As the nights draw in, the leaves turn and the temperatures drop, there are few things as truly comforting as a hearty meal washed down with a glass of red. We find ourselves switching from light dishes to richer fare and swapping al fresco dining for cosy corners in opulent surroundings.
To help you navigate this change in season, we have gathered together a list of eateries that not only offer up cheerful, nourishing food but the perfect environment to spend a chilly autumn evening in, too.
The place: Kerridge’s Bar & Grill
The food: An entry for the meat-eaters, this new addition to London’s restaurant scene opened in September 2018 in the Corinthia Hotel. The menu offers pork, beef, venison and lamb as well as several hearty fish dishes, all of which are accompanied by quintessentially British sides such as crispy black pudding and cottage pie. This is Tom Kerridge’s first London venture, having previously opened the first ever pub to receive two Michelin stars and appeared on several cooking shows including MasterChef and The Great British Menu.
The surroundings: The original dining room was designed by the late David Collins and updated by his studio for Kerridge’s arrival. Rich-hued leather booths, dark wood panelling and moss green walls make this the perfect place to settle in on a cold winter night.
Recommended autumn dish: Start with Crown Prince pumpkin soup with ‘Scarborough Fair’ pesto, pickled orchard fruits and pumpkin bread followed by rib of beef from The Butcher’s Tap with chips, bone marrow sauce and gherkin ketchup – the ultimate comfort food combination.
The place: 1251; 107 Upper Street, Islington, N1
The food: A fusion of influences from Kent, Scotland and the Caribbean, 1251 is anything but ordinary. It is the brainchild of James Cochran, whose CV includes stints at Wheeler’s Oyster Bar in Whitstable and The Ledbury in Notting Hill and is based around small-plate sharing. His eclectic background is encapsulated in dishes like his Lamorna Cove jerk spiced hake.
The surroundings: By far the cosiest entry on this list, the décor is distinctly modern with its white walls, millennial pink benches and dangling light fixtures. Our pick for a date night destination, the intimate setting is ideal for when the nights draw in.
Recommended autumn dish: Pricey but worth it, try the shoulder, loin, haunch, belly and rack of kid goat, black eyed pea Dahl, roti, scotch bonnet jam, pineapple, cucumber and carrot salad and coconut rice.
The place: Rüya; 30 Upper Grosvenor Street, Mayfair, W1K
The food: Turkish food is not often associated with fine dining; Rüya is here to change all that. The menu is described as “an array of Anatolian classics with a contemporary and fresh twist” and is bursting at the seams with hearty, flavourful dishes guaranteed to warm you right down to your toes. There is even a section on the menu dedicated solely to bread – heaven.
The surroundings: The design of this stylish restaurant was taken on by Conran and Partners and it shows. Plush seating accented with wood and brass, broken up into several different rooms. The entire restaurant is a delightful escape from the, sometimes gloomy, grey of autumn in London. You won’t want to leave.
Recommended autumn dish: Go for the 24-hour Slow Cooked Short Rib in Turkish chilli BBQ glaze with spiced konya chick pea purée to share.
The place: Flesh & Buns; 32 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, W1T
The food: Sushi is not often associated with autumnal comfort food but, in the case of Flesh & Buns, we had to make an exception. Plus, this Japanese restaurant has so much more to offer than your average sushi joint. Their speciality? The steamed buns that come stuffed with all manner of delicious fillings including crispy duck leg and rabbit katsu. They also have a ‘Smoker’ section that contains things like chilli miso brisket and beef short ribs with watercress kimchi that is not to be missed.
The surroundings: Blonde wood, Japanese-style paper panels and wicker light fixtures give this newly opened branch of the popular Seven Dials restaurant an Eastern atmosphere of serenity. When the hustle bustle of London in autumn gets to be too much, come in, strip off a few layers and, finally, relax.
Recommended autumn dish: The crisp piglet belly with mustard miso and pickled apple is pretty hard to beat.
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