Christmas Day doesn’t have to be punctuated by rows over who’s peeled the most parsnips or who’s turn it is to load the dishwasher. If the last 18 months have put you off cooking for the foreseeable future, we don’t blame you.
And, if you’re not with a big group of family or friends this year, that’s even more reason to go out and enjoy yourself somewhere new.
Indulge in a gorgeous traditional feast with all the trimmings, joy and conviviality while letting someone else do the hard work.
Or better yet, if you’ve never understood the point of turkey in the first place, go off-piste with an Indian-inspired fine dining feast, a Spanish take on festive classics, or a winter grotto 40 floors up. Here’s our guide to the best restaurants in London open for Christmas Day dining.
Michelin-starred chef Peter Joseph heads up this swanky Indian joint just off Sloane Square, where traditional Indian flavours are given the fine dining treatment. Kahani will be open on 25 December for a five-course feast, with spices from across the subcontinent providing a welcome twist on festive dishes. Expect smoked turkey with star anise, Somerset lamb with Rajasthani spices, and Christmas pudding with candied ginger glaze and masala tea ice cream, to name just a few. The Christmas Day tasting menu costs £90pp for 5-courses, plus a further £50 for the optional wine pairing.
1 Wilbraham Place, SW1X 9AE, kahanilondon.com
Duck & Waffle, The City
Shun tradition altogether and celebrate Christmas Day in the clouds at Duck and Waffle’s flagship 40th floor restaurant in the City. This year’s Christmas decorations are inspired by The Polar Express, with the whole place kitted out as a fairytale train station, and a backdrop of London skyscrapers twinkling around you. On Christmas Day, Duck & Waffle will offer its famous brunch menu from 8-11:30am, followed by a Christmas lunch set menu. Twists on firm favourites include a lobster cocktail, black truffle and wild mushroom risotto, as well as a classic turkey with all the trimmings. The Christmas Day menu costs £120 per guest, and £45 for children under ten.
110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY, duckandwaffle.com
Berners Tavern, Fitzrovia
Glitzy, ritzy and utterly hedonistic – this is Christmas at the coolest spot in town. Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton is the big name behind this historic-seeming restaurant, which has swiftly become one of London’s most sought-after restaurant reservations. The 14-person private dining room is perfect for a rowdy family affair, while couples doing an urban Christmas a deux can’t do much better than booking in for a long lunch here. The one-off Christmas Day menu will consist of contemporary British cuisine, all centred around seasonal winter ingredients, and the rest is a mystery.
10 Berners Street, W1T 3NP, bernerstavern.com
The Cadogan Arms, Chelsea
One of the King’s Road’s most loved pubs, the Cadogan Arms has that home-away-from-home feeling, promising a cosy embrace for anyone looking to create a truly traditional Christmas without any of the hard work. Open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the menu is mouth-watering: smoked salmon to start, scallops, terrines and winter veggies galore, followed by a traditional roast turkey, pre-dessert rhubarb and champagne granita and three different pudding options. There’s also bubbles on arrival, crackers on the table, and a seven-foot Christmas tree to complete the occasion. Be sure to check out the Cadogan Arms’ winter cocktails too: mulled wine, hot toddies and hot buttered rum with Irish coffee all make an appearance. The six-course Christmas Day menu and Champagne costs £200 pp.
298 King’s Road, SW3 5UG, thecadoganarms.london
Davies & Brook at Claridge’s, Mayfair
Not for the faint-hearted, the levels of decadence in this Christmas day lunch would leave even the most hardened Victorian glutton under the table. Davies and Brook at Claridge’s is laying on an indulgent six-course feast this festive season. Start with the signature caviar slice, scallops with clementine or foie gras brûlee, followed by a centrepiece roast turkey, beef fillet, or oyster mushroom with a rich black garlic ragout. True to tradition, a flaming Christmas pudding will be flambéed at the table to finish. The menu costs £395 per person, and includes a champagne and canapé reception, six-course menu and petit fours.
Brook St, W1K 4HR, claridges.co.uk
Three Michelin-starred chef Dani García brings Spanish cuisine from Andalucia to Shoreditch with his first London outpost, and it’s open on Christmas Day for parties of six or more. The menu includes roast lamb with potato purée, roasted vegetables, grilled baby gem and fries, and a dessert of torrija navideña (caramelised milk with a cinnamon-infused brioche). Oh, and did we mention you’ll be greeted with a glass of Veuve-Clicquot Brut Yellow Label and oysters with Iberico ham? A vegan menu is also available, making a welcome change from the customary nut roast with creative dishes such as grilled avocado with a pipirrana dressing, and arroz caldoso with shaved truffle. On Boxing Day, there’s also a bottomless tapas brunch with padron peppers and paella galore, which is not to be missed if you’re staying in town.
45 Curtain Rd, EC2A 3PT, sbe.com
MEI UME, TOWER HILL
Adding a dash of Japanese and Chinese fusion to proceedings, the Mei Ume team has dreamed up a truly special set menu for Christmas Day which strikes a balance between tradition (yes, there’s turkey, but no it’s not roasted) and innovation. Headed up by chef Tony Truong, there will be something to suit all palates: miso-glazed Japanese salmon with sesame seeds, Szechuan style crispy turkey in tempura batter, and a festive Christmas matcha roll. The one-off Christmas Day menu costs £98 a head.
10 Trinity Square, EC3N 4AJ, meiume.com