Where to eat, drink and be merry this party season? In high style in the most spectacular private dining rooms in London, just you and your loved ones, away from the rest of the revellers. A good private dining room offers an enhanced dining out experience, with dedicated waiting staff, a bespoke menu, and exceptional design. Here, we’ve rounded up the need-to-know new and classic private dining rooms in London to book now.
Private Dining Rooms in London
At progressive new restaurant Cycene at Blue Mountain School in Shoreditch, supper begins with sourdough bread and a beaker of hot broth, taken in the tranquillity of the ground floor bar. The next stage of the journey takes guests upstairs, either to the main dining room, hung with a Frank Auerbach charcoal, or to the Hearth Room, Cycene’s private space for four to six diners. Have high-minded friends only join you round the vast walnut table by artist Tyler Hays; it’s a cerebral experience to be savoured. Chef Theo Clench (Portland, Akoko, the Clove Club) cooks a £175, ten-course menu of depth and delicacy including Devon crab and genmaicha tartlet; lightly poached Carlingford oyster with caviar; and turbot with two sauces, a classic in the making.
Blue Mountain School, 9 Chance Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7JB
The mysterious empress MiMi – fictional, but no matter – needs somewhere to surrender fully to her sybaritic urges. To that end, she has hidden away two private dining rooms for six in the vaults beneath her two-storey townhouse, otherwise known as MiMi Mei Fair, Samyukta Nair’s lavish Chinese restaurant in Mayfair. Make like MiMi over truffle dumplings, sea urchin turnip puffs, wasabi prawns, and a glossy lacquered whole Peking duck, widely held to be the best in London. The clandestine setting is very seductive, all the more so with a smoky Ilegal Szechuan cocktail in hand.
55 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8PG
Across five floors of museum-quality art and design, The Audley on Mount Street is a venue fit for a King (and his Queen Consort). Where the royals lead, the social set follows. The Audley’s four Curious rooms (on the three floors above Mount St. Restaurant) are quite the smartest setting for a soirée this season. The Italian Room, with its De Chirico oil and verde alpi marble floor, seats ten, and has its own bar; the Swiss Room, for up to 14, has a handmade oak floor modelled after Sophie Taeuber-Arp; the Scottish room is the largest room, for up to 26, beneath a radiating antler chandelier; while for an intimate gathering of six, it has to be the Games Room, with tentacle erotica painted directly on the ceiling. Menus, from £80-£145, include signatures such as bubble and squeak and caviar, beef wellington, blancmange, and that lobster pie for two.
41-43 Mount Street, Mayfair, London W1K 2RX
The ruby red walls of the Harben Room, the private dining room for 22 at The Pem in Westminster, foster instant good cheer. So too does the traditional tablescape, all Christmas crackers, baubles, and sprays of foliage. Sally Abé does Christmas with a chef’s touch. Leave it to her to come up with such clever plates as chestnut spätzle, roast fallow deer with fermented red cabbage and pickled blackberries, and caramelised pear ice cream with Babycham granita – a genius creation. Menus from £55 to £140. Service too is second-to-none.
Conrad London St. James, 22-28 Broadway, Westminster, London SW1H 0BH
Invite your circle to a party at Bacchanalia, and the RSVPs will come back in the affirmative the second you hit ‘send’. Everybody but everybody wants an ‘in’ to Richard Caring’s new Greco-Roman palazzo this Christmas, where Martin Brudnizki interiors and four magnificent Damien Hirst statues vie for attention with the restaurant’s in-house grape feeder. Artemis, the private dining room seating 20, is Bacchanalia’s inner sanctum. Make your event one to remember with a Lucullan feast of whole turbot, Fine de Claire oysters, salt crust sea bass and caviar galore. Menus from £120 to £240.
1 Mount Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 3NA
Hung with glistening chandeliers and swagged drapes, this Grade II-listed Georgian mansion has played host to the likes of Florence Welch, White Cube Gallery and Mulberry. It’s elegant with a dash of the eccentric. Chef Jackson Boxer sure knows how to throw a party, with feasts of rare roast Highland beef sirloin with horseradish and slow roast shoulders of Swaledale lamb, and colourful plates of English radishes, courgette fritters, and celebratory strawberry and Champagne fool. There’s a warren of rooms, seating 14-28; the most intimate is the Study, for gatherings of 12.
30 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall, London SW8 2LG
For a venue that aligns with your values, consider Apricity, chef Chantelle Nicholson’s pioneering future-first restaurant in Mayfair. The salvaged timber chef’s table for six to ten is semi-private, away from other diners, but within sight of the kitchen, where Nicholson and team put their all into the immensely creative £110 seven-course tasting menus. Dishes aren’t fully finalised until the day – zero waste necessitates some cooking on the fly – but could be butter-poached pollock with bouillabaisse and rouille, roasted kuri squash with zhoug, and Rollright cheese millefeuille with preserved blackberry.
68 Duke Street, Mayfair, London W1K 6JU
For a yuletide beano second only to Christmas at Sandringham, it has to be one of the three private rooms at Quo Vadis. Jeremy Lee is the most generous of chefs. Treats abound on his feasting menus, which are priced from £65 to £95 – think chicken pies with mash and greens, cured trout with cucumber and dill, and his now signature tumbles of hazelnut meringues with cream and berry compôte. The rooms are dressed to impress, with crisp linen, seasonal blooms, and flickering candlelight. Tables can be arranged for groups of nine to 32.
26-29 Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 3LL
Surround yourself with beauty at Scott’s in Mayfair, where the two private party rooms positively bristle with possibilities. The Platinum Arowana Room is the more soigné, accommodating just eight intimates, where you’ll be left alone to admire works by Renoir, Chagall, Miro and Braque. The Private Room, meanwhile, has space for 24 around one long table. Gold ceilings and shoals of tropical fish set up quite the selfie backdrop. Christmas crackers of Norfolk bronze turkey, beef Wellington, and Christmas pudding fondant with brandy ice cream feature on the festive menus (from £125), to which can be added “enhancements” of fruits de mer, caviar, and cheese. Note that the new Scott’s in Richmond also has a gorgeous room for nine-14.
20 Mount Street, Mayfair, London W1K 2HE
It’s close to a decade since Gymkhana first arrived in Mayfair and still reservations at the Michelin-starred Indian restaurant are in high, high demand. The two best tables in the house are Vault 30 and Vault 40, the two subterranean private vaults seating eight and ten respectively. Gymkhana’s celebrity guests love them. Chef Sid Ahuja’s created two tasting menus (one vegetarian, one not) especially for the season, on which appear such greatest hits as Gymkhana’s epic wild muntjac biryani, a magnificent morel and truffle pilau, and heavenly saffron pistachio kulfa falooda. £125, with optional wine pairings at £95.
Gymkhana, 42 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4JH