Fresco Dining: Art In London’s Restaurants

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Not only can you find some fantastic food in London, but it’s often served in aesthetically-pleasing surroundings. Some of the capital’s restaurants – regardless of whether you’re looking for haute cuisine or a quick burger – even offer you the chance to enjoy works from world-famous artists along with your food.

Burger King, Leicester Square
It’s probably not the first place you’d think to look, but the top floor of the fast food giant’s Leicester Square venue is graced with a two-metre wide painting by Damien Hirst (above). Entitled “Beautiful Psychedelic Gherkin Exploding Tomato Sauce All Over Your Face, Flame Grilled Painting 2003”, the work was made using the “spin painting technique” and is on loan to the venue until at least the end of the year.

L’Escargot, Soho
This renowned Soho restaurant is littered with fine art. See works by the likes of Hockney, Matisse, Chagall, Warhol and Miro downstairs, or check out the fantastic selection of Picasso sketches on the first floor.

Rules, Covent Garden
The walls of this venerable restaurant, which serves delicious British cuisine, are covered in hundreds of paintings and drawings. Don’t miss the large allegorical painting by John Springs, which features a triumphant Margaret Thatcher against a backdrop of the Faulkland Islands.

Le Gavroche, Mayfair
Admire works by Miro, Giacometti, Dali and Picasso from one of the sought-after tables at this brilliant restaurant from Michel Roux Jr.

Rivington Grill, Shoreditch
This Shoreditch hotspot hosts a regularly changing selection of work from the nearby Carl Freedman Gallery, as well as two works by Tracey Emin: “No Time” and “Life Without You. Never”.

Langan’s Brasserie, Piccadilly
See art by Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon, David Hockney and many others at this popular brasserie, which is sister to the equally art-infested Odin’s. 

Sketch, Oxford Street
Turner prize-winner Martin Creed, creator of All The Bells, has designed the restaurant at Sketch. It consists of various of his works: look out for the 96 types of marble on the zigzagging floor, the large scale wall paintings and the astounding attention to detail paid to the furniture and cutlery, every item of which is different.

Tramshed, Shoreditch
Damien Hirst has installed two of his pieces in the latest meat-centric outpost of Mark Hix’s restaurant empire. You can’t miss “Cock and Bull”, the huge formaldehyde installation suspended in the middle of the restaurant, but look out for his “Beef and Chicken” painting too.

The Restaurant at the Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly
The spectacular range of art extends into the restaurant of this world-famous venue, and diners can enjoy fantastic sculptures and murals alongside tasty dishes.

Nandos, venues across London
The popular chicken chain deserves an honourable mention for its commitment to showcasing South African art in its restaurants. It now has the largest collection in the UK, and you can see a variety of examples at their restaurants around town.

Have you spotted any more art over your supper at a London restaurant? Let us know in the comments below.