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Christmas Day in London -- not finding much

  • j

I will be in London (staying near Holbon tube station) over Christmas, and have been spinning my wheels searching for a good place for dinner on December 24 and 25. I will be with younger kids, and am not looking for a set menu with expensive prices. Really I'd be happy with a good Chinese or Indian restaurant that takes reservations and is serving their regular menu.

Any suggestions for these or other options would be greatly appreciated.


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  1. http://golondon.about.com/od/christma...

    I found this by googling "London restaurants open Christmas Day 2013." There was a lot of info.

    1. I think going to Chinatown is a great idea. Many restaurants that are open on Christmas are very expensive and take advantage, at times, of the tourists who have limited choices.

      Go to one of the better Chinese restaurants - I like Haozhan where the prices are fairly reasonable and the food is good. You might also like Pearl Liang for good dim sum, but that's near Paddington, not a long trek from Holborn. Be reminded that public transport is closed down on the 25th.

      3 Replies
      1. re: zuriga1

        Is this advice from experience? I am not certain why it's assumed Chinese or Indian restaurants don't close at Christmas as well, the bank holidays are not just for Christians, and staff costs rise, and transport becomes a problem for all employers as the UK practically closes for 36 hours,

        There will be a few places open but you do need to search hard, remember that with public transport shutting down from early evening on Christmas Eve and not being fully operational until the 27th then many many places will close as there are far fewer customers and staff who commute can't get to work. I also found on my last Christmas visit that many good places closed from the day before Christmas Eve to just before the New Year holiday.

        That said, the positive is a week when London is a little less crowded, until the post Christmas sales kick off, so it can be a nice time to be in the city. Do remember it's not just restaurants close but all attractions, like museums etc will generally close from early on the 24th to the 27th.

        1. re: PhilD

          Experience from other major cities around the world. Many ethnic restaurants are closed, but I've found a good many that will remain open. And yes, I've had to search hard for museums and other things to do from Dec. 24-26, but fortunately London's a big place with lots to do (except for Christmas Day itself!).

          1. re: PhilD

            London Chinatown is largely open on Christmas day. I've been a few times for a quick bite.

            I think it is assumed (at least Chinese places) because it seems to be common practice in the US and from what I've seen, in London. The presumption is self-fulfilling.

        2. Have you tried a search on TopTable?

          I get 212 hits for dinner on Christmas Day. I'm not that familiar with the capital's geography so dont know which may be near you - although I spot quite a few that are in the outer areas.

          If you find somewhere there, I would advise phoning the restaurant just to confirm that they are, indeed, going to be open.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Harters

            Thanks all for the helpful suggestions. I've been searching on Google a lot, but am running into high priced set menus. The Chinese options sound good, and I'll check out TopTable as well -- looks like many of the hotel restaurants are open, which is not too surprising.

          2. Are you staying in a hotel, or renting an apartment? I was initially considering dinner out on Christmas Day and having similar experiences. Since we have a flat, I decided to do some food shopping upon arrival and plan to cook at "home" over the holidays, although we did book afternoon tea at the Intercontinental on Boxing Day.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lisaonthecape

              I'll be in a hotel. Not surprisingly, many hotel restaurants seem to be open Christmas Day.

            2. Pont de la Tour does Christmas service every year. Great views. Not cheap.

              1. Is this like a Christmas celebratory meal or just food? I never stop promoting Cafe TPT in Chinatown for beef brisket curry, beef fried rice, and char kway teow (eat other dishes at your own risk). It's a hole in the wall, but those dishes are great. The BBQ duck is good as well.

                9 Replies
                1. re: brokentelephone

                  You had me at beef brisket curry. Thanks.

                  1. re: JJ.

                    It is the greatest preparation of this dish I've ever tried, although on the fatty side.

                    You can order it on rice, or in a pot in a larger size. It's particularly delicious if you add some of the chili oil stuff which is on the table.

                    1. re: brokentelephone

                      Went to Cafe TPT yesterday. Couldn't see beef brisket curry on the menu-it's a large menu and I was a bit hungover if I'm honest. Did have the curried beef flank hot pot though (not sure if this is the dish you're referring to?). Anyway happy to report that it's was really good, fatty but good. Had some interesting specials on the board such as clams in wine and pig stomach with chilli. Will definitely be heading back.

                      1. re: Paprikaboy

                        Probably the same thing. I just call it brisket, perhaps incorrectly. I usually get it on rice, but its the same dish.

                        1. re: brokentelephone

                          On the menu it's listed as beef flank. There's a version with rice, and one as a main dish. Very nice with a few chewy bits one the beef that I liked. Won't replace a rendang for me, but that's apples and oranges at some level.

                          1. re: limster

                            Glad you liked it limster. It's certainly a very unhealthy meal, but delicious nevertheless.

                            Any recommendations for a similar sort of flank/brisket dish on rice anywhere else?

                            1. re: brokentelephone

                              May not be the same precise cut of beef, but I'd say the beef rendang at Sedap.

                              Also, the beef rendang at the Indonesian mini-mart can be good, but also inconsistent -- sometimes the meat isn't as tender as could be, even though the flavours have a good depth.

                              1. re: limster

                                Where do you get 柱侯蘿蔔炆牛腩 (stewed beef brisket in chu hou sauce), if anywhere?

                                1. re: brokentelephone

                                  Haven't seen it anywhere unfortunately...

                2. Hi JJ,

                  "Holbon tube station....
                  I will be with younger kids...
                  not looking for a set menu with expensive prices"

                  "Chinese or Indian restaurant"

                  Dec 24th probably not a problem :

                  DEC 25th open ?



                  You might try emailing these :

                  Probably expensive :

                  From this thread, zuriga1 Oct 21, 2013
                  "I think going to Chinatown is a great idea"
                  A Walk north into Chinatown / Soho for a deal increases your chances, given this :-

                  Kind regards


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Patra19

                    Thanks for the detailed suggestions. I will give these a look.

                  2. I work at Holborn and I think my favourite (and not expensive) lunch-Thai is advertising their Christmas menu on a poster: http://thiwanya.co.uk/

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Littlemoskito

                      Thankfully they've changed their name (I used to eat there all the time when at uni and it was called Pu's Brasserie).