London has such a rich variety of restaurants, dining styles and even food quarters that it’s hard to know where to start. With over 15,000 restaurants feeding over 20 million people each year, you will find the meal to suit your mood, palate and wallet.
Here are some of our favourites, which combine tradition with invention, comfort food with fine cuisine, and the exotic with the familiar.
A deservedly popular spot, BOWLS practices the philosophies that underpin all good food; simple ideas, good ingredients and craftsmanship. It’s the brainchild of Le Cordon Bleu alumna Zarifa Ragimova, who graduated from our Diplôme de Cuisine in 2016.
The Caribbean/Asian fusion restaurant serves almost everything within a hearty bowl and their dishes include Caribbean BBQ Jerk Chicken with Rice n Peas, Korean Bibimbap, BBQ Pulled Pork Bao, Japanese Miso Aubergine and Jamaican Curry Goat.
Any time of day is good to visit BOWLS, from brunch right to dinner, and their cocktails are quite a draw for Soho diners.
This restaurant builds on the principle of slow cooking, which means that meats fall of the bone and sauces are created with care and finesse.
Lucknow 49 is the latest restaurant from rising star and Le Cordon Bleu alumnus Dhruv Mittal (who also founded DUM Biryani House). Named after a North Indian city, the casual restaurant serves Awadhi cuisine which is native to Lucknow.
Despite only opening this year, Lucknow 49 is already amassing a major following, as Mayfair foodies are eager to try its galawati kebabs, biryanis, and curries. Critics across London praise its inventive menu and reasonable prices.
From the cooler climes of Scandinavia via New York, Aquavit is a Michelin-starred Nordic restaurant.
A high-end restaurant (though the smörgåsbord is reasonably priced), Aquavit is the place to try distinctive but exquisite farmhouse fare, seafood, blood sausage and beef. The restaurant started life in Manhattan, before this branch opened to much acclaim in the UK, and it wasn't long before they were rewarded with a Michelin star.
Some lucky Londoners got the chance to see its executive chef in action earlier this year, when Henrik Ritzen, hosted a demonstration at Le Cordon Bleu.
Goat in the Garden
The philosophy of Goat in the Garden is based on fresh, seasonal produce. So, in this restaurant, the menu is dictated by ingredients – not the other way around. Diners at Goat in the Garden enjoy a revolving menu that changes every week, as the restaurant sources quality, local produce and creates its meal from scratch.
Le Cordon Bleu graduate Margaux Stepczynski says she takes inspiration from her favourite chefs and “from my belly”, so the restaurant offers wholesome, hearty twists on old-style favourites. You might be dining on smoked goat leg, cured fish of the day or pea salad, depending on the season and availability of fresh ingredients, of course!
A compelling mix of luxury, quality food and decadence, this American-style 5-star restaurant has a legendary brunch (from oysters to buttermilk pancakes, to steak tartar, to their trademark burger). Their breakfasts, lunches and dinners are also sumptuous and they offer “Firehouse Feasts” for groups; a sharing menu that offers monkfish, pork pluma and gnocchi.
Celebrity-spotting is not for everyone, but if you do want to glimpse a star, Chiltern Firehouse often plays host to the likes of Jennifer Laurence, Cara Delevingne and David Beckham.
Blending the traditional with experimentation, Cinnamon Club has been wowing its hungry Westminster customers since 2001. Its modern Indian menu includes game, spiced fish and more, all made with the restaurant’s own twist and often with ingredients exclusive to Cinnamon Club.
The restaurant also has seasonal menu items, events and workshops. We even hosted Cinnamon Club's Executive Chef Rakesh Nair at Le Cordon Bleu London, for a guest chef demonstration as part of our 2019 Summer Festival.
Described as “sublimely zestful” by Lonely Planet, LIMA is the recent recipient of a Michelin star and the first Peruvian restaurant in Europe to do so. Thankfully, their lunch menu is very affordable, so you too can enjoy their famous spin on Peru’s cuisine.
This might mean crispy octopus tentacles, suckling pig or sea bass cooked to perfection. Lima’s dishes use exotic herbs, sauces and even edible flowers. This explains why their meals are famously colourful – riots of yellows, purples and reds that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate.
Le Cordon Bleu graduate Virgilio Martinez established the restaurant and hired its head chef, Robert Ortiz who also demonstrated some incredible dishes as part of Le Cordon Bleu’s Summer Festival in June 2019.
“Simple, but sophisticated,” is the restaurant’s self-proclaimed mantra, and HIDE has built a sterling reputation on this idea.
Its ingredients are a mix of seasonally sourced produce from UK farmers, as well as sauces and components made from scratch, wherever possible. The result is Michelin fare, five-star food in a luxurious setting, which led to one of the highest-profile launches of 2018.
Reviewers have raved about their seafood, goose and seasonal dishes and wine connoisseurs wax lyrical about HIDE’s extensive drinks menu: upon request, the sommelier will hand you an iPad with over 4,000 wines to choose from.
Head Chef Ollie Dabbous has visited Le Cordon Bleu previously to host a culinary demonstration, catching up with Le Cordon Bleu Master Chef Colin Westal, who he worked under early in his career. Many Le Cordon Bleu graduates have also gone on to cook under Dabbous in his Michelin-starred kitchen.
An exciting part of the street food trend sweeping the world, Kricket combines British ingredients with Indian cuisine, offering a high-end variation on Indian street food.
It didn’t take long to make its mark: in the Evening Standard restaurant awards, Kricket was nominated in the ‘Worth the Queue’ category, and it’s a favourite among local foodies and even high-profile chefs.
The food takes a lot of inspiration from Mumbai, offering a range of tasty small plates like samphire pakoras (a more delicate cousin of bhaji), garlic crab and goat leg raan. Like many cutting-edge restaurants, the menu is subject to change, but there’ll be plenty to whet your appetite, whatever they serve.
Kricket’s Will Bowlby, like many of London’s leading chefs, has hosted a guest chef event at Le Cordon Bleu London.
See you in London…
London is one of the finest cities in the world for restaurants, with diversity, quality and value all on the menu.
Le Cordon Bleu are proud to be associated with many of these restaurants, whether the graduates are establishing the restaurants or working in them.
Whether you want to open your own restaurant, cook alongside Michelin-starred chefs, or work in another area of hospitality, Le Cordon Bleu has been at the forefront of culinary education for generations. Why not start your culinary journey today?