From low-key Mediterranean cafés to high-profile Michelin-starred chef destinations, Knightsbridge’s dining scene has something for everyoneWords: Stefan Chomka
The definitive guide to drinking and dining in Knightsbridge
Best for date night
The Aubrey, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA
Split across a number of intimate rooms, each with its own Japanese styling, this super-stylish izakaya at the Mandarin Oriental ticks all the boxes for a romantic evening. Move between the smart wood-panelled bar and the sumptuous dining area dripping in red velvet and marble, and tuck into top-quality Japanese food. For something even more special, head to its six-seater omakase-style cocktail bar and indulge in a two-hour drinks masterclass.
Best for alfresco dining
Summer might seem a long way away, but when the mercury finally rises again there will be only one place to head for – the rooftop at Harrods. The luxury department store recently gave the space over to multi-Michelin-starred Swedish chef Björn Frantzén and his Asian Nordic Studio Frantzén concept. The restaurant has a stylish terrace with a fully retractable roof and offers views over The Shard, Tower Bridge and The London Eye.
Best for vegans
Holy Carrot, Urban Retreat, 2-4 Hans Crescent, SW1X 0LH
So named because it worships the vegetable, Holy Carrot celebrates plant-based food in style. The menu combines meat-free alternatives with classics such as shepherd’s pie and hot pot, alongside inventive veg creations that include smoked aubergine carpaccio with black tahini sauce, and truffle celeriac risotto with koji miso butter. It also does a strikingly different afternoon tea.
Best for adventurous appetites
Noura Deli, 12 William Street, SW1X 9HL
Neighbourhood delicatessen Noura has been serving Londoners for more than 20 years, and its enduring appeal stems from its selection of good-value Lebanese and Mediterranean food. The menu is broad, featuring everything from hot and cold mezze to heartier dishes. Most popular are its wraps, including those made with Middle Eastern tannour bread.
Best for a sweet tooth
Want to know what a dessert from a pastry world champion tastes like? Then look no further than French pastry chef Angelo Musa’s restaurant on the Fourth Floor of Harrods. While you can try some of Musa’s savoury dishes, those in the know never stray from his sweet options, not least the Papilio, his winning dessert for the World Pastry Cup.
Cédric Grolet at The Berkeley, Wilton Place, SW1X 7RL
The five-star hotel is home to French pâtissier extraordinaire Cédric Grolet and his chef’s counter serving all manner of viennoiserie. For the true die-hard pastry fan there’s The Pastry Lab, which offers a six-course tasting menu of five sweet and one savoury dish for £135.
Best for a quick bite
As its name suggests, this Brompton Road café majors in the unleavened Indian flatbread chapati and karak, a sweet Indian tea commonly consumed in the Middle East. The menu is tight, with sweet and savoury chapatis that include cheese, egg, and cinnamon, and traditional karak alongside black, green and mint teas, but that doesn’t stop it from being an incredibly popular spot throughout the day.
Best for dinner with friends
The Mantl, 142 Brompton Road, SW3 1HY
Knightsbridge is home to numerous Turkish and Middle Eastern restaurants, and none is more inviting than The Mantl. Tables spill out into the streets in the summer months when the bifold doors are flung open at this authentic charcoal-grill restaurant, creating the perfect place for a fun, informal and fulfilling meal.
Best for the ‘gram
EL&N, 42 Hans Crescent, SW1X 0LZ
Self-proclaimed as ‘London’s most Instagrammable hot spot’, EL&N’s Hans Crescent venue is one of its most impressive. Set over two floors in various shades of pink, its striking interior features carousel horses, a love-heart art installation, and more velvet than the House of Tudor. Happily, there’s an equally over-the-top range of colourful and indulgent lattes, mocktails and desserts to stay for.
Best for an obscene splurge
Nusr-Et Steakhouse London, The Park Tower Knightsbridge Hotel, 101 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7EZ
This won’t be everyone’s cup of (Turkish) tea, but if you want to dine at London’s most outrageous restaurant, then Nusr-Et is it. Chef Nusret Gökçe, better known as Salt Bae, serves an outlandish – and supremely expensive – menu of items that can be wrapped in gold leaf, including a tomahawk steak, baklava and even a cappuccino. Some will argue the practice is as tasteless as the gold leaf itself, but for culinary hypebeasts with the bank account to back it up, this is undoubtedly the place to head for.
Stefan Chomka is editor of Restaurant magazine