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Sep 1, 2008 05:46 AM

It's your 50th birthday in London and someone else is paying... where do you go for lunch or dinner??

...somewhere centralish, relaxed, convivial with reliably excellent food & a group that includes a vegetarian...

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  1. Galvins Bistro Deluxe on Baker Street. It's a lovely smart brasserie with reliably delicious food in a good atmosphere. nothing too stufffy. Have a look on the website for examples of the menu:


    4 Replies
    1. re: fergal76

      Nice suggestion, thanks - anyone else eaten there?

      More ideas, please...time is running out, in every sense...sigh...

      1. re: stuartJ

        We had a great Sunday lunch at Claridges. Good room, good service and good food. They have some good size tables in the body of the restaurant, and some larger ones for parties in alcoves to the side - this means you are not isolated from the action. It is grand so has a sense of occasion and has sufficient staff on the floor to look after a party i.e. not serial service.

        1. re: PhilD

          I second Galvin's Bistrot. Had a lovely meal there some months ago and would gladly go back again.

      2. re: fergal76

        i'll second galvin's. was there two months ago and had a wonderful time. good food, good wine, not in the least bit stuffy.

      3. What about The Ledbury on Talbot road, Notting Hill. It consistently garners rave reviews, top service and a real "special occasion" place (I have not been to Galvins so cannot comment).

        1. I haven't been since the relaunch, but if someone else was paying I'd go to Launceston Place in Kensington, which has had rave reviews.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greedygirl

            i went a few weeks after it opened and although all the core ingredients of the dishes were fabulous there were too many foams and sauces that just didn't add anything. we chatted to the tristan welsh on our way out and he said his wife had said the same thing and he was thinking of toning them down.

            glavin's bistrot is great.

            if it was summer (and guaranteed to be a bit warmer than atm), i'd go for petersham nurseries.

          2. Not overly original but Gordon Ramsay.

            1. I haven't gotten to Maze yet, but I'd like to. Jason Atherton seems like a fine and inventive chef so it's high on my list. If money is no object, the food at Blake's Hotel in South Kensington is very, very good.. and very pricey.

              24 Replies
              1. re: zuriga1

                Maze is fun creative and tasty. It is relaxed in that it is not at all stuffy but not relaxed in the peaceful sense. I think it would be fun for a birthday dinner.

                1. re: majmaj4

                  I'm enjoying this thread as I have this fantasy about spending my 50th in London as well. (However, I'd be paying....)

                  1. re: HickTownBarnaby

                    Galvins Bistro is great..good food, great service and great value!

                    1. re: jogas

                      Galvins has been booked!! Hope it lives up to the generally excellent reports...a review will follow, memory permitting...

                      1. re: stuartJ

                        Galvins, by all accounts - I was unfortunately too ill to appreciate it - was a fine experience! Back in London for my 53rd this year(and I'm paying this time, sigh), I was considering the Vegetarian Tasting menu at the Sketch Lecture Room...anyone tried it?

                        1. re: stuartJ

                          I would have the vegetarian tasting menu at The Ledbury if I were choosing.

                          1. re: Nancy S.

                            The Vegetarian food at Pied a Terre is excellent too.

                            1. re: ManInTransit

                              Both look jolly interesting...PaT is nearer the hotel but costs an extra tenner, which on the other hand would go towards a taxi to the Ledbury...can anyone offer a tie-breaker?

                              1. re: stuartJ

                                I'm sort of voting twice, but I strongly urge you to have dinner at The Ledbury.

                                1. re: Nancy S.

                                  The Ledbury it shall be, then. That sort of leaves me low on budget for Saturday dinner: is there a good central curry house anyone can recommend? Opinions on the net seem to change so quickly.

                                  1. re: stuartJ

                                    I haven't been, but Ragam on Cleveland St is supposed to be a decent South Indian option.

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      Handy for the hotel, too. Can't find any 2011 opinions, but looks interesting.

                                      1. re: stuartJ

                                        Some visiting friends from the States wanted Indian food the other day, and we happened to pass Woodlands on Marylebone Lane, which seemed fine to them and fairly unknown by me. It was a good lunch, and a bit different for me as the food is South Indian. We some good dosas, a nice vegetable korma and a few other dishes. It was peaceful and quiet at lunchtime and we could hear ourselves speak. :-)

                                        1. re: zuriga1

                                          woodlands is a famous indian chain - the bombay venue used to be a favourite of mine. when i tried the branch here in 2000, i was very disappointed - the dosas were like truck tires then. looks like they've upped their game; i must try them out of again.

                                          1. re: howler

                                            I'd appreciate your evaluation, howler. As you well know, I'm not an expert on dosas. We laughed a bit as we had 3, nice-sized pooris, but later when some obviously more skilled eaters shared our part of the restaurant, the ones brought out for them looked humoungus! We wondered if we had been given the Anglo version. :-)

                                            I had wanted to get some paneer, but I was outvoted.

                                            1. re: zuriga1

                                              i looked up woodlands menu online - and immediately got dizzy. intermingled with all the south indian specialties are north indian standards - it's like you went for a sicilian menu only to find lots of scottish dishes on offer.


                                              1. re: howler

                                                I guess they try to please a wide audience. Which are the Northern dishes... just for my future knowledge?

                                                1. re: zuriga1

                                                  the tandoori menu, and things like saag paneer, dal makhni etc.

                                                  1. re: howler

                                                    I like the sound of the Ragam for Saturday night... that just leaves Sunday lunch, maybe something relaxed in a pub, though a veggie option might not be so easy (or so edible)... I've seen one with the lovely name of The Water Poet in Spitalfields: don't suppose anyone's tried it? Otherwise, any convivial & confortable place, if possible walking distance from Bloomsbury...

                                                    1. re: stuartJ

                                                      The Water Poet is pretty good on Sunday but horrific any other night of the week as it's full of city bankers. Most pubs would serve Sunday roasts on Sunday so your vegetarian option would be a bit limited. If you are heading to Spitalfields, I would recommend St John Bread and Wine instead, just up from the Water Poet. Or wander a bit further down the road to Albion for a leisurely Sunday brunch.

                                                      St Johns Restaurant
                                                      24 Sir Thomas Street, Liverpool L1 6JB, GB

                                                      1. re: pj26

                                                        The WP seems to offer veg moussaka and veg sausages (in real gravy??), but, as I say, I just liked the name. Well spoken of around the web, too. I'm happy to wander anywhere around centralish London though, just looking for a nice pub with a good atmosphere to eat & sink a few pints in before flying out.

                                                        1. re: stuartJ

                                                          The I would go for the Water Poet, it is a lovely pub and you can explore a bit around the area, buzzing on a Sunday.

                                                          1. re: pj26

                                                            Thanks for the help! I'm wondering why the area should be buzzing on a Sunday...I thought it would be fairly quiet that time of the week! But I don't know this part of London at all. Another nice-looking place I've found, a bit nearer the hotel, is the Marquis of Cornwallis in Marchmont Street. Surely you don't know that as well?

                                                            1. re: stuartJ

                                                              All around that area there are markets on a Sunday - Columbia Road Flower Market, around Brick Lane, Spitalfields, it's the best place in London to hang out on a Sunday and a huge range of places to eat/drink for all kinds of budgets.

                                                              Have only been to the Marquis of Cornwallis for a pint, so can't comment anymore on that I'm afraid!