Traditional or left field, private or inclusive, cost-effective or on the company account – as long as food and drink’s involved, a Christmas party in London can be anything you like.
Swan at Shakespeare’s Globe
Next door to the Globe Theatre, the Swan is in a prime location with views over the river towards St Paul’s. The modern British menu offers something for every occasion, from breakfasts and roasts to afternoon tea inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The restaurant’s five private rooms range from the intimate (14 covers) to the more inclusive (350).
Big Easy Canary Wharf
Probably your best bet if looking for a budget-friendly crowd-pleaser, Big Easy’s enormous all-American menu is made for feeding large groups. The Captain’s Table, a striking event space designed to look a ship’s wood panelled dining room, is one of London’s best kept secrets.
The Pig and Butcher
For the authentic Christmas experience, no one does it quite so well as Islington gastropub The Pig and Butcher. The farmhouse kitchen-inspired private dining room, complete with an Aga and wood-burning stove, is like a trip to the country without leaving the city. The menu makes the experience, though: palate-tuners like cheese straws and pork crackling with apple sauce set the stage for braised beef with bone marrow and smoked bacon; whole suckling pig; or free-range turkey.
Launceston Place proudly has one of the UK’s most promising chefs in Ben Murphy, previously of The Woodford. Groups can be accommodated in the elegant interconnecting dining rooms or at the Chef’s Table where up to 12 guests can enjoy a bespoke menu created by Murphy.
Situated on Granary Square, The Lighterman can accommodate all sorts of parties, from festive team lunches to drinks and canapé receptions. Here you’ll find some of the best views over Regent’s Canal, and excellent British-inspired food to boot. The three-course Christmas menu (£50pp) is reassuringly reflective of the winter season, with dishes like venison loin, Jerusalem artichoke and wild mushroom tart, and clementine chocolate brownie on offer.
Market Halls West End
London’s hottest food hall is set to open just off Oxford Street on November 15th. It will be the city’s biggest, set to feature 11 traders already lighting up London, including BaoziInn, Super Tacos (a Breddo’s offshoot), and plant-based maestros CookDaily. Christmas party bookings are available for up to 350 guests.
The Ivy Soho Brasserie
The Ivy’s most central branch, right in the middle of Soho, is perfect for parties and can accommodate up to 40 guests in The Blake Room. Given how much the brand respects the calendar, and famously have an eye for the aesthetic, you can be sure The Ivy will go all out for Christmas.
Another restaurant that will suit most tastes, Caravan’s culinary inspirations are global rather than specific. The mini-chain is also famous for its brunches, so if kicking off the festivities in the late morning is the order of day, then you’re in the right place. Their City branch, in the Bloomberg Arcade, has a semi-private mezzanine area that’s worth keeping in mind for parties and team lunches.
As the bill of fare demonstrates, there’s two things you should know about Tramshed: steak and chicken. Long banquet tables make this a prime spot for larger parties, while artwork by Damien Hirst provides talking points. The mezzanine area offers semi-private dining with a view, while the chef’s table in Mark’s Kitchen Library is ideal for smaller gatherings of up to 12 people.
Inamo Covent Garden
With interactive tabletops dishing up retro games and live chef cam feeds, ‘ordinary’ isn’t a word that enters Inamo’s vocabulary. If you don’t fancy turkey, their pan-Asian menu might hit the spot with dishes like miso salmon and sizzling black pepper beef. The Onyx Room at their Covent Garden restaurant is fitted out with huge screens and gaming consoles – ideal for after-dinner gaming or karaoke.
Find Christmas party venues in your area on OpenTable.
This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.