Listen carefully…! You can hear the buzz of the Brits, the BAFTAs and Britain’s best brands from London Fashion Week permeating London’s spring air but now February is ending and the green shoots of spring are finally with us, what does London have in store for you?
As always, there’s a million-and-one things to do in London in spring but this month we’re focused on the food! In fact, there’s (not quite, but almost) a million-and-one places to eat in London and you can find whatever your heart desires!
Mexican in Marylebone? Chinese in Covent Garden? French in Fitzrovia? Lebanese in Leicester Square? London has one of the world’s most innovative and exciting foodie scenes, but how did it all start, and what extra-special offers do you get when you book your stay at the Rathbone…?
The First Foodies
London’s food scene is buzzing with excitement. As we said last summer, people are much more discerning about what they fork into their mouths. There are thousands of restaurant, pop-up and food stall proprietors who can now tell you what town, farm or even field your food comes from but how did England’s capital become a creative colosseum of cuisine?
After the first wave of Huguenot immigrants arrived in London from France in the 1680s, they opened a few dining establishments which Londoners called ‘French ordinaries’ but eating out as a family or as a social dating convention – considered to be a particularly masculine and rather louche pastime – was pretty much unheard of until the 1890s.
There were a handful of restaurants – a word that didn’t even appear in London parlance until the 1820s – that opened in the late 18th and early 19th century, the most famous of which is Rules in Covent Garden, hailed as London’s oldest restaurant. It opened as an oyster bar in 1798 and was lauded by (presumably) London’s first food critics for its ‘porter, pies and oysters’ and the ‘rakes, dandies and superior intelligence’s who comprise its clientele’. *
*We can’t guarantee you will find rakes, dandies and people of superior intelligence at Rules but it’s worth a trip to say that you’ve eaten in London’s oldest restaurant!
There’s Roux-m For Everyone….
Fast-forward to the 1960s and London’s food scene was propelled onto the world’s culinary map with the opening of two Michelin-starred Le Gavroche (‘The Urchin’) by French gastronomic demi-gods Michel and Albert Roux. Described by Time Out as a ‘restaurant colossus offering unapologetically old-school fine dining’ and it remains the ‘go-to haute cuisine establishment for a dignified, extremely wealthy crowd’ – the tasting menu personally supervised by chef-patron Michel Roux Jr costs £200 per person. Since then, London has had hundreds of Michelin-starred dining rooms, with the current total sitting pretty at 70.
But, and this is a BIG BUT, not everyone wants to spend the business end of £500 on dinner, even if it does come signed by Ramsay or Roux, Wareing, Blumenthal or Ducasse.
Here at the Rathbone, we know London is awash with restaurants catering for all tastes, budgets and dietary requirements and there really is something for everyone, but we went the extra mile…
We have handpicked a list of fantastic local restaurants, all within a few minutes’ walk of the hotel, where you can enjoy fantastic discounts off your final bill. All you have to do is decide what you want to eat, book your chosen restaurant (or ask our Concierge to help you), let them know you’re armed with the card and enjoy your dinner knowing you can save up to 20% off your bill!
Our list of some of Fitzrovia’s best restaurants is continually being added to and includes:
- Salt Yard – Modern Spanish and Italian tapas and charcuterie
- The House of Ho – Creative Vietnamese food packed with flavour and excitement
- Gaucho – Famous in London for some of the best Argentinean steak
- Lima – Peru’s finest, classic food in a contemporary style
- Obica – Italian food from Italian producers with a focus on their famous mozzarella
- Pescatori – Fantastic Italian seafood sourced from well-managed and sustainable fisheries
- In Parma – The definition of Italian authenticity and ask for the sparkling wine in a bowl!
- Da Paolo – Authentic Italian from the backstreets of Bologna
- Brasserie Blanc – Stunning French flavours from world-renowned chef Raymond Blanc
So while London’s food scene is hitting the heights of epicurean excellence, the Rathbone Discount Dining Card gives you a little extra help along the way!