Whether you're winding down after a day spent at London's museums, looking for a reliable spot to catch up with friends and family, or taking in some culture in the Somerset countryside, our edit of the city's best art-filled restaurants offers the perfect way to spend a day off this holiday season.
Cycene at The Blue Mountain School
Shoreditch concept store, Blue Mountain School, has just opened a new restaurant in collaboration with chef Theo Clench. Called Cycene, the two-floor space is designed to feel like dining in a private home with interiors designed in keeping with the space’s collection of one-of-a-kind ceramics, furniture and garments.
The ten-course menu marries influences from Clench’s travels, especially East Asia and Australia with a particular emphasis on seafood. Current dishes include Mackerel with radish & shisho, Cavatelli, sea urchin & kinome as well as Scallop with brown butter & Schrenkii, although the menu will change seasonally.
Mount Street Restaurant and The Audley
The Audley pub and upstairs Mount Street restaurant are two artfully designed dining destinations in Mayfair from Artfarm, the hospitality and development company founded in 2014 by gallerists Manuela and Iwan Wirth.
The Audley offers three distinct, art-led experiences: a street-level public house, the first-floor Mount St Restaurant and four spaces on the upper three floors which will be available for private hire. Remarkable site-specific artworks abound throughout the entire space, including Phyllida Barlow’s ceiling installation in the pub, Rashid Johnson’s floor mosaic in the Mount St Restaurant, and Anj Smith’s ceiling fresco which occupies the top-floor turret.
The Mount St Restaurant offers a refined classic-contemporary fusion menu drawing inspiration from London's culinary history while downstairs the bar will supply a sophisticated twist on pub grub.
Ochre at The National Gallery
Located in the National Gallery, Ochre is a contemporary European restaurant from the founders of Muriel’s Kitchen. Serving all day – from brunch to afternoon tea and dinner – Ochre places a special focus on the best of locally sourced British produce. Notable dishes include saddleback pork and Westcombe Cheddar croquettes with wild nettle pesto and aged parmesan; saffron fettuccine with Indian spiced ricotta; and English mussels with Cornish cider.
The space’s warm and casually elegant design by Gergei Erdei makes it an ideal spot for an afternoon business lunch or an evening dinner with friends. We recommend trying the pre-theatre menu, which includes a cocktail or wine, starter, main and side for a reasonable.
Roth Bar & Grill at Hauser & Wirth Somerset is the perfect pastoral setting to enjoy a day outside of the city. Housed in an old cowshed, the eclectic bar and restaurant has been designed by Björn and Oddur Roth (son and grandson of the artist Dieter Roth) with white walls covered in a smattering of colourful artworks, a bar decorated with a jumble of salvaged objects, and wood-beamed ceilings, to create a warm, charmingly mishmashed environment.
Outside is a spectacular garden created by Piet Oudolf and inside is a delectable selection of food, much of which has been sourced from the on-site farm. Meat lovers should not miss the menu’s Wagyu burger or butcher’s sausage. All the meat is from cattle raised at the barn and is dry-aged in a purpose-built salt room, lined with over 500 hand-cut Himalayan salt bricks.
Toklas at 180 The Strand
One of the most celebrated new restaurants in London, Toklas is an understated Mediterranean spot at 180 The Strand created by the founders of Frieze. Its simple dishes are bursting with flavour – think octopus with piattoni beans and ratte potatoes; courgette salad with radish, pecorino and almond; and buffalo mozzarella, with peas, broad beans and mint. It’s a laidback but buzzy spot with midcentury furniture and walls covered in prints, posters and original artwork.
Townsend at the Whitechapel Gallery
Townsend at the Whitechapel Gallery is a modern British dining room in London’s East End. The rotating menu features highlights such as braised venison shoulder with crushed swede; wild mushrooms on toast with hen’s egg and thyme; and cloud-like cheesecake with poached plums.
Burgundy leather booths and wood-panelled walls give the space a cosy, secluded feeling, making it a welcome respite from the bustle of the city outside.
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Mary Cleary is a writer based in London and New York. Previously beauty & grooming editor at Wallpaper*, she is now a contributing editor, alongside writing for various publications on all aspects of culture.
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