Ready for a big night on the town? Dripping in glitter and glamor, these hotspots in London are not only famous for their decadent decor, but also their delicious dishes.
It will not be more exciting than that Amazonian. Based on Berkeley Square, one of London’s most expensive and magnificent addresses, this lush, rainforest-inspired restaurant manages to be upscale and exclusive while still retaining a very relatant playful side. Designed by Lazaro Rosa-Violan and drips in green, tropical flowers and water features, Amazonian is truly unique (though there are actually two other locations: the original celeb hotspot in Madrid and a roof outside the shooting range Dubai). At the entrance to London’s Amazónico, an ever – buzzing bar area rubs its elbows with an open kitchen with pineapple on a rotisserie, cooking pit with hot sand, Brazilian churrasco skewers and Josper charcoal ovens. When you venture a little further into the jungle, the mood shifts to a sit-down restaurant with a DJ turning ‘elec-tropical’ beats; a cool sea-themed sushi bar; and stage for live music. It is immediately clear that this is a place of celebration, a place to celebrate and see and be seen; however, the groundbreaking, truly phenomenal cuisine Amazónico shoots right to the next level.
It is not easy to find such a treadmill in a restaurant with such impressive food, and for that we have to thank Amazónico’s Executive Chef Vitelio Reyes, who comes from Venezuela. The cuisine is aptly but ambiguously described as “a sensory journey along the Amazon River and through Latin America,” but that is only the beginning. Most dishes – wagyu beef empanadas with huitlacoche (corn mushroom); arepas with crab salad and ikura (salmon roe); and lightly roasted buttery tuna nigiri with cashews – is simply indescribable.
The drink (some served in hand-blown glass at Murano level) is just as delicious: the secret menu Sazerac served with absinthe cotton candy may make you give up the classic version forever (why bother when it never gets so good ?). There may or may not be a secret bar that is only an invitation underwater, hidden through the kitchens – but you did not hear it here.
The best things to eat and drink at Amazónico:
Empanadas (wagyu beef, huitlacoche truffle sauce); Queso Fundido (baked Argentinian style cheese, sun-dried tomato, anchovies); Salmon Aburi (royal salmon, reduction of red wine, cashews); Picanha Rodizio (grilled rump steak in Brazilian style). Dessert: Enguayabado (guava cheesecake, citrus biscuits, hibiscus flower). Drink: (secret menu) Sazerac.
Located on the ground floor of a discreet townhouse in Mayfair, Dream is nothing short of an absolute dream – which is exactly what this hip and stylish Anatolian restaurant name means in Turkish. Designed by Conran & Partners, Rüya retains a fresh and modern vibe while still being deeply rooted in tradition (think: Turkish tiling and copper Raki distills along with oversized modern art and clean lines). The impressive space houses a long cooking table in front of the open kitchen as well as a buzzing bar area serving the most delightful drinks (more on that in a moment). First, the food: Isli Patlican (eggplant puree with walnuts, crispy coated eggplant chips) should be part of the order of each table, as should the flaky, warm Börek (filo-wrapped feta with carrot, courgette and walnut). There is a massive bread oven located by the bar and it does not disappoint (especially not Aged Kaşar Cheese Pide, served with a golden runny egg yolk) and the well seasoned Adana Kebap is a classic that delivers. What a joy!
Rüya’s cocktails are a creative work and contain ingredients such as tea from the Black Sea; tonka bean; and pistachios. Do not miss the photogenic favorite Nazar Sour, depicting the evil eyeball and combining cardamom-infused vodka with rose water syrup, Blue Curacao and champagne foam. In addition to cocktails, there is a whole menu of anise-scented Raki to choose from.
For a little something else this summer, Rüya has just launched an exclusive picnic basket pickup that includes things like Turkish cheeses and meats; traditional Turkish Tirnak Pide; sesame-crusted simit bread; red pepper Muhammara dip, and Widow Clicquot– Everything packed in basket baskets with ceramic plates, cutlery and glass. Enjoy it at nearby Hyde Park.
The best things to eat and drink in Rüya:
Isli Patlican (eggplant puree with walnuts, crispy eggplant chips); Izgara Karides (grilled tiger prawns with pickled fennel butter and shaved fennel). Dessert: Künefe (baked Kadayif pastry, melted Majdule cheese, rose and orange blossom syrup, pistacieis). Drinks: Tekirdag Rakisi No10 (raki).
CUT at 45 Park Lane
Steakhouses do not always have the most sparkling and glamorous vibe, but Wolfgang Pucks London’s restaurant, CUT at 45 Park Lane, differs from the rest by long floating curtains that float down from ultra-high ceilings; Damien Hirst’s Diamond Dust hymns that spot the walls; and the value of an entire constellation of crystal chandeliers glistening overhead. But the surroundings are actually pale compared to the kitchen: From Cornish oysters with homemade CUT hot sauce to a flight of wagyu steaks coming from three different continents, there is no way anyone can leave unimpressed (or still hungry).
The best things to eat and drink at CUT on 45 Park Lane:
Tasting of New York tenderloin; Cavatappi Pasta Mac & Ost. Dessert: Warm Valrhona dark chocolate soufflé (whipped cream creme fraîche, toasted hazelnut gianduja). Drink: Grenache, Mas Amiel, Maury Vintage, 2015.
Bob Bob Ricard
Every restaurant where each table has its own “press for champagne” button wins a place on the list of London’s best and most glamorous restaurants. Bob Bob Ricard has been a London Soho institution with dazzling art deco decor and Russian-meets-British cuisine (somehow it works a treat). From impossibly juicy beef Wellington and Stinking Bishop cheese soufflé to Russian dumplings and eight times distilled Imperial Russian Standard Vodka chilled to zero degrees you will celebrate as royalty surrounded by glamor from golden times. If you can not get to London, where there are two Bob Bob Ricard locations, Soho and Town, watch out for Bob Bob Ricard Tokyo, opens in 2023.
The best things to eat and drink at Bob Bob Ricard:
Truffle potato and mushroom Vareniki; Beef Wellington. Dessert: BBR Signature Chocolate Glory. Drink: Russian Standard Imperial Vodka.
Along with locations around the world that all serve signature Cantonese dishes, London is blessed with two Hakkasan restaurants: a chic Mayfair location off Berkeley Square and the original glamorous London hotspot in Fitzrovia, Hakkasan Hanway Place. While everyone has their many charms, it’s Hakkasan Hanway Place that wins a place as one of London’s most glamorous restaurants for its mysterious underground location, tucked downstairs at the end of a dark lane and ultra-luxurious, sexy atmosphere of dark lacquered forest, dim lighting and hazy incense. The food is always perfect. King crab with XO sauce; smokey flower Negronis; seafood dim sum – no matter what you order, you can expect the best.
The best things to eat and drink at Hakkasan Hanway Place:
Golden fried soft shell crab; Crispy duck salad with pomelo, pine nuts and shallots; Seasoned shrimp with lily and almond. Drinks: Smoky Negroni (Suntory Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve whiskey, Akashi – Tai umeshu, Campari, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Ardbeg 10 year old fog 18).