Been tasked with the tricky job of finding (and booking) the work Christmas party this year?
Well, we've done the heavy lifting for you by compiling 10 of London's coolest, most elegant and original dining spots (with a couple of traditional crowd-pleasers thrown in). Now all you need to do is email your colleagues for their menu choices (good luck with that...).
1. For the ultimate Christmas vibe
The Hideaway (£250 minimum spend per table of eight); find out more
Escape the city for a fairytale forest... Yes really. Set in the heart of a snow-topped forest of pine trees is The Hideway at The Winter Forest. Book a table, plan a bespoke menu of shared platters and drinks and enjoy your celebrations with table service under the stars. (Head to the Bar & Grill next door for post-dinner drinks and even book tickets for a festive film at the Tipi Cinema). Click here to reserve your tables.
2. For French cool
Aubaine (from £19.50 for two courses); see the full menu
With starters including confit duck, endive, winter leaves, pickled blackberry, toasted hazelnut, hazelnut dressing and lobster bisque; mains including black truffle tortellini and baked salmon in gingerbread crumb, crushed parsnips, orange and dill sauce, watercress, this is the grown-up alternative to turkey with the trimmings. And don't get us started on the desserts...
3. The original choice
Theatre Deli (from £1.50 for canapes); find out more
With a welcoming setting, the best espresso Martinis in town and delicious food, the Theatre Deli is the inspired choice for teams who like to do things with a little bit of artistic flair. Enjoy inspired festive canapes including goat's cheese and cranberry croustades; hot smoked salmon, lemon and beetroot on rye and mini mince pies with orange zest mascarpone to name a few.
4. For a relaxed vibe
Beany Green (sharing boards starting from £100 for 6-8 people plus bespoke packages); see the full menu
Beany Green are the go-to purveyors of sharing platters and tailor events to those who like their parties a bit more laid-back (that'll be the Aussie influence). With outdoor and indoor spaces overlooking the twinkling lights of Broadgate Circle (which also has live music on Thursday evenings in winter), they offer a massive variety of beer and butchery boards (think beef and harissa sausage rolls and charcuterie); bubbles and dips and more. They also do beautiful Asian- and French-influenced canapes and dining packages for £34pp. Hello simple life.
5. For something completely different
Comptoir Libanais (from £22.95pp); see the full menu
The best Christmas lunches are normally somewhere where you are guaranteed really tasty food – get that nailed and the rest will follow. Which is why Comptoir might not be the most obvious choice but is actually genius: their famous mezze will ensure large groups eat well – and together (no waiting for the veggie options to arrive 20 minutes after everyone else has been served).
With prosecco on arrival and tailored drink packages, your team can choose from shared beetroot hommos and fattoush salad, choose mains including grilled turkey kofta with spiced orange blossom cranberry sauce or baked aubergine and feta shakshuka (farewell nut roast) and puddings including rose and red berries chocolate cake. Kul 'am wa enta bi-khair
6. The Christmas party with trimmings
The Botanist (from £35pp); see the full menu
The Botanist takes Christmas very seriously – to paraphrase a well-known brand "This is no ordinary Christmas lunch". Three courses, crackers, carefully selected Christmas wines and a menu that features welcome canapes, the full works (Free range Lincolnshire turkey, chestnut stuffing, bread sauce, pigs in blankets, Brussels sprouts, goose fat roasted potatoes, roasting juices) plus Georgie Porgie’s Devonshire Christmas pudding, hot brandy custard (we tried some this morning and it's Christmas on a spoon). This could become a tradition....
7. For an Italian festive feast
Piccolino (deposit of £10pp); see the full menu
We're a little bit biased but Piccolino are offering organisers £25 and £50 credit for taking on the mammoth task of the annual Christmas gettogether – an idea we applaud. Plus they have exceptional prosecco and partnered wines to go with their comforting Italian choices (bruschetta, calamari, seabass, gnocchi with mozzarella, garlic and rosemary potatoes plus panna cotta with spiced over-baked plums). Salut!
8. Winter warmers Japanese style
Shoryu Ramen (from £30pp); see the menu
Whether you want cocktails complemented by Japanese bites or the full seasonal feast, Shoryu Ramen has you covered. For a sitdown dining delight featuring Takoyaki (deep fried octopus balls, japanese mayo, bonito flakes) or Yotsumi (goosnargh chicken with teriyaki glaze) plus Japanese beer and seasonal sake, this is the clever alternative to Christmas meals.
9. The proper East End Christmas
The White Horse (from £35 for 3 courses); see the menu
The White Horse is like a country pub slap bang in the metropolis – and also boasts some of the best food in East London. They also know their Christmas parties inside out. With that in mind you can choose from a drink space, sharing platters or the proper traditional dinner (spiced cider braised pork belly, Bramley apple purée, red cabbage and cranberries, anyone?). Head forth and nail a really fun British Christmas party.
10. Crab Tavern (from £27.50); set menu, canapes menu, tipples menu
Fancy something a bit different? For a vibrant seafood restaurant and bar that merges New York style with classic West Coast US fare, Crab Tavern is the place for seasonal celebrations with a cool twist. Whether you're catching up with a few friends or heading out with a crowd from the office, their selection of menus will helpfully suit whatever you need.