometimes, you just need to make sure everyone eats well, and accept that some catch ups will happen over a pint later on. Bubala is the perfect restaurant for when everyone is happy to be locked into a superb (and generous) vegetarian meal for £30 a head. The food - from bread, to dips, to a date and black syrup ice cream - at this lowkey Spitalfields restaurant is delicious, and it’s well placed when you’re looking for somewhere to go onto for drinks once you’re done.
After a few years of working somewhere that’s made you think Sunday night jäger bombs are an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, you’ve decided to go 12 hours away for the indefinite future. Nobody knows what you’re doing, least of all you, but you do know that Master Wei is bloody good way to say goodbye to London. This Chinese restaurant in Bloomsbury is one of London’s finest spots for noodles, it’s perfect for a crowd that loves a casual environment with first-class food, and you’re guaranteed a chilli oil stained t-shirt from slurping cold liangpi noodles by the end of the night.
Everyone in London wants a pub like the Camberwell Arms. Like every great drinking hole, it’s got a whiff of opportunity, mixed with regret, finished with a layer of chips and ketchup. Though much of this pub is, technically, made for eating, nobody here is tucking into pork fat on toast, or spooning into a pie, without a pint by their side, or a bottle on the table. It’s the pub you picture if you’re the kind of person to picture pubs when it comes to goodbye meals. And if that is you, then you’re sorted.