Not being loaded doesn’t mean you can’t eat Michelin-starred food — plenty of places offer quite reasonable lunch-time menus. It just means you might have to skip work to take advantage. Freelancers, part-timers, shift workers, those with flexible lunch hours, and sick-day takers, this one’s for you. In no order other than alphabetical...
Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester
One of only two Michelin-three-star establishments in London (the other being Restaurant Gordon Ramsay), this Park Lane hotel restaurant is unashamedly French and unsurprisingly expensive. Weekday lunches cost £55 for 3 courses from a set menu and includes two glasses of wine, coffee, half a bottle of water and treats such as amuse-bouche and petit fours. Three courses at dinner will set you back £85 before you’ve even added drinks.
Chef Anthony Demetre presents fine dining with a more casual edge than many in this list, and with lunch coming in at just £19.95 for three courses, Arbutus could be the cheapest Michelin meal you’ll find. There are, however, only two choices for each course, so not one for the picky.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
It became one of London’s best known and most-booked restaurants within days of opening not far off three years ago. Since then, Dinner has won not one but two Michelin stars and been voted the 7th best restaurant in the whole wide world. To grab a three-course lunch for £38 is pretty good going considering, especially when you find out that it includes extras such as amuse bouche, a palate cleanser and petit fours.
Galvin at Windows
Another Park Lane hotel restaurant, Windows is a favourite with almost all London’s big-name restaurant critics. Set atop the Hilton, it is also privy to incredible views across Hyde Park and beyond. Weekday lunches cost £25 for 2 courses or £29 for 3, the latter would set you back more than double (£68) in the evening.
Helene Darroze at The Connaught
Helene is one of the first ladies of cooking in London at the moment, and there could be no classier setting than The Connaught, which makes the £35 three-course menu a real snitch. Just be aware that it’s aimed primarily at busy, important, expense account yielding business types rather than foodies, so they will try and hurry you through in an hour or so.
Known for simple French cooking with some modern twists, Michelin-two-starred Hibiscus made the headlines not so long ago for chef Claude Bosi’s twitter war with a blogger, but this deal is newsworthy in itself. Three courses, half a bottle of wine, coffee and petit fours cost £49.50 on weekday lunches, or you can grab a main, a glass of wine, coffee and petit fours for £24.50.
Pierre Koffmann is a legend among restaurateurs, and this place is a favourite of chefs including Ramsay and Blumenthal as well as various members of the royal family. The lunch menu doesn’t hold back, with classic, hearty French fare all the way, and at £39 for three courses plus two glasses of wine this is among the best value deals for drinkers, too.
Currently voted the 13th best restaurant in the world and the 2nd best in the UK, The Ledbury could be considered London’s top restaurant. Once you know that, three courses for £35 suddenly sounds like something of a steal. All the more so when you know that the same thing (with more options to choose from, admittedly) would set you back £80 a few hours later.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
This Chelsea institution or the man behind it needs no introduction, really. It’s been out of the limelight for years, but that’s probably because it’s among the hardest restaurants in the capital to get a table at. Three courses for £55 isn’t the best lunch deal you’re going to get, but when you consider it’s Ramsay, it’s got three Michelin stars and you have a chance of getting a table, then it has some real appeal. Three courses at dinner come in at £95.
This Mayfair restaurant headed up by Philip Howard sits at the modern edge of classic fine-dining, and has won two Michelin stars for it. The set lunch is £37.50 for three courses (it would cost £90 in the evenings) and as an added bonus for those who work, you can take advantage of this deal on Saturdays, too.
Any other suggestions? Tried this and have an opinion? Let us know in the comments below.
This article is part of our Best of London Food and Drink series. Visit the page for more recommendations of where to enjoy the capital's top food and drink, categorised by cuisine, food type and more.