2012 was a fantastic time to be in London. It’s not over yet, however, and you can see out this momentous year in style by enjoying a celebratory meal at one of the city’s great restaurants. There are lots of special deals on offer and we’ve rounded up some of the best options by menu type below. First, however, here are three essential tips from Toptable‘s Lucy Taylor on getting the most out of your New Year’s Eve dining experience.
1. Don’t wait until the last minute! Prime tables with a view of the fireworks are hard to come by so book as early as possible.
2. Be flexible on time and you could save money. Many restaurants have two seatings: an early, typically cheaper seating and a late seating that extends through past midnight. If you have your heart set on a particular restaurant the earlier seating may be the best way to grab last minute availability
3. Make sure to sort your transport well in advance. Don’t risk losing your booking by arriving 45 minutes late because of traffic or transport issues.
Set menus under £50
If you’re looking for an affordable meal, lots of London restaurants are offering budget-friendly set menus that don’t compromise on quality. Many of them take place in the early evening, allowing you to fuel up in style before you hit the dance floor.
Almeida in Islington, for example is offering an early evening menu of five courses, as well as canapés, mince pies and coffee, for £45.
Alternatively, you can enjoy three courses and a glass of champagne at the City’s 3 South Place Bar & Grill at any time of the evening (£40). Closer to Trafalgar Square, revellers can savour Indian cuisine either early on at the Mint Leaf (£25, until 7.30pm) or later at Dishoom, where the restaurant’s Bombay Vintage Glam Party offers a ten-dish sharing menu and welcome cocktail for £48.
Over in party-loving Soho, Kettner’s is offering a scrumptious four-course meal and coffee for £49. Service starts at 7pm and there will be live piano music all evening, or you can opt for pre-theatre options which start from £20 for two courses.
For those in the mood for more active dining, Bloomsbury’s All Star Lanes are offering a glass of prosecco, cocktail, two course meal and bowling package for £35, or you can spend your meal playing with futuristic gadgets at the Inamo restaurants. Further afield, why not sit down at Odette’s in Primrose Hill between 6pm-7.15pm for a three course menu that features scallops, Welsh beef and truffle mash, before heading out onto the hill for a great view of the fireworks? (£45)
Set menus £50-£99
The Andaz Hotel at Liverpool Street allows you to enjoy a four course menu with a glass of champagne in its gorgeous 1901 restaurant, before partying in the venue’s Champagne Bar to music from their DJ (£55).
An in-house after-party is also on the cards at trendy Gilgamesh, where you can feast on either their pan-Asian meat or vegetarian menus before dancing the night away (£65).
For a more European taste of debauchery, do New Year’s Eve at Bunga Bunga, which offers a six course Italian banquet, welcome cocktail and mask (useful at the ensuing masquerade party) for £85.
A more refined alternative is The Gun in London’s Docklands, which will be serving a six course tasting menu with champagne on arrival and at midnight, accompanied by DJ music in the pub’s riverside areas from 10pm. Foodies can also grab an early bargain at the Michelin-starred Alyn Williams at the Westbury, where you can pay just £60 for canapés and champagne, a tempting set menu and coffee with chocolates if you’re seated between 5.30 and 6.30pm.
Set menus over £100
London’s fine dining scene provides ample opportunity to push the boat out and see in 2013 with unique flair. Prices can rise quite steeply here, but you’re almost guaranteed an unforgettable evening.
On New Year’s Eve, the most sought-after venues come with spectacular views of the midnight fireworks above the Thames: you can get a bird’s eye view from the Réveillon-inspired party at SushiSamba (£275); sip champagne on a Thames-side terrace after a six course banquet at the Royal Horseguards Hotel (£295;) eat a five course feast at the Cinnamon Club (£125); or enjoy a post-dinner river cruise from Le Pont De La Tour (from £235).
Elsewhere, you can feast on a Scottish banquet at Albannach (£100), enjoy a four-course meal and live music at newly refurbished hotspot No. 5 Cavendish Square, or enjoy a glamorous night in the Waldorf Hilton in Aldwych, which offers guests live jazz, champagne and a six-course dinner. For a truly extravagant evening, however, look no further than the Ritz, where a four-course dinner is accompanied by a regimental marching band, live music and dancing. (£575)
A La Carte Dining
If your new year’s resolution is to be more decisive, why not get a head start by opting for an a la carte rather than set menu? Select restaurants across London will be offering a full a la carte menu: try the jazzy Brompton Bar and Grill, chic martini-centric hotspot Christopher’s, or the very British Albion, which is holding a few tables back for spontaneous callers.