Best business lunch recommendations: Central London's West End

By John Walton , September 8 2011
Best business lunch recommendations: Central London's West End

London's fast-paced restaurant scene means that infrequent travellers to the UK often find it tricky to discover the current trendy locations for business entertaining. That's especially true in Central London, outside the business hotspots of the City and Canary Wharf, but where you'll find new media, international businesses, the diplomatic set and much more.

So we asked lunching maven Alexandra Notay -- who says she's somehow gained 15kg since starting her current job, which involves a fair bit of corporate entertaining -- from the Urban Land Institute for her recommendations this season for London's West End.

Breakfast

The Wolseley is a classic, and if you're into celeb-spotting you may well get lucky. Great location on Piccadilly and particularly good for breakfast meetings. The Wolseley does imply you're loaded, though, so it's not great if you're pitching to an investor and claiming you're poor!

Allans Patisserie is right in the heart of Mayfair, and not to be confused with Allens of Mayfair the butchers around the corner. It's got quirky French/North African decor, is a local family business rather than a chain, and has amazing coffee. Pick the lovely Moroccan style lounge seats outside under canvas. Not too many tourists and always full of hedgies and property guys from their offices nearby so it's definitely the right ambience for deals.

Indian

Trishna: Just off Marylebone High Street, clever Indian tapas using quality English produce. It's a bit pricey overall but there's a very good value lunch deal with unusual ingredients like guinea fowl and quail. The cocktail and mocktail menu is especially good. Don't go if you can't take heat -- spicing is pretty authentic and you don't want to cough all over your clients... 

Benares: higher end, Michelin starred Indian on Berkeley Square with western ingredients (pigeon, crab and so on) but in amazing delicate layered spicing by chef patron Atul Kochhar. Again, great value lunch, but dinner can rack up -- especially with the booze trolley. The service is awesome and makes it one of the most consistently fabulous places for a business lunch, but still somewhere you can have fun with friends too.

Italian

Locanda Locatelli: the classic high-end, 'go to impress' venue. I actually think it's a little disappointingly dated decor-wise, particularly as it's in the back of the tired Hyatt on Churchill Square. But the food is absolutely amazing, despite the pretentious waiting staff and sommelier. It's definitely an experience if you take clients you know will get a kick out of it.

French

Galvin: I think the original Bistrot de Luxe on Baker Street is better than Galvin at Windows on the top floor of the Hilton Park Lane hotel. But either way, there's great authentic food, refreshingly filling, and generally a great French bistro. Quality service, great wines, and very business oriented, lots of suits on well-spaced tables make it a good business spot, but it still has an ambience and buzz -- not "dead from deals".

Bonus-blowing splurge

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon: Simply phenomenal. Three Michelin stars of perfection. Everyone should go at least once in their life. Preferably on someone else's expense account! 

Your favourite spots

What are your top spots for business meals in central London? Share your thoughts in a comment below, or join the conversation on Twitter. Don't forget to @mention us in your tweets -- we're @AusBT, and dining maven Alexandra is @aknotay.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


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