CEOs’ favourite London restaurants for business pow-wows

From private dining rooms to funky breakfast cafés - where power brokers break bread

Swans Bar at Maison Assouline on London’s Piccadilly
Swans Bar at Maison Assouline on London’s Piccadilly | Image: Andy Barnham

Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro, CEO of London residential property developer Northacre“For a business lunch, you have to be comfortable in the environment, and it has to be conducive to good conversation. My current favourite is Swans Bar at Maison Assouline on Piccadilly. This is where we recently struck a deal to redesign a house on Chester Square. Aside from its publishing business, Assouline has a line of furniture and objets, and it’s a great place to eat: the food is light – you could have foie gras, but also a salad or small dish.” Swans Bar, Maison Assouline, 196a Piccadilly, London W1 (020-3327 9370; assouline.com).

The elegant dining room at The Lanesborough on Hyde Park Corner
The elegant dining room at The Lanesborough on Hyde Park Corner
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Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings and former Spanish MEP “I’m really bad at mornings and I hate breakfast meetings, but one exception is breakfast at The Lanesborough hotel. Enrique Bañuelos and I go there because we like to walk around Hyde Park and talk, and The Lanesborough is just across the road. On one significant occasion, after coffee and a croissant, he committed to invest €25m in Formula E.” The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, London SW1 (020-7259 5599; lanesborough.com).

Linda Jackson dining at Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill in London
Linda Jackson dining at Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill in London | Image: Matt Munro
The bustling Breakfast Club in London’s Soho
The bustling Breakfast Club in London’s Soho

Linda Jackson, CEO of Citroën “My favourite London restaurant is Bentley’s – the fish is always cooked to perfection. The smoked salmon is special – it’s smoked on Bentley’s rooftop – and I enjoy the seared sea bass with crab and ginger in a galangal broth. There’s always a great buzz. It’s where I went to celebrate being named “the most influential British woman in the car industry”, but I also host more formal meals in the private Crustacea Room, which is decorated with art from chef-proprietor Richard Corrigan’s collection.” Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill, 11-15 Swallow Street, London W1 (020-7734 4756; bentleys.org).

Clarke’s restaurant in west London has a relaxed ambience
Clarke’s restaurant in west London has a relaxed ambience
The Cereal Killer café menu on Brick Lane features over 120 cereals
The Cereal Killer café menu on Brick Lane features over 120 cereals

Peter Souter, chairman and chief creative officer at advertising agency TBWA in London “For lunch meetings I favour places that put people at ease; somewhere not too fancy tells a person they don’t have to suck up to you. The Breakfast Club is a noisy, shouty place in Soho, a part of London where all the clever, visual people who can’t get a proper job go to work. I love that they put something vaguely philosophical on the board outside the café every day, like: ‘Life is too short not to eat fried food’.” TheBreakfast Club, 33 D’Arblay Street, London W1 (020-7434 2571; thebreakfastclubcafes.com).

Michael Morley dining at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut on Park Lane
Michael Morley dining at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut on Park Lane | Image: James Winspear
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Simon Freakley, CEO of global business advisory firm Alix Partners “For a more leisurely business dinner you can’t beat Clarke’s. The roasted Scottish halibut is always delicious – as are the desserts; I’m partial to baked quince with honey ice cream. It’s top-rate on all levels – the ambience, the cuisine, the service – and the tables are well spaced so you can have a private, meaningful conversation. This is key – some great restaurants are too busy or lively for an intimate discussion.” Clarke’s, 124 Kensington Church Street, London W8 (sallyclarke.com).

Joseph Sitt, president and CEO of Thor Equities “No matter what city I’m in, I like to take people out of their comfort zone. On a recent London trip to meet the bankers and creative minds involved with a Milan property, I took everyone for breakfast at Cereal Killer in Shoreditch – a tiny, funky hole in the wall that has over 120 cereals. The mint and chocolate one puts everyone in a good mood.” Cereal Killer café, 139 Brick Lane, London E1 (020-3601 9100; cerealkillercafe.co.uk).

Michael Morley, head of wealth management UK at Deutsche Bank “Meetings over dinner in London are usually at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut. I was pleased when Puck arrived on Park Lane. His dining room is very luxurious, and if I know that a client likes meat, we’ll go there. The knowledge of the different cuts, how the animal is fed and treated, and the resultant textures are second to none. I also like the arrangement of the tables – some in semi-private booths with views of the park.” Cut, 45 Park Lane, London W1 (020-7493 4554; wolfgangpuck.com). 

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