By Lee Blackwell
Finding the ideal restaurant for a business lunch is never easy as you have to juggle dietary and budgetary requirements with the need for an environment that matches your clients’ personality or rather how they view themselves. Noise is also an issue and it can be surprisingly difficult to find a restaurant that is not silent as a tomb or thinks it is the UK outpost of one of Ibiza’s Superclubs.
So what are the top ten restaurants for business lunches in London? Well, in no particular order:
1. Bam-Bou (http://www.bam-bou.co.uk/) – 1 Percy Street
This outpost of the Orient in Central London serves a wide variety of French-Vietnamese delicacies and can cater to even the most difficult vegetarian. The waiting staff is unobtrusive, the wine list simple yet charming and if you can reserve a table on the first floor, you can enjoy an in-depth chat with business colleagues without needing to shout.
2. Gaucho Grill (http://www.gauchorestaurants.co.uk/) – Variety of Venues
While this restaurant is a no-no for vegetarians and salad fiends, it is ideal for a winter lunch with boisterous clients. Great steak, fantastic red wine and other Argentinean delicacies service in dimly lit and comforting surroundings.
3. Cantina Vinopolis (http://www.cantinavinopolis.com) – 1 Bank End
If you are lunching a wine buff, this is the restaurant for you. The wine bible resembles a phone book and they even helpfully suggest wine which complements each dish. Try to book one of the booths and enjoy a selection of imaginative well cooked dishes amongst the stunning architecture of lofty brick railway arches.
4. 1 Lombard Street (http://www.1lombardstreet.com/) – 1 Lombard Street
At this epitome of city dining, you can choose between the restaurant or the brassiere depending on how much you want to impress your dining companions. French vies with Asian influences to create a stunning menu in this buzzy but reserved favourite.
5. The Square (http://www.squarerestaurant.org) – 6 – 10 Bruton Street
Definitely a restaurant for a special occasion as it comes with a hefty price tag but for an important business lunch or to celebrate a deal, The Square is idea. With an eclectic menu that encompasses offal, pasta and glorious cuts of meat and a wine cellar that is second to non, this is truly the choice of champions.
6. St John (http://www.stjohnrestaurant.com/) – 26 St John Street
This haven for foodies believes in ‘nose to tail’ eating and offers a variety of surprising, amazing and delicious dishes. Fergus Henderson is rated as one of the best chefs in the World by those in the know and this restaurant show cases his talents while offering an ideal venue for a business lunch.
7. Coq D’ Argent (http://www.coqdargent.co.uk/) – 1 Poultry
The quintessential business venue with gorgeous views, luxurious but homely food and a good wine list. Booking a table at this restaurant shows that you are not afraid of your city credentials and really do know a good thing when you see it.
8 Vasco & Piero’s Pavilion (http://www.vascosfood.com/) – 15 Poland Street
This restaurant has been faithfully pleasing legions of fans for over four decades and its perfect for a business lunch. Glorious homemade pasta vies for your attention with some of the best Italian seafood in London and the traditional friendly Italian approach to service.
9 Aurora – 49 Lexington Street
This little gem hidden in the heart of Soho serves fantastic hearty eclectic food and is the ideal venue for those seeking a more bohemian lunch venue. In summer, the hidden outside area is a haven for smokers and a sun trap to be enjoyed by all. Great service and good wine rounds off this fantastic offering.
10 The Cinnamon Club (www.cinnamonclub.com/) – Great Smith Street
Sometimes nothing but a curry will do and this restaurant situated in the Old Westminster Library brings back the glory of the Raj. Innovative twists on traditional dishes with a selection of wines chosen to complement the spice of this cuisine are on offer. And when you’ve finished your meal you can move to the library to enjoy a final snifter in these grand surroundings.