It’s nearly that time of the year. Christmas is coming. Also arriving soon: the heavy duty strategic planning with your partner to ensure the least possible amount of time spent with either family, the unique look of disappointment and disgust from your Secret Santa recipient at work, and the screams from your sibling because you had ‘one job to do’, and that was to bring the parsnips. Which you forgot.
But before all that fun, you may have the task of arranging an end-of-year Christmas meal for a bunch of people that you either work with or whom you call ‘friends’. Or both. If you book any of the spots below, it should keep you in the spirit of things before they are broken on that train ride home on the 24th of December.
Luca is one of our favorite Italian restaurants in London, and they also happen to have two excellent private rooms, one of which is where they make their pasta fresh daily. From the end of November onwards, they’re doing a £55 five course menu, a £75 six course menu, and a £95 seven course marathon that you must make it your duty to get your company to sign off on. This place is a great option if you want to show your group you know what’s cool.
As one of the first to make tail to nose eating trendy, St. John knows a thing or two about meat, and at Christmas they’re doing five different meats, roasted whole. You can have game at £47 per person, beef at £48 per person, fish at £52 per person, goose at £58 per person, or the whole suckling pig starting at £390 for 14 people. You get to enjoy your meal in their simple whitewashed dining room, or in their equally simple, equally whitewashed private room.
Anchor and Hope is London gastropub royalty, and one of the spots we aggressively steer people to when they find themselves lost and hungry somewhere around the South Bank. This year they’re serving a Christmas lunch - a good call if you work in the area. The standard set menu is £40 per person, and there’s also a vegetarian option. If there are more than six of you, you can do the £69 per person goose roast.
You know what, we’ll happily scour every shop in London for a suitable Secret Santa gift (honestly, just throw 20 quid in the direction of your nearest Paperchase and be done with it), if it means we get to eat festive pizza. If you feel the same, then the £45 Christmas menu at Temper Covent Garden should definitely be on your radar. There’s goat and salumi ragu, there’s white chocolate cannolis, and, yes, there’s a turkey, sausage, and cranberry pizza. This place is perfect for a Christmas lunch involving children, picky eaters, or getting a little bit lairy over on-tap spritz in a big, loud, and proud restaurant.
We’ll use any excuse to go and celebrate at Brigadiers, so you should probably make Christmas lunch yours. This upmarket Indian barbeque spot in the City has everything from a whisky vending machine, a pool room you can abscond to if you happen to hate your colleagues, slick booths, and several private dining areas if you’re looking to go all out. There’s also a whole lot of festive options to suit your needs, with a festival lunch for £40 per person, a full blown festive feast for £65, and a festive vegetarian lunch for £40.
Last time you were at a pub with your colleagues that nice guy in accounting got served the wrong pale ale, revealed just how many swear words he knows in German, and was never seen again. Don’t worry, The Hero Of Maida is not that kind of pub. |t’s elegant, warm, and the food is downright tasty. Head here for a three-course meal of smoked trout, braised beef in red wine, and clementine sorbet for £30 per person. This might not be the place if you’re bringing everyone from your office, plus their extended family, but it’s perfect for groups of up to 15, and if you want to get well away from town.
If you’re looking for somewhere particularly grown-up to go for your Christmas lunch, then The Petersham in Covent Garden is for you. It’s the kind of place where you can get merry over a few rose petal bellinis, in a sophisticated space that makes you feel like a proper adult. Sure, at £75 per person for the Christmas menu, it’s not the cheapest option, but with seasonal dishes like pumpkin and sage bruschetta, baked turbot with saffron mussels, and their lemon tart with creme fraiche, there are enough winners on the menu to keep your whole group happy. Plus, there’s the added bonus that you can pop across the courtyard to Petersham Nurseries to buy a lovely plant pot for any and all relatives you’ve forgotten to order socks for.
If you’re going to have to listen to your entire family moan about their two hour trip to London to see you for a Christmas lunch, then you’re going to want, at the very least, some decent turkey. Luckily, this old-school Kensington haunt really know their meat. It’s the kind of mildly eccentric restaurant that’ll have even your angriest uncle smiling by the time he finishes his cheese and leek starter. Their £35 three-course menu will give you plenty of classically British options, from a fish pie and their grilled chicken breast with creamed tarragon sauce, to a spectacular apple crumble. We’d recommend the roast rump of lamb with rosemary and garlic to really get you in the holiday spirit, by which we mean, to keep your mouth both busy, and very happy, whilst your mum starts her annual game of ‘guess why our child is single’. Perfect.
If you’re sick at the thought of your eighteenth slab of beef and gravy for lunch in December, then the Indian sharing plates at Gunpowder in Tower Bridge will come as a very welcome relief. They have three different festive menus on offer, from a casual £30 three course option, to the full-blown £50 feast that includes some of our favourite dishes like the Gunpowder aloo chat and the egg curry masala, alongside a whole stuffed seasonal game bird cooked with tandoori spice. If you choose to forego buying that cousin a scarf she’ll never wear and spend that extra tenner on going all in at Gunpowder, we definitely wouldn’t judge you.
In the spirit of Christmas (and eating many different tasty things in one sitting), The Coach have two ‘sharing for the table’ menus available. You can either go for the £35 three course menu involving seven hour roast lamb shoulder, or the £50 menu with plenty more options, including the ‘house selection’ of confit duck legs, lamb chops, Gascony black pudding, and sprouts with chestnuts. This spruced up pub in Clerkenwell will suit a whole bunch of situations. Want to prove to all of your colleagues that you actually know about places other than that ’Spoons in Ealing they keep hearing about? Book the grand first-floor dining room. Want to get entirely hammered with your mates over clementine cake and Christmas pudding? Book a table in their glass conservatory for easy access to the bar.
The Sunday Roast at Coal Rooms is one of our favourites in London, and that bodes very well for their festive offerings. It’s right by Peckham Rye train station (hello easy access to the overground after your fifth sherry), serves reliably tasty small plates, and even has an intimate private dining space. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit different but still screams ‘Santa’s coming’, their £40 Christmas feasting menu comes with things like St. John sourdough, chicken fat potatoes, and beer brined chicken. Just be warned, there’s only space for twelve.
If you’ve got two vegetarians, a pescatarian, and someone with an intolerance to everything apart from quinoa, splenda, and booze on your hands, then Ceviche might just be your saving grace. Their £32 Christmas menu includes a pisco sour on arrival, and then your choice between lots of Peruvian classics like seabass ceviche, and roast turkey with panca and amarillo chilli glaze. And don’t worry, there’s vegetarian and gluten free options too. The fact that this place is equal parts laidback and good-time fun means that a casual lunch can quickly descend into enough mezcal negronis to take down Rudolph, so make sure you don’t have any afternoon meetings planned.