THE CLOVE CLUB
Currently the highest-ranked UK entry (at number 26) on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, The Clove Club has reinvented fine dining for a generation that wouldn’t dream of wearing anything except jeans to dinner (and one that is totally fine with the idea of buying a pre-paid ticket for supper; eating out, after all, is a form of entertainment). Multi-course tasting menus promise experimental, modern British cooking that is as directional as it is delicious, while a completely open kitchen reminds diners that The Clove Club started life as a super club in the three young owners’ flat.
The Hanway Place Hakkasan may be the blueprint that spawned 13 restaurants around the world, but the Mayfair outpost attracts the more dressed-up crowd.Turn up at lunchtime for superlative dim sum (baked venison puff and fried soft-shell crab with red chilli) in the ground- floor bar; come the evening, downstairs is the place to be, as DJ beats bounce off the latticework screens and glamorous waiting staff glide between spotlit tables in a thrilling space that blurs the line between restaurant and nightclub, and the legendary strawberry and basil Martini is the only libation to be seen drinking.
Pablo Flack and David Waddington’s first restaurant, Bistrotheque in Bethnal Green,
is a legend in its own brunchtime in pioneering east London as a serious dining destination. The duo’s follow-up, Hoi Polloi, at hipster favourite the Ace Hotel, keeps fashionistas safely shielded from the actual hoi polloi outside on Shoreditch High Street.
Super-stylish design touches such as Ercol Butter y chairs and Castiglioni Snoopy lamps
ensure the restaurant looks as good as its clientele. Its cheese toasties and afternoon teas are fashion-crowd favourites, as too are the parties at the end of London Fashion Week.
Victoria Beckham held her OBE celebration at Juan Santa Cruz’s first London restaurant, Casa Cruz; his second, Isabel, is located around the corner from her Dover Street boutique. On the menu is a delicious line-up of low-carb, figure-friendly food (quinoa porridge; grilled octopus), available from breakfast through to dinner. But it’s the beautiful surroundings that draw in the beautiful people, from the copper front door and the shiny brass discs on the ceiling, to the geometric carpet and the hand-painted de Gournay wallpaper in the individually decorated lavatories: #interiorinspiration.
Like the perfect little black dress or the navy cashmere sweater, Scott’s is somewhere that never goes out of fashion – and somewhere you could wear either of those garments and still feel appropriately dressed, although whatever you do wear risks being upstaged by the ice-heaped crustacea bar that glitters like a diamond necklace. The terrace offers fabulous people watching in summer as the Mount Street fashion parade winds its way between Lanvin, Marni and Balenciaga; inside, all is snowy-white linen, chestnut-brown banquettes and simple sh dishes done exceptionally well.
The excitement at Sushisamba begins before you’ve even set foot in the restaurant, as glass- walled lifts whisk diners up to the 38th floor of the Heron Tower at g-force speed. Once there, the restaurant’s iconic tree sculpture (as seen on the opening page of this feature) provides more wow factor. You’ll also find a fusion of Japanese and Brazilian cooking – the sushi and the samba – prepared using coveted ingredients such as Kobe beef, the most premium form of Wagyu available. Of course, you could be forgiven for not noticing what’s on your plate: Hugh Grant might be on the next table, while views that stretch to the horizon are at their absolute best from a terrace that is the highest alfresco dining spot in Europe.