La Chapelle restaurant is a stunning chapel in London’s Spitalfields hollowed out and converted into an exquisite dining space. Tucked away off the main high street, it is small enough to stroll past unnoticed, but once inside, the building unfolds for the visitor into a spacious and graceful experience. Its insides make me wish I were a spider, so I could clamber my body close up against its walls and across the ceiling to absorb the building from as many vistas as possible. The cuisine holds up against this impressive space, provoking friendly humour and quirkiness amongst its inhabitants.
Miriam Sleeman, Executive creative director, The Reading Room
As a life-long vegetarian ’serious’ foodie restaurants are an anathema to me. For me, the main menu is always the company and the conversation, plus the pudding. For the past decade my regular haunt has been the Groucho Club’s brasserie. It is welcoming, conducive to long, leisurely evenings, the food suits me, it doesn’t have an ’in your face’ designed interior which I’m always suspicious of and the acoustics are better than most eateries where you have to shout to be heard.
Mike Dempsey, Founder, Studio Dempsey
As co-president of Meat Club London I can hand-on-heart say that restaurants for me are the same as websites it’s all about the content. Quality, over quantity. Function over form. I don’t want to be kept waiting. I don’t want a biblical menu of options. No hassle. Simplicity is key both for the restaurant, its menu, the service and the food. My favourite is Hawksmoor in London’s Spitalfields.
Steve Price, Founder and creative director, Plan B Studio
My favourite restaurant isn’t a flash, designery thing at all, just about good food. Several years back I went to Cuba and experienced the semi-secret world of the Paladares, privately operated restaurants officially allowed by the government to have only 12 covers and run strictly by family members. The portions are over-generous and the food is excellent (reputation means everything). Moreover, you know that your money goes directly to ’the people’ when you eat there. It’s a very social thing and you get to see inside real Cuban homes.
Derek Johnston, Co-founder, Family and Friends