Autumn may seem far away, but tickets are selling fast for October’s month-long London Restaurant Festival 2016, with its host of one-off menus and restaurant experiences – and especially so given the array of luxe experiences on offer this year for the first time.
Chef-hosted “My Travels” lunches and dinners (£79) with 10 of London’s top chefs are being offered exclusively to American Express cardholders – with Theo Randall, Skye Gyngell, Tom Aikens, Anton Mosimann, Yotam Ottolenghi, Angela Hartnett et al creating menus inspired by their global gourmet gallivantings. After early sell outs, more tickets are to be released today.
Although there is priority booking for those with an Amex card (hence early sell outs), there is a plethora of events on offer for non-cardholders too. New also for the 2016 festival are Tasting Menus, starting on Wednesday 5. A four-course regional Italian menu with wine will be held at the acclaimed Trullo in Islington, hosted by the restaurant’s chef-director Tim Siadatan (£55, Wednesday 12). Chef Anthony Demetre will welcome guests to a four-course bistro-style dinner at his new venture Osteria, in the Barbican Centre (£50, Friday 14). For die-hard Japanese food and whisky fans, a 10-course omakase dinner will be served with a different Suntory whisky for each course at Mayfair’s Tokimeite (£229, Thursday 27).
Restaurant-Hopping Tours will take guests to five restaurants for a drink and a tasting plate at each venue; highlights include a tour of Heddon Street and Regent Street with Sipsmith gin cocktails to venues including Heddon Street Kitchen, Piccolino and IceBar (£49, Wednesday 5, 6pm-10.30pm, and Saturdays 8 and 15, 12pm-5pm). Tours around Devonshire Square in the City will visit Kenza, Fish Market, Pitt Cue Co, Cinnamon Kitchen and Old Bengal Bar (£49, Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12, 6pm-10.30pm). And in Soho and Fitzrovia, restaurants include Kiln, Blacklock, Newman Arms and Ahi Poké (£49, Saturdays 8 and 22, 12pm-5pm) – all to include wine.
If all that running around sounds a bit hectic, there are still seats available for a dinner and movie night in the stunning Temple Cinema – a former Grade ll-listed Greek Masonic Temple at the five-star Andaz hotel (£39, Tuesday 11). Aptly, the film in question is Babette’s Feast, accompanied by gourmet popcorn and drinks, while dinner can be served either before or after the film.