Fancy getting up close and personal with some of the city’s top chefs? Book the best seat in the house at one of these chef’s tables, where diners are invited behind the scenes at some of London’s finest eateries. From swanky private dining rooms in Mayfair to theatrical displays in Fitzrovia, these are the best chef’s tables in London.
Chef’s Tables in London
Drawing from Carlo Scotto’s global travels, this exciting new Mayfair opens offers brilliant tasting menus taking you on a journey from India to Japan to his home in Naples. The overall theme of the food? Modern European with global influence, and this is delicately balanced throughout. A fantastic chef’s table view places all guests round a communal table (struck through the middle with real amethyst) offering are prime seats to spy Carlo and his team – an assembly line of culinary athletes – chop, sprinkle, and generally artfully prepare these small plates. Amethyst Restaurant.
Growing up in the in the tiny Mexican town of Cuernavaca, Santiago Lastra first started cooking to help his family cope with the grief of losing their father. Now, he’s making culinary waves all over the world. He made a name for himself running sell out supper clubs, but his most recent venture is perhaps the most exciting yet. Santiago heads up KOL in Marylebone, where he hopes to change the conversation around Mexican food. And what better way to do this than with a chef’s table experience? The restaurant has recently launched a new offering where diners can watch Santiago and his team of chefs cook up exclusive dishes straight out of the test kitchen alongside a bespoke drinks pairing. kolrestaurant.com
Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan is a pioneer in farm-to-table dining, with all his restaurants using produce grown at his own farm in the Cartmel Valley. A great way to experience Simon’s food is through a chef’s table experience like the one offered at Aulis London in Soho. Headed up by chefs Oli Marlow and Charlie Tayler, the restaurant is exclusively limited to eight guests, offering an interactive dining experience each evening in which dishes are cooked in front of you. You’ll learn about Simon’s unique ethos, which pairs a deep respect for nature with cutting-edge technique. Expect innovative dishes packed with flavour, such as crispy chicken skin with Cornish crab and sea herbs, mussel and seaweed custard with caviar, and miso glazed mushroom with fermented cep. aulis.london
Hélène Darroze at The Connaught
The three Michelin-starred Hélène Darroze at The Connaught re-opened a few years ago after undergoing a dazzling transformation. This saw the once panelled dining room overtaken by pink and coral tones, as well as the addition of an arrow-shaped marble table downstairs – Hélène’s debut chef’s table. From here, guests can enjoy a blind menu: three courses at lunch time, or seven courses at dinner, with chefs on hand to present the dishes and answer any questions. Bespoke Matteo Gonet lights shine a spotlight on the food, which is of course magnificent. the-connaught.co.uk
After 15 months of closure, Michelin-starred Fitzrovia restaurant Kitchen Table reopened in July 2021 with a fresh look and an exciting new menu. Spearheaded by husband-and wife-duo, Noma-trained James Knappett and sommelier Sandia Chang, Kitchen Table used to sit at the back of gourmet champagne and hot dog restaurant Bubbledogs, which sadly closed for good during the pandemic. It’s been repurposed as a cocktail bar though, while Kitchen Table continues to serve as an intimate dining room seating just 18 – meaning the whole restaurant is pretty much a chef’s table. The setting may be low-key, but the two-Michelin-starred food is anything but: diners will embark on a dazzling 20-course gastronomic feast. Prepare for some surprises – the daily-changing menu is intentionally enigmatic, with one-word descriptions of dishes, but the chefs will talk you through their magic along the way. kitchentablelondon.co.uk
Michelin-starred Valencian chef Quique Dacosta’s paella palace is a celebration of rice – something so integral to Quique’s cooking he decided to write a whole book about it. The 10-person chef’s table is located on the ground floor of Arros QD, giving diners the chance to see paella being cooked theatrically a la llama (‘to the flame’) on the restaurant’s impressive six-metre stove. arrosqd.com
Social Eating House
With its inconspicuous frontage, one can’t help but feel ‘in the know’ upon arriving at Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House. Regulars will be aware of the speakeasy-style bar hidden above the restaurant: a dimly-lit, cosy space with antique mirrored ceilings and a copper-topped bar. Even more secret, though, is the chef’s counter, tucked away in the lower ground kitchen area. Seating just eight guests, this intimate experience offers the chance to enjoy Michelin-starred food while watching top-class chefs at work. Chef Paul Hood moved over from sister restaurant Pollen Street Social to run the kitchen, and unsurprisingly he does a stellar job. The Chef’s Counter menu offers an impressive nine-course spread of ever-changing contemporary and bistro dishes, made using locally sourced ingredients. socialeatinghouse.com
With a mixture of melt-in-the-mouth yakitori chicken skewers, outstanding sides and sharp sake, Aman Lakhani’s Junsei is quite the culinary experience. The small restaurant has an intimate feel, made all the better by the calm and collected manner of the chefs and serving staff. Sitting at the counter watching the cooking happen while learning the chefs’ process and ingredients brings you right into the action and somehow makes the food taste even better. Junsei takes you on a journey of delicious marinades and chargrilled edges to patron peppers, tofu, okra, quail eggs and quite literally every part of the chicken. Think Chicken Skin chips with sansho salt, chicken heart ‘Hatsu’ skewers and chicken tender loin with wasabi. While the skewers are certainly the highlight, Junsei serves up delightful larger plates, including sea bream dashi simmered rice. Not one to miss. junsei.co.uk
Frog by Adam Handling
Hidden inside Adam Handling’s Covent Garden restaurant is The Library, a private dining room complete with its own kitchen, waiting staff and sommeliers. Accessed via a hidden doorway, the space is elegant and intimate, seating up to 12 guests. Food-wise, expect a winning combination of seasonal and flavoursome, presented beautifully and with the lightly theatrical touch Adam is famous for. Dishes are always changing in line with the seasons, but you can expect creations like wagyu beef with truffle, veal sweetbread and lobster cannelloni. frogbyadamhandling.com
Dining’s Chelsea follow-up, Dinings SW3 is a glossy sushi spot centred around traditional izakaya cuisine. Its luxurious chef’s counter is positioned right in front of the kitchen, giving diners a front seat in the prepping process, which involves whizzing together an array of colourful sushi and sashimi tapas-style plates with both flair and impeccable attention to detail. diningssw3.co.uk
You can pretty much guarantee everything served within Angela Hartnett’s bracket will be outstanding, but the private dining experience offered at her Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant Murano is extra special. The elegant room accommodates 12 guests – seated around an oval table – with a window offering a direct view into the kitchen, where Angela and her top team will be cooking up a special tasting menu. Though without a doubt a fine dining restaurant, Murano breaks Mayfair traditions with its relaxed atmosphere and large portion sizes. The menu is a reflection of Angela’s Italian upbringing: think lobster linguine, buffalo mozzarella, and turbot with seaweed butter, mussels and clams, alongside a predominantly Italian wine list. muranolondon.com
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
The Mandarin Oriental is home to one of the world’s most famous and cutting-edge chefs, culinary wizard Heston Blumenthal. Here the chef’s table offering caters for four to six guests, with a bespoke menu created for your party alongside wine pairings. Worlds away from your average dinner, eating here is a gastronomic journey of showstopper dishes, all inspired by British history. A sample menu could include ‘Meat Fruit’ – mandarin, chicken liver parfait and grilled bread, alongside an intriguing ‘Nitrogen Ice Cream Trolley’. A heads up: it’s pricey, so your wallet may not thank you – but your stomach definitely will. dinnerbyheston.co.uk
Greek-inspired gastrobar, INO, serves famous Greek dishes with a London slant and refreshing wines from terraced volcanic vineyards and mountain sides in Greece. Each dish is a delight to the eyes, nose and mouth as you make your way through the menu of stuffed vine leaves called Dolmas, delightfully salty taramasalata with hand-stretched pitta bread, and a premium USA beef rib eye skewer with tzatziki. A stand-out dish is the octopus taco, served on an olive oil flatbread with powerful smoked tomato paste and crispy onions. Sitting at the counter watching the chefs work is a highlight of the experience as you watch each plate take shape from raw ingredients into precisely decorated masterpieces. inogastrobar.com
After first opening its doors back in 1986, Launceston Place quickly became a hotspot for the rich and famous – even said to be Princess Diana’s local. Housed in a mid-century townhouse in South Kensington, the restaurant remains as trendy as it was back then, in part thanks to the string of top chefs who have headed up its kitchen over the years. Its chef’s table is served in a private dining room and seats up to 12 guests, with both three and seven course menus available, paired with wines selected by head sommelier Nicola Perrone. Guests are invited to enjoy the Phyllis menu, named after chef patron Ben Murphy’s grandmother and designed in the style of a draughts board – the game he would play with her as a child. The idea is diners remove all the pieces off the board to reveal the plates they can choose from, covering the dishes they don’t fancy. Ben is known for his artful, elaborate style of cooking, which tends to feature unique flavour combinations and playful presentation. That includes dishes like cod glazed served with a radish rose and filled with a hidden nori, and delicately sliced mushrooms encased in a fine tart shell, topped with parmesan and yeast shavings. A seven-course tasting menu is also on offer, complete with plates including Ben’s interpretation of eggs and soldiers: chicken liver parfait topped with scrambled egg mousse served in an eggshell. launcestonplace-restaurant.co.uk
Main image: Amethyst, Sackville Street.