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Top choices from the London Restaurant Festival

BY Boon Koh
Published 5 October 2009

London Restaurant Festival 09 Launch The London Restaurant Festival is a celebration of good food, with many of the top chefs and restaurants in London supporting it. Over the few days between the 8th and 13th October, restaurants in London will be creating special dishes and menus at discounted prices for food lovers to sample.

Below are our hand-picked cream of the crop restaurants and offers for this year’s London Restaurant Festival:

1) The Big Roast

This has to be at the top of the list for any self-respecting man! A giant Sunday roast being held in Leadenhall market, topped off with gin and tonic. A host of famous chefs will be cooking, including Mark Hix, Rowley Leigh, Richard Corrigan and Fergus Henderson. A whole range of meats have been sourced from Whole Foods Market, including cuts of beef, lamb, wild roe deer, game birds, Tipperary pig, and quail. These meats will be served with gravy, roast vegetables, and pudding cooked by the Chamberlain’s restaurant at Leadenhall Market.

The best news of all is that The Big Roast is running a Bring your own (BYO) policy, so you save money on the drinks by bringing your favourite tipple or wine!

Tickets are available and are rather reasonable given the special occasion and the host of celebrity chefs. They are £50 per person if you want to a table closer to the open-air kitchens and see the chefs up close, or £40 for a table further away (hopefully not in a corner!).

2) The Gourmet Odyssey

If you value your time or just don’t have enough of it, this is the perfect dining experience! Instead of having to decide which of London’s top restaurants to go to, you can join one of four restaurant tours on the Saturday 10th October, where you will be ferried between different top restaurants for your starter, main course, and dessert. The four different itineraries are as follows:

Theo Randall Chef Kitchen Piccadilly Gourmet Odyssey
Starter: Nobu
Main Course: The Square
Pudding: The Greenhouse

Soho Gourmet Odyssey
Starter: Maze
Main Course: Hakkasan
Pudding: Quo Vadis

Pall Mall Gourmet Odyssey
Starter: Sake No Hana
Main Course: Hibiscus
Pudding: Wild Honey

Park Lane Gourmet Odyssey
Starter: Theo Randall
Main Course: Corrigan’s Mayfair
Pudding: Scott’s

Each of the four itineraries include a champagne at the start at Met Bar, and include transport on a London Routemaster between all four places! However, it doesn’t come cheap at £135 + booking fee.

3) Eat Film

Ever watched a film and felt your stomach grumble at the delicious food in the movie? Now you can satisfy that hunger by eating exactly what was served during the film! Eat Film takes several modern and classical movies, and combines that with a top class meal that replicates what the stars ate. There is one for the family favourite movie Ratatouille (no surprises what food you will get!), but for me the most interesting movie out of the lot is Julie & Julia. What could be more fitting than a movie about good French cooking? The movie is being shown on Sunday 11th October at the Charlotte Street Hotel, followed by a three course meal at the same hotel. The menu is cheese soufflé, beef bourguignon, and reine de saba!

The whole experience is priced at £48.50.

4) General dining

If you don’t feel like spending so much for food and just want some good grub in your tum, there are many restaurants who have signed up to offer special 2 or 3 course meals at special prices throughout the week. Most can be found and booked through TopTable, although be careful because I have spotted some restaurants offering a “special” menu, which really isn’t that much different from their regular menu and not that much cheaper either! But there are some good bargains and it is a good opportunity to try out some top restaurants (even some Michelin starred ones) for a good price.  You can also search for the participating restaurants on The London Restaurant Festival website.