1. Le Gavroche
Forty years later, and Le Gavroche still sets standards of service and cooking with few restaurants nearby. The interior of this restaurant under the basement may have something a little outdated, but it is reassuring in an era of dazzling design. (That does not mean it’s snooty or uncomfortably posted.) If only Rolls Royces was working as well as service under the watchful eye of this master of hotels, Silvano Giraldin, and if only other kitchens corresponded to the balance of the inventiveness and classicism of the cuisine of Michel Roux Jr’s Cookong.
2. Locanda Locatelli
Giorgio Locatelli is a starry and starry chef and his food is starry, starry too. It is not unscathed. Locatelli is one of the few chefs who can take the ingredients and dishes of his motherland and learn from his training in France and England to transform them into something new without losing the essence of the original . The design of the place is gently retro, and the service is gently charming. There is a very good wine list, especially for those with elastic credit cards or deep pockets.
One of the most pointed things about the restaurant that eats in the UK is the rise of serious Indian and Asian cuisine. Why should we only think of French and possibly Italian in terms of gastronomy? There are a number of newer Indian restaurants in London glittering underground-chic and serving refined and visually sophisticated dishes: Rasoi Nineet Bhatia, Amaya, Deya, The Painted Heron. Benares, where Atul Kochar runs the kitchen, comes to the top of the list. Its food is also subtle, intelligent and explosive, as it is personally modest and erased.