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London restaurant rec to celebrate engagement?

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Any recommendations for a wonderful, romantic yet not stuffy restaurant to celebrate an engagement? Favorites recently visited were Dinner, Alyn Williams, and Zucca. It's a one-time celebration (hopefully!) so budget can be stretched if need be. Thanks!

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  1. Not sure what you're looking for, but there is a fun kind of funk meets chic place in Mortlake (SW London) that serves some of the best food we ate during our most recent trip there (Mar 2012). It is called Don't Tell Fred. Very convenient taking the train (destination Hounslow) from Waterloo station. Mortlake is one of the last stops, after Barnes, just before Richmond. Don't Tell Fred is a short walk down Sheen Ln. Check it out at donttellfred.com where you can look at pictures. I considered the price moderate+ but certainly worth the good food and certainly not the most expensive place we ate. Plus it was fun, and it was our anniversary.

    1. Congratulations on your (intended) good news.

      Without wanting to sound patronising (and from very recent experience) I would draw a huge distinction between somewhere that you go in the immediate aftermath of the proposal, and somewhere else that you go 24 hours later. Because immediately after you've proposed neither of you will pay any attention to what you're eating or drinking - so you are looking for somewhere fun and service orientated where you will feel comfortable. I would say Roganic who I imagine would treat you amazingly and there would be none of that faux-awkward congratulations that you can get as it is such an incredible team. Then again that is a long menu with complex flavours, none of which you'd probably remember afterwards! Sketch is suitably bonkers that you would have an amazing time, and then the amazingly simple but brilliant food at the River Cafe would be a wonderful choice post proposal.

      I slightly hesitate to say it and can't recommend it as I've never been but depending on the type of people you are (or more importantly she is) then Nobu could be a good choice.

      A lot depends on what you want - I think Marcus Wareing is the 'finest dining' experience in London (think Alyn Williams but ratcheted up quite a few notches in all respects including price) so if you're looking for a wonderful experience say 24 hours later that would definitely work but on the night itself it might be a bit hushed when you will want to be bubbling over. I've never actually been to Galvin at Windows but the food must be fairly decent - others may be able to help - and the views are stunning.

      Hushed fine dining temples to food that I would definitely avoid: The Square, Hibiscus, Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ManInTransit

        I would definitely second Roganic.
        I went a couple of weeks ago and the food was incredibly good.
        We were made to feel welcome and relaxed from start to finish and we also got a tour of the kitchen.

        1. re: ManInTransit

          Galvin at Windows is a good rec - great views and excellent food, with enough of an 'occassion' atmosphere. The Galvin La Chapelle is an equally lovely space, but in a different way.

          Nobu, not so much - it's a bit full of people wanting to be seen and even though the food is good, the atmosphere can be rowdy and I didn't particularly like the room.

          I actually really loved Hibiscus, didn't feel too stuffy and is up there with one of the best meals I have had.

          Not sure if you want to stay in London, but further afield, I couldn't recommend the Sportsman highly enough, perhaps you could make a day/night of it?

          And congratulations!

        2. Thanks everyone for such great recommendations. Both of us are extremely informal and really only have visited high-end restaurants for the food (ie. while Alyn Williams felt incredibly posh we were so well looked-after it was a really nice experience) -- we like good food and couldn't care much about how 'fine-dining' it is (as long as we are treated well!).

          Roganic has been at the top of my list for a long time, and is probably why it won't be a good choice for her dinner (for obvious reasons). La Chapelle is great -- I took her for her birthday this year -- the amazing yet not so pretentious atmosphere is exactly what I'm looking for. Sketch is a nice recommendation. If there are any others I'd love to hear them. Thanks again!

          2 Replies
          1. re: walter_h

            Sounds like you've got some pretty good experience of London restaurants and something like this is so unbelievably personal that I'm not sure we can give a perfect answer, hopefully some good ideas though. I shortlisted Hibiscus, Yauatcha and St John for just after our proposal and thank god didn't go to the first of those.

            Going somewhere you've never been will be a bit of a risk. Personally I love Viajante - you could get a night in the Town Hall hotel to surprised her afterwards? It's very experimental though.

            1. re: ManInTransit

              Manin's advice is really sound, the one thing I would add is to try and choose a place that will be there for the future so you can revisit. I know that is easier said than done but it is nice to celebrate the odd anniversary in the pace you celebrated your engagement. So maybe a grand hotel like the Savoy, or old place like Rules, or a dynastic pace like Gavroche? Newer places like, or named chefs in hotels may not last so head to these for day two celebrations rather than the day itself.