Three London restaurants to splurge on
DINNER BY HESTON BLUMENTHAL
History is the focus of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park restaurant. The menu the result of detailed research into gastronomy dating back to the 14th century. It contains the quirkiness you expect from Blumenthal, notably the 'Tipsy Cake': spit roast pineapple.
With starters around £17.50, mains closer to £40 and desserts near to £13.50, your bill is looking close to £150 before you've even opened the wine list. Luckily, there's a whole section for wines between £25 and £50, and the sommelier will assist you if you're not sure what will go best with your meal.
The highlight for us was the bohemian cake (no longer on the menu at August 2016). We actually went back there one day in 2015 to see if we could just visit for dessert, but it had been replaced by another invention.
COST: circa £200 for three courses, including wine, for two people.
There are literally hundreds of places to go for premium afternoon tea in London. Claridges, Fortnum & Mason, the Ritz... the list goes on. With many of them carrying a similar price tag, the decision comes down to (for me) the menu and the experience I want to have.
Sketch is a playful Mayfair establishment providing groundbreaking food in a variety of uniquely designed areas. Afternoon tea is served in The Gallery, a womb-like room with humorous artwork by Turner-nominated David Shrigley.
When I visited with my mother, the menu was vegetarian-friendly and untraditional, ideal for us. Every sugary morsel was divine and we ate the lot (even after two servings of sandwiches). Their herbal teas were the best way to wash everything down.
Oh, and the toilets are pretty egg-citing too, so take a look.
COST: £45 per person, excluding 12.5% service charge. The price goes up to a whopping £68 per person during events such as Wimbledon and the Chelsea Flower Show.
DUCK & WAFFLE
Open 24 hours a day and located 40 floors above the streets of London, Duck & Waffle is the perfect place to go if you want some drunk food, are lucky enough to have the money and are not drunk enough to feel woozy in the lift going up. Their ox cheek doughnut and signature dish of crispy confit duck with maple sauce are both moreish.
COST: circa £100 for two people sharing tapas-style including wine.