London’s Best Festive Menus For 2023
Yes, it’s happening: the Christmas season is almost upon us – which means our diaries, and our stomachs, are about to start filling up. If you’ve been put in charge of booking the Christmas meal for your friends, family or colleagues, we’ve got you covered with a guide to the best festive menus in London. At this time of year, the capital’s eateries always pull out the stops, creating creative menus with a celebratory feel. Whether you’re a sucker for a traditional roast or fancy an alternative seasonal feast, there’s something for everyone: Italian, Peruvian, Indian and more. Our round-up features a range of prices too, both cheap and cheerful dinners perfect for get-togethers with friends, and pricier offerings for those keen to splash out on a romantic Christmas date night.
Best Festive Menus in London 2023
Cheap Festive Menus (Under £50pp)
Housed in a beautifully restored Edwardian building in Brixton, bistro and wine shop The Laundry is a great choice for group dining this Christmas, with a range of private dining options and a special festive menu on offer. Begin with sharing starters of burrata on toast with truffle thyme honey, winter salad with mulled cranberry, and mini prawn cocktails, ahead of hearty mains such as aubergine parmigiana, or confit duck leg with chorizo cassoulet. These are served with a selection of seasonal sides for the table, including Brussels sprouts and chestnuts, pigs in blankets, and cauliflower cheese with truffle gratin. Finish with a sharing festive tiramisu – and don’t miss the Baileys Espresso Martini.
Address: 374 Coldharbour Ln, London SW9 8PL
After developing a cult following in London Bridge, pasta hotspot Padella opened a second branch in Shoreditch, which offers the same delicious Italian fare. Head there this festive season to try some of its most iconic dishes in a feasting style menu: begin with a glass of fizz followed by a selection of antipasti, such as burrata with Le Ferre olive oil, and parmesan and mint salad. The main event is a sharing selection of hand rolled pastas including pici cacio e pepe, stracci with gorgonzola fonduta and sweet onion, and ravioli of delica pumpkin and ricotta, concluding with a classic tiramisu. Bueno.
Address: 1 Phipp St, London EC2A 4PS
Riding House Cafe
With three outposts around the capital (Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia, Victoria), the Riding House group is well-suited to group dining. All venues are spacious, with a low-key atmosphere and impressive (but not overly expensive) food. There are a range of Christmas menus on offer this year, featuring a spread of sharing-style dishes for the table. Think wild rice with roast squash and pomegranate, smoked barbary duck and pickled dates, chicken schnitzel and sage, and truffled sweet potato wellington, alongside seasonal sides. Finish with sticky toffee brioche doughnuts, chocolate cheesecake or charcoal pavlova, with optional mince pies and coffee to finish. A vegan alternative menu is also available.
Price: From £50pp
Address: Locations in Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia and Victoria
Fed up of turkey and sprouts? Head to Peruvian restaurant Señor Ceviche for an alternative Christmas feast. The family-style sharing menu includes ten of its most popular dishes, such as croquetas, seared cod with mussels, and roast pork shoulder marinated in aji panca paste. If you go for the veggie feast, the menu will include BBQ Jerusalem artichoke, oven-baked cheesy aubergine, and miso glazed mushrooms. Either way, save some space for the dessert: a showstopping Peruvian Eton Mess, piled high with meringue, cream and pisco-infused seasonal fruit. At just £39pp, it’s a very affordable option too.
Address: Kingly Court, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW
Korean Dinner Party
Swap turkey for fried chicken at Soho favourite Korean Dinner Party. There are two feasting menus available this season, the first being Chimaek Christmas, based around the Korean tradition of pairing fried chicken with beer (we’re sold already). Tuck into the eatery’s renowned Korean corn dogs, mac ‘n’ cheese, and all the fried chicken, followed by a special ice cream cone tree dessert topped with matcha green tea. The other offering is the Seoulful Christmas, an indulgent spread of fried chicken and kimchi pancakes, and bacon mochi, followed by a slow-roasted pork shoulder main served with tacos and lettuce cups.
Price: £32pp for Chimaek Christmas, £42pp for Seoulful Christmas
Address: Top Floor, Kingly Ct, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW
Mid-Range Festive Menus (£50-100pp)
If you’re after a festive meal in Chelsea, you can’t go wrong with Bluebird. The King’s Road stalwart is always particularly special during the winter season – this year the restaurant has partnered with Nyetimber to create a terrace decked out with Christmas trees and red bows. There are two festive menus on offer, both featuring comforting dishes like leek and potato soup, hand rolled gnocchi and turkey ballotine, alongside desserts of Guinness and chocolate steamed Christmas pudding and white chocolate cheesecake. Enjoy alongside some sparkling fizz or a festive cocktail or two after a day of gift shopping.
Price: From £65pp
Address: 350 King’s Rd, London SW3 5UU
Ravinder Bhogal’s Marylebone restaurant Jikoni is all about ‘cooking without borders’, with an entirely unique menu which spans Asia, British, African and Middle Eastern. Its sharing-style concept is well-suited to festive dinners with friends, with a vibrant and flavoursome menu on offer which sees traditional Christmas flavours reinvented in new and exciting ways. Kick off with prawn toast scotch eggs with pickled cucumbers, and soy keema buns with lime pickle butter, alongside small plates of wild mushrooms on toast, and Orkney scallops. For mains, choose between comforting dishes like paneer gnudi with winter greens saag, and native lobster moilee with coconut chutney. Finish with Ravinder’s famous banana cake with miso butterscotch – and if you’re a negroni fan, be sure to try Jikoni’s seasonal twist on the classic cocktail, which is flavoured with pomegranate.
Price: From £60pp
Address: 19-21 Blandford St, London W1U 3DJ
Housed on the ground floor of chic members’ club 1 Warwick (but open to all), Tom Cenci’s Nessa has become a popular spot since opening earlier this year. Head there from 27 November to try the festive sharing menu, a traditional spread of seasonal fare with playful twists added. Kick things off in the best way: with some cheese croquettes, alongside sage stuffing with brioche (a festive version of Nessa’s famed black pudding brioche). The main event is a chicken roast with all the trimmings, ahead of a ‘Vienessa’ dessert – Cenci’s take on the nostalgic ice cream pudding, Vienetta, sliced and served at the table to share. Finish with mince pies and a Christmas cocktail.
Address: 86 Brewer St, London W1F 9UB
Acme Fire Cult
Focusing on sharing places cooked over live fire, Dalston favourite Acme Fire Cult is the ideal spot for dining in big groups. The new festive menu is available for groups of nine to 30 people, cooked over the restaurant’s outdoor grill and featuring a mix of signature dishes alongside festive newbies. Starters include a selection of veggie-focused plates such as grilled leeks with pistachio romesco, shaved pumpkin with squash hummus, and Brussels sprouts and kale with sourdough miso Caesar. For the main course, groups can choose from feasting dishes like herb fed chicken with smoked wild mushrooms, lamb shoulder with salsa roja, and wood roast white park beef with truffle and bone marrow butter. Pair with fresh beers brewed on-site by neighbouring venue 40FT Brewery, alongside seasonal cocktails and wines.
Price: Variety of prices available
Address: Abbot St, London E8 3DP
Le Pont de la Tour
This long-standing riverside restaurant always pulls out the stops for the festive season, with its garden transforming into a glittering winter wonderland. It’s the perfect spot for a Christmas meal with friends, with a special festive menu featuring traditional fare with a French twist. Begin with cured smoked salmon blinis and beef tartare ahead of Cornish cod bourguignon, chestnut gnocchi or a chicken roast with pommes fondant. For dessert, there’s a choice of chocolate fondant, chestnut cheesecake or ice cream. Alternatively, if you’re feeling particularly luxurious, the Prestige Festive Menu kicks things up a notch with roast lobster, and champagne and cranberry trifle.
Price: £77pp for the Festive Menu or £99pp for the Prestige Festive Menu
Address: 36D Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE
St. JOHN Bread and Wine
The Spitalfields offshoot of the original St. JOHN offers the same quirky nose-to-tail dining as the flagship, with the kitchen spearheaded by Head Chef Farokh Talati. Visit this Christmas to try one of its special feasting menus, which are all based around a central meat, paired with an array of veg-focused sides. Beef is served alongside date loaf and butterscotch sauce, for instance, while venison comes with cauliflower, leek and butter beans. You can then add more traditional sides of brussel sprouts and mash, plus mince pies for dessert. Vegetarians are catered for separately, but really this isn’t the best restaurant for non-meat-eaters. The offering is available for groups of eight or more from the beginning of December.
Price: From £55pp
Address: 94-96 Commercial St, London E1 6LZ
No. 32 Old Town
You can’t go wrong at this Clapham favourite, a crowd-pleaser which always delivers on the atmosphere and the food. Its festive set menu features traditional seasonal flavours: winter root vegetable soup or twice baked haddock souffle ahead of mains of roast turkey with all the trimmings, Jerusalem artichoke risotto, or oven roasted ocean trout. Finish with a classic sticky toffee pudding, chocolate and raspberry ganache, or a Christmas pud.
Address: 32 The Pavement, London SW4 0JF
Spice up your Christmas dinner at Dishoom, which is serving up an Indian feast this season inspired by the sharing culture of Bombay’s Irani cafes. Available across all of its branches, the menu features Indian twists on festive classics: turkey raan – or a vegan alternative – alongside Bombay potatoes, chilli Brussel sprouts and cranberry chutney. Can’t imagine a trip to Dishoom without tucking into some black daal? Fear not: it features too, alongside a number of other house classics, finishing off with a mince pie kulfi.
Address: Multiple locations
Nestled away in the backstreets of Chelsea, this charming pub is a lovely spot for a group dinner – with a private dining room available to book for up to 35 guests. The food is top-quality, with the Christmas party offering including starters of raclette cheese tart and venison terrine ahead of a choice of Wiltshire lamb rump, pan-fried Cornish sea bass, gnocchi and the classic turkey roast. Finish on a sweet note with desserts like Belgian chocolate brownie, Christmas pudding, or mulled English pear tartlet.
Address: 6 Christchurch Terrace, London SW3 4AJ
Special Occasion Festive Menus (£100pp+)
Mix it up with a Japanese-Brazilian feast at SUSHISAMBA, which has given its tasting menu a festive spin for the Christmas season. Available across both the Heron Tower and the Covent Garden locations, the offering includes dishes like crispy crab taquitos, octopus tiradito, wagyu maki and miso-cured ginger salmon – plus a sakura cream and white chocolate crumb dessert. Both restaurants have been jazzed up for the season, complete with installations of over 600 metallic balloons – and if you choose the City location, you’ll be met with panoramic views of the capital.
Address: Heron Tower, Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY and 35 The Mkt, London WC2E 8RF
BOOK: Until 3 January 2024, sushisamba.com
When it comes to iconic dining spots in the capital, it doesn’t get much better than Claridge’s. A trip to this long-standing hotel is always a treat, particularly come Christmas time, when it’s decked out in chic festive glitz. Throughout December, a decadent festive menu is on offer in the Foyer & Reading Room. Begin with seared foie gras, and potato and parmesan gnocchi, before enjoying a classic turkey roast, seared halibut, beef wellington or marinated celeriac steak – paired with seasonal sides for the table. For dessert, the famous Claridge’s Christmas pudding is a must-try.
Address: Brook Street, London W1K 4HR
You simply can’t go wrong with Ottolenghi, the king of family-style dining. His Fitzrovia restaurant ROVI has a number of set menus designed for groups, with the Celebration Menu ideal for festive dining in big groups. You’ll be treated to an array of the creative, vibrant Mediterranean fare he’s become known for, with special seasonal twists. Think kimchi and gruyere fritters, burrata with candied fennel, purple sprouting broccoli with peanut and lime miso, salted cod with chickpeas, and celeriac shawarma with fermented tomato. Finish with a preserved lemon pavlova with mascarpone cream, or some chocolate and black cardamom ice cream. All this is paired with a selection of wines, with a cocktail to start and coffee and petit fours at the end.
Address: 59 Wells St, London W1A 3AE
The Cadogan Arms
Decked out with wood panelling, velvet bucket chairs and fireplaces, Chelsea hotspot The Cadogan Arms is the ultimate winter pub. It’s renowned for its roast, which is made even more elite come Christmas time: choose between turkey, wild turbot beef or mushroom wellington, served with all the trimmings (roasties, pigs in blankets, parsnips, the lot). For dessert, there’s sticky toffee pudding, Christmas pudding trifle or baked rice pudding, followed by a cheese course and mince pies to finish. In the lead up to the big day, a festive feast menu will also be available, featuring starters of Christmas stuffing scotch egg and crispy lamb ribs ahead of game pie or beef wellington, with a crumble to finish. A veggie alternative includes BBQ mushrooms and cauliflower bhajis followed by stuffed savoy cabbage. All in all, you won’t go hungry here.
Price: £250pp for the Christmas Day menu (or £220pp for the vegetarian), £90pp for the feast menu (or £70pp for the vegetarian)
Address: 298 King’s Rd, London SW3 5UG
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