Once upon a time, British food had a bad reputation for being bland, dull and greasy. Historians credit this to World War I when the highly skilled cooks who prepared advanced cuisines for their middle- and upper-class employers were recruited to fight. Many never came home. At the same time, the ingredients needed to make delicious, complex, time-consuming dishes were banned or rationed. The shortage of skilled labor and ingredients led to the simplification of British cuisine. Today, this reputation has taken a dramatic turn as the country continues to climb culinary charts and raise the bar. When you fly into London on a chartered flight, refuel at one of these fine establishments for a fantastic food experience.
A Notting Hill landmark, award-winning The Ledbury earned two Michelin Stars in 2018. Australian chef Brett Graham has received numerous international accolades for his no-dairy, no-carb French-inspired menu that includes inventive vegetarian dishes. Graham is also famed for his obsession with British game and amazing desserts. A four-course dinner offers delights such as Chantilly of oyster, cuttlefish, warm Bantam eggs with morels and dried ham, Pyrenean-milk-fed lamb, roasted pear ice cream, and Yorkshire rhubarb with rosé jelly and clotted cream.
Fera at Claridge’s
Located in London’s affluent Mayfair neighborhood, within Claridge’s hotel, the star of Fera’s Michelin-starred cuisine is local produce. Chef Matt Starling wickedly pairs the best of wild and seasonal ingredients with contemporary British dishes. His beautiful presentations capture the colors and textures of the country’s landscapes. Witness the creative process for yourself by reserving a seat at the chef’s table where you’ll sample items such as aged hogget lamb with turnips and pickled tongue, the signature Cumbrian Cartmel Valley smoked venison, chocolate cream with rapeseed jam, liquid nitrogen meringue of Hereford strawberries, or Jerusalem artichoke with toffee apple and salted caramel.
An intimate Mayfair basement institution, Le Gavroche is rated as one of the best formal dining spots in London. It was also the first restaurant in the UK to receive one, two and three Michelin stars. It is here where chef de cuisine, TV personality and author Michael Roux Jr. presents classic haute French cuisine with a light, modern twist. You’ll be mesmerized by signature dishes such as saddle of rabbit with Parmesan cheese, sauté lobster with lemongrass- and coconut-infused lobster jus, and roasted venison with red wine jus. Try the upside-down apple tart, homemade sorbet or ice cream, or chocolate omelet soufflé for dessert. In lieu of a chef’s table, Le Gavroche offers the Chef’s Library with seating for up to six people and a changing six-course menu based on classic and contemporary French dishes and seasonal ingredients.
For a meal with a spectacular view, take in the panoramas at City Social. The stratospheric downtown restaurant serves up dishes that are just as impressive as the glamorous setting. Menu items include local ingredients, such as Lincolnshire rabbit saddle with parma ham, chanterelles, spelt and black garlic; Merrifield farm duck breast and confit leg and heart with leeks and a carrot reduction; and Highland venison loin and ragout with violet artichoke, morels and wild garlic. For dessert, try the apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce or the banana soufflé with banana tartar and peanut ice cream. Make it a memorable evening by reserving the chef’s table, which offers views of the kitchen and skyline.