If you want to close a deal, don’t try to do it over Zoom—do it over lunch. Here then, the six best new spots to talk business over a terrific meal in London's financial district.Less
With more than a whiff of what Romans call “the fifth quarter”—animals’ innards—the menu at Manteca describes itself as “Italian-inspired.” The word “inspired” is apt here: there is culinary genius at work in their audacious cacio e pepe sauced with brown crabmeat, and plates of campanelle pasta with pig’s tail ragù, or order-if-you-dare pig’s head fritti with apple mostarda. The lunchtime buzz, less than a mile from the Bank of England, already exudes the confident air of a City hotspot.
Typically the altitude of the dining room is inversely proportional to the quality of the food, yet Wagtail goes beyond the view from the 9th floor of the old House of Fraser Monument building with the talented chef Phil Kearsey, formerly of Corrigan’s Mayfair, behind the stove. His opening menu is unashamedly opulent: glazed lamb’s sweetbreads with new-season peas and wild mushrooms, followed by stuffed Dover sole with morels, white asparagus and vin jaune.
The smart new space at 100 Liverpool Street has a secret up its sleeve: A revolving roster of star chefs whose dishes will personalize the menu each month. Ex-Scott’s chef Arran Smith offers a menu of semi-classic French with options like escargots with roasted bone marrow butter; pâté de campagne perked up with smoked raisins; and British cheeses and charcuterie. Later in the year: Anna Hansen (The Modern Pantry), and Gareth Ward of the Michelin two-starred Ynyshir in mid-Wales.
The landmark, converted warehouse in Shoreditch has been completely refurbished with both a ground floor dining room and a rooftop bar/restaurant crying out for a spell of sunny weather. Head chef Robin Freeman, who used to cook at One Lombard Street, offers Lulworth Bay scallops sauced with anchovy and parsley butter; rump of beef has smoked béarnaise and bacon jam for company; and Norfolk asparagus is paired with capers and a cured egg yolk. The magnums of rosé are already on ice.
Florence Knight and Jonny Gent’s much-lauded Clerkenwell restaurant is the antithesis of a corporate dining room—buzzy, arty and laid-back. But that hasn’t stopped the City faithful from making lunchtime pilgrimages. Find the entrance first: look for a side street and a red door. Then dig in to a menu highlighted by dishes like panisse with cod’s roe; beet with goat’s curd and olive crumb; and hake with n’duja and the tangy Italian vegetable agretti.
Russell Norman’s gingham-bedecked Smithfield trattoria opened in Sept. Taking Tuscany as its inspiration, the menu hops happily from anchovies with butter and St. John sourdough to pappardelle with rabbit, and vast slabs of bistecca alla Fiorentina, much favored by the power elite. Coccoli (deep-fried dough balls, translated as “cuddles”) stuffed with stracchino and prosciutto are a particular favorite with the gregarious, dressed-down clientele who hang out at the bar for all-day £5 Negronis.