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American Hosting Business Dinner in London

I will be in London next week for a convention and am hosting a dinner for our North American customers while there and looking for dinner recommendations. We would need a restaurant that can accomodate up to 15 people and I would prefer to stay in the Kensington or close surrounding areas but am not opposed to driving to a location for a fabulous dining experience.

We would like to have a lively atmosphere that would create a comfortable, yet superb, environment for our out-of-town guests. Budget is not a main concern but since this is a large party we would like to keep it within a reasonable range (under 40 GBP/ $60USD per person before drinks). I am a bit of a foodie and appreciate quality ingredients but service must be fantastic for this important group.

I'd like to keep with a menu that would appeal to many different tastes but would be open to Indian, Thai or other specific cuisines if it's spectacular.

The dinner is next week so I'm in need of help ASAP, please?!

My list of options so far is:
Launceston Place - this is the closest in distance so appealing that we could walk but reviewers have mentioned that it's a bit "dated"

Pollen Street Social - looks like the most appealing environment/closest to what I'm envisioning but it's a taxi drive away and might not be able to accomodate all of us

Moti Mahal - would prefer to stay away from a cuisine that might not appeal to all guests but they have great reviews

Boca di Lupo - looks great and have inquired about a reservation here

Cinnamon Club (have made a "safety" reservation here)

Please help! Much thanks!

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  1. launceston place has been superbly refurbished a while back; there isn't anything 'dated' about it. that and min jiang (on top of the kensington gardens hotel) are the two most impressive suitable for corporate types and your numbers places there are in kensington.

    me, i'd head over pronto to launceston place.

    5 Replies
    1. re: howler

      Min Jiang wows! Food, service, and view are first-rate.

      1. re: howler

        Great to hear they have been refurbished - the review I read may have been old. This is my first choice so hopefully they can accomodate us.

        Thanks much!

        1. re: howler

          It seems that MinJiang requires jackets for men. This is a bit more formal than I would like.

          1. re: h.a.b.

            Have eaten both lunch and dinner at Min Jiang without a jacket and it was fine.

            1. re: limster

              I've never worn a jacket there either. Last time I went in only a short-sleeved shirt, and I'm sure I've been for lunch with people wearing t-shirts. Never had a problem with dress there - if you're concerned suggest you give them a call to confirm.

        2. I agree with Howler. Launceston Place is lovely, and the service was impeccable.

          For 15 people, though- you'd better get on the phone now!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Palladium

            Thank you. I'm waiting to see if Launceston Place can accomodate us. I also have a request into Min Jiang - that looks wonderful too.

            1. re: h.a.b.

              I totally agree about your first choices.. but just in case they don't work out, The Cinnamon Club has a very impressive decor and a nice touch of serving drinks in a beautiful room while people wait for their tables. Not everyone likes their modern take on Indian food, but I'm an American and I liked it. :-)

          2. I'm having second thoughts about Launceston Place. They require a selection of one single item per course to be served to the entire table. This is not good. I can not predict that all 15 people will be in the mood for the same exact dish. Poor business model, in my opinion.

            We're trying to make the meal enjoyable, laid back and conducive to conversation and laughs. I do not want stuffy white-glove service. But do want good, quality food in a lively, fun, hip/modern atmosphere.

            Any other recommendations? Doesn't have to be in Kensington since it seems our choices here are a bit limited...

            Help please!

            5 Replies
            1. re: h.a.b.

              I assume the dinner is now this week, if so it will be very tricky given how last minute it is. I suspect most good places will also limit the menu, as few, if any,decent restaurants can cook ALC for 15 simultaneously (protecting the quality of the food coming out of the kitchen and hence their reputation may not be such. Bad business model). I have taken a party of ten to The Harwood Arms which worked well, but again with a stripped down menu, but given the time it may be better to stick with your "safety" and head to the Cinamon Club - they do do large groups and it is very accessible food even for those who profess to not like Indan food (its a broad cuisine so "not liking" usually means has not given it a chance and not having gone to a decent place).

              1. re: PhilD

                Fifteen people isn't that large of a party. Perhaps the restaurants we were considering were too small. It's poor hosting (in my opinion) to not give your guests any choices at all with their meals.

                Any feedback on Babylon Restaurant?

                1. re: h.a.b.

                  It may not be in Austin, but most good restaurants in London (and many other cities) would think it is.

                  If you really want quality you have to compromise on choice (although usually a couple of choices per course). However, given the short notice I suspect the major challenge is to find one of the few decent restaurant that can handle a party of 15 that are not already full.

              2. re: h.a.b.

                I've read that Deux Salons - right at Charing Cross Tube - has a private room. The food there is excellent, but of course you are dealing with a real time dilemma. I don't know what their policy is about choosing courses. Good luck!

                1. re: h.a.b.

                  I would go to Min Jiang. A la carte for large groups is normal in Chinese places; you won't get a striped down menu, nor would they insist on everyone eating the same dish. The standard practice of diversifying courses would also fit well with a large group with different tastes and preferences. With a group of 15 you could divide folks up into 2 tables and have 7-8 courses.