The season of the itchy woolly jumper, the crackling open fire, the hot water bottle, is truly upon us once more. It’s the time of year we say no to al fresco, ice-filled tipples and even an inch of exposed limb, and yes to the cosseting confines of London’s cosiest restaurants. Make yourself at home (minus your slippers) at these dining spots for the season.
1. Holborn Dining Room Book Holborn Dining Room
Set within a stunning former banking hall, Holborn Dining Room tops our list of spots to warm the cockles of your soul this winter. Sink into leather banquettes and squashy armchairs, and warm extremities next to Scarfe Bar’s crackling open fire. If you’re up for some long-haul relaxation, work your way through the 8 sections of the menu: made up of hot-counter treats, juicy grills and bar snacks.
Inspired by the gymkhana clubs of yesteryear, Michelin-starred Gymkhana brings its acclaimed Indian cuisine to Mayfair. Muted lighting is cast from Jaipur glass wall lamps, and hunting trophies and thick rugs sit under the low, lacquered oak ceilings. Warming treats from the searing-hot tandoor oven include the guinea fowl breast with mango, wild boar vindaloo, or classic butter chicken.
3. Afternoon Tea at The Goring Book Afternoon Tea at The Goring
Seamlessly combining cosiness and elegance, The Goring presents one of London’s most established afternoon teas. Take things up a notch on the luxury front, this 5-star hotel boasts magnificent Swarovski crystal chandeliers and huge armchairs, along with an open fire for extra-level toastiness. Look out onto the opulent hotel gardens for extra joy at being sat indoors.
4. The Ship
Famous for sterling British comfort food including its much-lauded Scotch egg, The Ship in Wandsworth us one of south west London’s most iconic pubs. Mismatched furnishings and sprawling rugs give the pub a genuine homely feel, and a central wood burner gets the mercury climbing indoors when it’s chilly outside.
5. Great Central Bar and Restaurant Book Great Central Bar and Restaurant
Another underground retreat, Great Central Bar and Restaurant replaces its windows with wood panels: perfect for banishing any trace of howling winds and winter blizzards. Crowd-pleasing favourites span from sea bass with crab risotto, to pork belly with potato gratin and red cabbage, and simply-must desserts include pear & blackberry crumble with vanilla ice cream, or warm Bakewell tart. Snap up an armchair next to the open fire for top cosiness.
6. The Goring Dining Room Book The Goring Dining Room
Recently awarded a Michelin star, The Goring Dining Room offers accessible British fine dining in stunning Edwardian surroundings. Thick drapes, delicate chandeliers and thick-padded chairs are dotted through the immaculate dining room, and the supreme dishes are sure to warm up even the chilliest of London days.
7. The Dove
Bringing quaint, country-pub charm to West London and enjoying a mention in the Guinness Book of Records, The Dove boasts a fruitful history dating back to the 17th century. Low-beamed ceilings, tartan-print chairs and glowing log fires are dotted through this much-loved London pub, and the food and drinks lists follow the Fuller’s trend for premium British produce and ales.
8. Star Tavern
A Belgravia pub once known as a hideout for the capital’s criminals, Star Tavern is now a charming library-style watering hole mentioned in both the Good Food and Good Beer Guides. Gone are the Great Train Robbers, who’ve made way for roaring fires, shelves of leather-bound books, thick drapes and chandeliers.
9. Afternoon Tea at The Library Lounge Book The Library Lounge
Views out onto the choppy Thames will make the shelter of The Library Lounge even more satisfying: sink into an armchair and be enveloped by wood panels, glass encased books and plush, springy carpets. The Library Lounge’s inventive afternoon tea (served with sweet AND savoury scones) is renowned as one of the best in London.