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Aug 27, 2013 08:52 AM

Little Social/Social Eating House/Galvin la Chapelle/Alyn Williams at the Westbury/Murano thoughts or other options? [London]

Hi there

In November OH and I will be on London with my mum for a Sat night dinner. London trip is on her so we are going to take her out for a slap up meal. She loves food, but there are some things she will not eat/even consider trying, which makes this a bit tricky.

We looked at sample menus for Arbutus - having had a great meal there before; Hibiscus; Pollen Street Social; Five Fields - but there was maybe one thing from each course she would have gone for. Obviously menus change, but I don't think that that is a great hit list and we want her to have a choice.

We do want to go somewhat upmarket as she loves eating out and she doesn't go out for real treats often.

The big no nos are Goat cheese; mussels; raw fish; Indian food; fennel

I have therefore narrowed down a list of

Galvin La Chapelle
Alyn Williams at the Westbury
Little Social
Social Eating House

Does anyone know anything that would fit the bill? We had also looked at Petrus - the new one - heard mixed reviews though. £65 pp with a chance of a reasonable bottle of wine £50 ish would be max - or less pp with a better bottle of course. I just don't want to pay for style over substance.

Have I missed anything? What would you recommend? It is difficult when you are only aware of the snapshot menu on the website

I think we are going to 28-50 in Marleybone for wine/late dinner on the Friday night - lunches and bfasts are sorted - going to St John for a bacon roll!!

Thanks for the help


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  1. I had an excellent lunch at Social Eating House last week, would highly recommend and can't wait to head back. The food was outstanding, excellent service and a really lovely space. Would definitely fit the bill (and make sure you save room for dessert, their sundaes are amazing).

    1. I know you mention your lunches are sorted, but have you considered Ducasse or Le Gavroche? Their £55 / 60 set lunches (which inc wine) are phenomenal and you still get all the amuse, mignardises, petit four knobs and whistles that set them apart. Same is true of Wareing and The Square as it goes.

      I've not done Social Eating yet, but I did do Pollen St the other day on a la carte and it was great. Stylish and clever theatrics with every course that made for a really great experience.

      Murano is also fab. Beautiful food that isn't overworked or fiddly and would undoubtedly please your mum by the sounds of it.

      12 Replies
      1. re: marcusj

        Thank you for the replies - I didn't get notification or I would have checked in sooner.

        I do want to go to Le Gavroche - but we can't do lunch as we won't be down in time for a slap up lunch on the Friday, we have commitments over lunch on the Saturday - and I think it is closed for Saturday lunch, and again, a lack of time before getting the train back up on the Sunday.. sigh..!!

        My mum does love Michael Roux (though I must admit - so do it ;-)) - how are his other places - e.g. the Landau? I got the vibe that it was a bit hotel restaurant - not really classic Roux....

        Have you been to Murano - is there likely to be a whole heap of offal on the menu during the winter months..? The current trend for nose to tail eating is not for this parental..!!

        Thanks again and sorry for the delay in replying

        1. re: alisonk

          I have not been to the Landau but I found the Roux place in the RICS building to be pretty average, not bad by any means but one could do better for the money.

          On Murano I agree with Marcusj, I am a big fan of the cooking there. I also love the fact that you can get up to five courses of your choice. As far as I remember the menu has never had a great deal of offal on it, there is usually lots of choice. Just be aware it is quite hard to get into later in the week.

          Petrus- I really much liked the food I had there, very safe but well executed. I sympathise with you Alison, my Mum also loves food but does not eat quite a lot of things so I can't take her anywhere that does tasting menus only, I have to avoid anything quite spicy etc. It just makes finding somewhere great a little harder...


          1. re: restaurantsandrants

            Thanks for the sympathy! It is a difficult call - made even more so by the fact that Murano is now fully booked for that night. Back to square one now!!

            Any other places I should consider?

            1. re: alisonk

              If it isn't too expensive Ducasse at The Dorchester usually has tables and has really come into it's own after a shakey launch. And it would provide that special occasion feel. The pastry chef who has been there from the start has to be amongst the best in London, the soufflés are incredible.

              1. re: marcusj

                Hi there - thought I had replied to this, but clearly not. I really want to try The Dorchester, but it is out of our price range for lunch for the three of us. Menu looks amazing though!!

              2. re: alisonk

                Out of your original suggestions- I would say that I really liked Social Eating House (food is not as good as PSS though); however, the atmosphere is quite Soho trendy so may suit some people more than others. Galvin La Chapelle is a very nice restaurant to dine in, suitable for a special occasion. The tagine of pigeon with cous cous there is a top dish.

                You could also consider Galvin at Windows, I think the food there is as good as LC plus you get stunning views. A bit west of central, both Medlar and Kitchen W8 offer very good food at a good price.

                1. re: restaurantsandrants

                  Will check out Medlar and Kitchen w8 - have heard of the former but not the latter. Thanks for the suggestions!


                  1. re: alisonk

                    I've read some great things about Medlar but haven't been myself.

                    Kitchen W8 is good food, served in quite an informal location. It feels more like a local bistro than a Michelin Restaurant. It's a safe bet with good value options.

                    Alyn Williams was in my top 3 meals of the last year but is a very different feel to Kitchen W8. It's the opposite end of the spectrum with lots of hotel grandeur and certain elements of fauning although I found the (mostly Italian in the section that I was in) wait staff to be very friendly and chatty even on a Friday night service.

                    1. re: AWaiting

                      Thanks for the tip - I had actually discounted Alyn Williams for my mum - despite the fact I thought the menu looked AMAZING - because it was the tasting menu only on a sat night.

                      Kitchen W8 and Medlar both look great, but I think mum's eyes lit up at the Kitchen W8 menu most of all. I then went back to the Harwood Arms as I thought that although it is at the pub end of the spectrum, it might fit the bill. Again, she thought that it looked great. I am a bit worried that it might get too offaly for her come Autumn, so I have booked a table at both there and W8 - I will keep an eye on how the menus develop and then decide next month. It is quite a difficult job this!! The best food is the priority though - regardless of setting!!

                      Anyway keep the suggestions coming folks - and thanks for all the tips so far!!

                      1. re: alisonk

                        Angela Harnett of Murano is said to be opening a new restaurant sometime this autumn. It might even be more than one... cant remember. If you liked the idea of Murano, you could check in to that.

                        1. re: zuriga1

                          Oooh interesting!! I really liked the look of her menu. Will keep my eye out. I reserved w8 but can easily cancel - I have tons of time!!

                          1. re: alisonk

                            I was going to 'like' your comment, but then I realized this isn't Facebook. :-)

                            I'll have to check out that menu.