Are there three more ominous words in workplace parlance than “team Christmas lunch”? It usually means choosing between paying a premium for a souped-up turkey TV dinner or suffering a strained “festive” interpretation of the venue’s standard fare (Christmas tapas, anyone?) It needn’t be like this, though. Plenty of London’s best restaurants are doing seasonal feasting menus over the next six weeks that are the equals of their regular offerings, and many have private rooms to cater for larger groups. So here it is: Eater’s list of places in London to have a work shindig — without a sprout in sight. Well. Perhaps a few.Read More
15 Restaurants for an Unforgettable Christmas Party
Ditch the dry turkey breast and take workmates somewhere worth celebrating
1. Dishoom King's Cross
Turkey 2.0 is the star of Dishoom’s three festive menus, which come in at £42.00 per head and are also available in the Shoreditch, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden branches. A whole turkey leg is slow-cooked over a day in the traditional raan style, then served with Bombay-style potatoes, masala winter greens and spiced cranberry chutney. Small plates and grills serve as supporting acts, and kulfi rounds things off.
Handy for the City crew and yet mercifully low on shouty, otter-haired bores, Sardine does French flavours simply and beautifully. A croque monsieur leads things off, which is pretty serious opening gambit, with a chestnut and cep soup or a chicken liver parfait following up with aplomb. Fish heads will opt for bouillabaisse while roast guinea fowl is the traditionalist’s choice: chocolate mousse or a poached quince bring the curtain down to a tee.
3. The Quality Chop House
A delightfully Dickensian Christmas beckons in Clerkenwell, courtesy of Shaun Searley. Book the private room and choose from either a set menu (£49) or a larger ‘feasting’ menu (£69). Both feature options of the Dexter beef or Mangalitza pork that made the kitchen’s name, plus a range of bar-raising starters like pastrami-cured salmon or smoked cod’s roe with cured egg yolk. A Fosse Meadow turkey is also an option for discerning traditionalists.
4. Chiltern Firehouse
Chiltern Firehouse’s Christmas menu doesn’t come cheap — it’s upwards of £125 a head — but those with a serious end-of-year surplus to burn need look no further. Diners are welcomed with fireside champagne, charcuterie and oysters, before snacks (including the famous crab donuts), sharing starters (steak tartare, truffle risotto), a show-stopping main like whole glazed duck, then bourbon pecan pie and chocolate tart for dessert. Foie gras, needless to say, is available on request.
5. Salon Brixton
After a triumphant return in September to ecstatic reviews, Salon’s seasonal offering doesn’t disappoint. Each dish on the seven-course, £49 tasting menu feels Christmassy without crossing the line into tinselly and twee: think beef cheek with IPA and pickled walnut, and a caramelised pear tart with juniper ice cream for dessert. Blow the budget by saying yes to the suggested wine pairings.
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A now-established Herne Hill favourite majors on a Christmas of comfort. A menu based around a Tamworth pork loin with boulangere potatoes or pheasant, bacon, and root vegetable pie flexes to include celeriac soup or gravlax in the starters and a noble sounding chicory and pumpkin tart at mains; a quality sticky toffee pudding sounds like the move come dessert.
Trullo’s serene, unfussy but celebratory Italian cooking is perfect for the season: a private room offers moreish shallot fritti or a classic puntarelle and anchovy salad to start; roast quail or line-caught hake to follow; and pear and almond tart at £35 per person. Go up to £45, and expect slow-braised ox cheek, Cornish monkfish, and mussel fritti with aioli. Call ahead to sort out a vegetarian main — it’ll be glorious.
8. St John Bread and Wine
Feasting is of course the name of the game at St. John Bread and Wine, with menus themed around game, fish, beef, and, for the larger groups, an entire suckling pig designed to feed 12 or 18. There’s also a menu that consists literally of goose, followed by goose, followed by goose, for those wishing to have a gander.
London EC2A 3QR, UK
Maximalism is the memo at Big Mamma Group’s Gloria, and with a menu as yet unreleased expect to follow in the wildly extra pasta in wheels of cheese, towering meringue pies, and tiramisus more of largesse than finesse that has made this Shoreditch hotspot so irresistibly popular.
10. Black Axe Mangal
London N1 2UP, UK
Black Axe Mangal does “boozy weekday lunches” and weekend parties, so it’s the perfect place to hire if in search of a little less traditional festive feast. Foie gras will probably feature if desired, perhaps inside a doughnut, and expect some lamb or squid ink flat breads, feverish spicing, and a general attitude that might be summarised with “f--- the tinsel.” A very, very special occasion.
11. Honey & Co.
Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich have always favoured communal feasting and sharing as the best way to experience their impeccable mezze, grills, and pastry work, so a Christmas party at Honey & Co is always going to be a winner. A winter menu features poached quince with curd cheese, cinnamon falafel, and pot-roasted beef with pumpkin, and these dishes are likely to be at the heart of a Christmas menu served on platters to share.
12. Forza Wine
A rooftop bar might sound like an unlikely place for a December event, but given a heated terrace and the fact that inside space exists, Peckham’s new Italian darling’s combination of just-one-more snacks, smart cocktails, and irreverently welcoming vibe makes it just the ticket for a wintry night out.
Sabor has a counter and a tapas bar, but the Christmas feasting should happen at the Asador, with whole suckling pig, prawn croquetas, Galician octopus, and more on offer for groups of four or more. Some tapas downstairs to kick things off wouldn’t hurt either.
14. Holborn Dining Room
Groups of 10 and above can go trad with a side of exquisite pastry at Holborn Dining Room, with turkey, cured salmon, and clementines — well, mandarins — represented across a hearty feasting menu. That’s the £70 affair; a £90pp menu brings in the big guns, with lobster thermidor tarte, pate en croûte, and a club cut rib eye. Yes, it’s a pastry premium, but with Calum Franklin on the dough, it’s one worth paying.
15. The Camberwell Arms
Groups of four and above can enjoy the plentiful, family style affair at this south London institution, with crispy sprouts and pickled onions a noble starter and glazed ham with spiced raisin butter and creamy turnips looking like a winner come mains. Any menu whose extras include a whole baked Vacherin cheese and dauphinoise “for the table” is a menu worth looking into seriously.