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 four 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
13 Restaurants for an Unforgettable Christmas Party
Ditch the dry turkey breast and take workmates somewhere worth celebrating
1. The Quality Chop House
A delightfully Dickensian Christmas beckons in Clerkenwell, courtesy of Shaun Searley. Eat either in the dining room or book the private room upstairs and order from the December “feasting” menu (£54). It features 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 chicory and walnuts. Fosse Meadows turkey is the centre piece, which is served with beautifully executed and arranged trimmings.
2. Salon Brixton
Salon’s seasonal offering didn’t disappoint when it was just one menu in previous years, and now it’s received an upgrade, with three different casts of dishes available at £39, £49, or £69. The centrepieces are as follows: a chicken and chanterelle pie; porchetta, rolled with citrus and served with fennel; and roast duck with a honey, thyme, and lavender glaze.
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Trullo’s serene, unfussy but celebratory Italian cooking is perfect for the season: a private room offers bright castelfranco salad with clementine, or some truly moreish shallot fritti; then across a range of price points, perhaps some hake, Hampshire pork, or the much-lauded T-bone steak with crispy potatoes and gorgonzola fonduta.
4. 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.
6. 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. A new set menu structure following reopening has left its raucous precision undimmed, with smoked spiced duck with quince; a baked Tunworth cheese, Lyonnaise onions, and white truffle flatbread; beef and bone marrow; and a by-now institutional deep-fried mince pie clocking in at £49.99 apiece.
7. 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 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.
9. 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 tart, pate en croûte, and an onion squash with spelt risotto and Spenwood cheese. Yes, it’s a pastry premium, but with Calum Franklin on the dough, it’s one worth paying.
10. 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 an overnight osso bucco the grandstand main. As with this pub’s esteemed Sunday roasts, it’s the sides — celeriac dauphinoise; roast potatoes with herbs and garlic — that look set to steal the show.
11. OMBRA Bar & Restaurant
Mitshel Ibrahim’s Ombra excels when measuring for generosity as much as quality, with its restless menu very much suited to sharing in the winter. A shared quintet of starters includes duck and mandarin terrine; the pneumatic gnocco fritto here with wild boar mortadella and winter truffle; and Jerusalem artichokes with chestnut, while the main event is either trout with radicchio, potatoes, and cime di rapa or a luxurious slow-cooked egg with potato and porcini. Tiramisu is the obvious supplement dessert to a mandarin pannacotta.
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12. 40 Maltby Street
This Bermondsey wonder always runs a Christmas menu in the few days before the big one, and it’s always pretty secretive about what is actually on it. With no reservations and, it is guaranteed, a crowd of disciples, this is the reliable winter wildcard for smaller groups. Diners might not know exactly what dishes to expect, but carefully cooked vegetables, peerless pastry, and warming, agreeable desserts will definitely be on offer.
13. Honey & Co. Bloomsbury
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.