Tastemakers: The London Restaurant Festival

Explore the flavours of the moment in October's capital-wide celebration of cuisine from both near and far afield

The London Restaurant Festival is designed to raise the profile of establishments involved and acknowledge the pleasure given to all by London’s extraordinarily diverse range of restaurants.
(Image credit: www.alexmaguirephotography.com)

London has long been home to one of the globe's most diverse and dynamic gastronomic scenes. With new venues launching daily, the choices can be overwhelming – which is where the London Restaurant Festival comes in.

Serving up fun and interesting ways to discover the best eats the capital has to offer, the festival brings together an impressive roster of restaurants, with a range of bespoke menus, chef-hosted meals and more throughout October.

Perhaps the best way to experience the breadth on offer is to embark on one of the restaurant-hopping tours, which stop at five top establishments for tasting plates over the course of an afternoon. You can pick your cuisine – the Cicchetti Trail will take in Italian treats at Pizza Pilgrims, Vico, Fumo, Mel e Pere and Polpo, or you can join the Japanese Journey, visiting Shoryu, Bo Drake, Tonkotsu, Tokimeite and Chisou for a taste of the Far East. Prefer to spend less time travelling and more at the dining table? Opt for one of the tours taking in the best destinations in one locale – this year, they're shining the spotlight on Devonshire Square, Soho & Fitzrovia and Heddon & Regent streets.

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Another draw is the specially created menus offered by more than 250 restaurants, each designed to provide a great dining experience with the value to match. Ranging in price from £15 to £50, they span casual neighbourhood hangouts to Michelin-starred fine dining – think Cinnamon Club, Heddon Street Kitchen, Osteria and Hakkasan. For a more comprehensive culinary adventure, a select number of places offer bespoke tasting menus, ranging from £35 to £229, paired with drinks selected by Enotria & Coe, whose specialists will be on hand on the night. A highlight includes a 16-course kaiseki menu – a traditional Japanese dinner expertly matched with Suntory whisky to be served at Tokimeite on 27 October.

If you've overindulged, take some time out with the festival's film programme, showcasing some of cinema's most memorable celebrations of food in screenings limited to 35 people. The line-up includes Eat Drink Man Woman, Babette's Feast, Sideways and Big Night and tickets, priced £39, include a two-course meal at the Eastway Brasserie at Andaz before or afterwards, as well as the obligatory popcorn during the movie itself.


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