London’s Best Prix Fixe Lunch


It’s sometimes tricky to go out for a lunch or dinner in the capital. Some of its most exciting – and exclusive- restaurants boast a la carte offerings that are, if not necessarily financially ruinous, certainly in need of a deep breath being taken and a chat with a bank manager before they can be partaken of.

Yet before you start thinking about spending the equivalent of a week’s pay on dinner for two at somewhere fancy (champagne obligatory, of course), there are other options available for the cash-strapped but discerning. Virtually every restaurant in the capital has some sort of deal or offer (yes, even The Ledbury, although its £165 lunch tasting menu can only be described as ‘punchy’), and if you’re clever, and can visit the best places at the right times, you will reap the benefits accordingly. Here are three of our favourites…


Anyone with any serious interest in contemporary Chinese cuisine should know the work of Chef Chee Hwee Tong, who launched first Hakkasan and then the late, lamented HKK. He isn’t just a chef but an artist, someone whose cooking has deservedly won Michelin star after Michelin star, and few would bet against his latest venture, Gouqi, repeating the feat. Situated in a smart premises opposite Trafalgar Square, there are a riot of tasting menus and dim sum to enjoy if you’re in the market, including a five-course riot of crispy duck that has to be ordered 24 hours in advance.

We’re in for something altogether more unusual, however, and that is Chef Tong’s magnificent, comprehensive dragon afternoon tea menu, which offers a kind of miniature tasting menu of the restaurant’s specialities, all served up in bite-sized form, first savoury and then sweet.

Begin with the suitably regal quartet of dim sum, which include black truffle har gau and octopus dumpling (these are distinctly luxurious ingredients), served with a crisp glass of Henriot Blanc de Blancs, and then continue into the crispy iberico pork belly, the tenderloin beef with black pepper sauce served on sesame prawn toast and conclude with the drunken chicken roll, accompanied by an intriguing (and delicious) gin-based Mu Long cocktail, a riot of melon, yuzu sake and green tea essence.

The sweet aspect of the afternoon tea is, naturally, not neglected; the desserts are moreish and beautifully presented (this is a very Insta-friendly restaurant), and my favourite was the dragon’s kiss, a riot of yuzu and dragonfruit. This is sensational cooking, and a relative bargain (hence its inclusion here) at £78 per person; food this good is never going to be cheap, but this is a true delight.

For more information, and for bookings, please visit


A long-standing favourite of Arbuturian writers and readers alike, a visit to one of London’s premier steak restaurants is never going to disappoint. A recent trip to Hawksmoor Guildhall – perhaps the City’s finest purveyors of fine meat – was every bit as enjoyable as ever, not least thanks to the never-better drinks selection. An opening pair of Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew, the restaurant’s most famous cocktail, and the Hawksmoor Calling set the scene nicely, and then a couple of glasses of white Rioja, followed by a fine Primitivo, make for a most appealing lunchtime treat.

Yet it’s the two choices of lighter-on-the-wallet menu that justify Hawksmoor’s inclusion here. Avert your gaze from the Chateaubriand and fillet steak, and revel instead either in the set menu of £31 for three courses that will see you feast on potted beef and bacon, steak frites and the definitive sticky toffee pudding sundae, or instead try one of the new lunchtime specials, which are designed to be served quicker and to be priced as kindly as they can be.

These include everything from a fine flat iron steak, served with Café de Paris butter, to a delectable (although substantial) beefsteak pudding, which is served with mushy peas and mash and summons up the ghost of Dickens’s London in its consumption. You will leave replete and happy – and all, if you order sensibly, for little more cost than a deeply inferior meal in some soulless chain.

For more information, including details of Hawksmoor locations, please visit


Another Chinese restaurant, but this one’s offering something remarkable in its setting; thirty-odd floors up on The Shard, the views are breathtakingly dramatic, and on a clear day, they enable the luncher or diner to see all over London and beyond. None of this would matter if the food wasn’t up to scratch, but there are a range of menus here that enable the discerning visitor to take a tour of some of the kitchen’s specialties in the most awe-inspiring environment imaginable.

The set lunch is a bargain at £39 for three course, but the true aficionado will probably plump for the Azalea set menu, which weighs in at an apparently wallet-stretching £85 per person, but this does include a more than generous helping of some of London’s best crispy duck with pancakes, to say nothing of fine dim sum; the lobster dumplings are a must-try, but the crispy pork and yam variety are no slouch in the awe department, either.

Mains are exemplary – the crispy prawns seem to be rolled in something like cereal, while the beef fillet is spiced and diced to perfection – and a dessert of chocolate tart is a welcome corrective to the old adage that the weakest part of a meal in a restaurant like this is the pudding.

And if the Sicilian white wine that we had was pleasant rather than awe-inspiring, firstly we were sufficiently dumbstruck by the panoramic views not to need further intoxication, and secondly it was more than made up for by a couple of the cocktails that we tried, the Hutong Sour – a riot of Earl Grey distilled spirit and peach liqueur – and the fabulously named Comfortably Numb, which takes its Pink Floyd alluding-name and then melds vanilla-infused vodka with Sichuan pepper and chilli to make for a tongue-tingling treat.

The ‘Flavours of Hutong’ set lunch menu is £39 per person. For more information, and for bookings, please visit