Boxing Day in London - Restaurants
|Inn the Park: a Christmas special in St James's Park|
1-York & Albany
Sadly fantastic Angela Hartnett will not be at her fabulous Murano this Christmas, but you can enjoy her cooking at the Anglo-Italian chef's wonderful new Regent's Park boutique hotel fashioned from a John Nash coaching inn. Enjoy red-leg partridge with curly kale and truffle chips or fried duck's egg with field mushrooms, Jerusalem artichoke and parmesan; top nosh for the dosh.
York & Albany, 127-129 Parkway, London NW1 (020 7388 3344;www.gordonramsay.com)
2-Marco Pierre White at the Yew Tree
The Master has long had a talent for pulling, but on Boxing Day you can see him putting this extraordinary talent to broader use as he pulls pints while serving behind the bar. "Christmas Day and Boxing Day are the two most crucial days in the publican's calendar," our celebrity pub landlord tells me. With its plush banquettes and curtains of deep green satin the Yew Tree is imbued with the spirit of Christmas. Three-course lunch for a bargain £25 including partridge and Marco's great game pie: suddenly MPW thinks he's Father Christmas. This could seduce anyone.
Yew Tree Inn, Hollington Cross, Andover Road, Highclere, Nr Newbury, Berkshire (01635 253360)
3-Inn the Park
A crunch-tastic Christmas special at this Oliver Peyton haunt: a light brunch menu to recover from the day before with eggs Benedict, roast beef and a glass of bucks fizz for £22.50. Going cold turkey, metaphorically speaking, was never such fun. While gazing out through vast glass walls over the duck lake you might even draw closure on the trauma that was the beige hand-knitted cardigan from Father Christmas.
Inn The Park, St James's Park, London SW1 (020 7451 9999;www.innthepark.com )
4-Le Pont de la Tour
The restaurant might seem stuck in time, back in an age of hope for progressive politics when the fresh-faced Blairs dined there with the Clintons; but mouldy though that dinner now seems, it is still a mighty romantic restaurant looking out over the Thames.
Le Pont de la Tour, 36d Shad Thames, Butlers Wharf, London SE1 (020 7403 8403; www.danddlondon.com)
This is one of the most beautiful restaurants I've eaten in all year. The RAF holed up in this virtual palace during the war, and you can still picture flying aces twirling their mustachios while staring out towards the Thames and wondering if they will see another Christmas. Fine, formal dining and after the second G&T you'll hardly even notice the low drone of your in-laws as they swoop for their next attack. Traditional three course buffet £62.50, £29.50 for children.
Danesfield House Hotel & Spa, Henley Road, Marlow-on-Thames, Bucks (01628 891010; www.danesfieldhouse.co.uk)
Scene of one of my most sumptuous dining experiences of the year, with a great hall of such regal splendour you could be forgiven for rising at the luncheon table and delivering your royal Christmas message to a grateful nation. A three-course lunch with petits fours from Nigel Godwin's excellent kitchen for £49 a head.
Fawsley Hall Hotel, Fawsley, Near Daventry, Northamptonshire (01327 892000; www.fawsleyhall.com)
7-The Yorke Arms
Even Scrooge would take a more benign view of the world gazing across a vast lake from a windswept hillside, knowing the most imaginatively quirky Frances Atkins lunch awaits after drinks before a crackling fire. Hot food, hot fires, hot waitresses: what's not to like about Christmas? The works for £30.
The Yorke Arms, Ramsgill-in-Nidderdale, Pateley Bridge, near Harrogate, North Yorkshire (01423 755243; www.yorke-arms.co.uk)
Going Oriental is a cunning option for Christmas-phobes. This is beautifully presented nouvelle Asian cuisine featuring Beijing duck carved at your table that will soon have you cursing Henry VIII for first getting us into turkey. Wow, the views of London. Being next to Hyde Park you can feed some of the ducks to fatten them for your next visit to Min Jiang.
Min Jiang, Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington High Street, London W8 4PT (020 7361 1988; www.minjiang.co.uk)
If I was holed up in Guantánamo I can't say I'd be too full of the joys, but if the canteen was run by Amaya I don't think I'd be pressing too hard for early release. Posh Indian using subtle sauces over the finest lobster or beef, this is one of my favourite restaurants. An Australian cousin comes to London just to eat at Amaya. Seafood and kebabs.
Amaya, Halkin Arcade, Motcomb Street, London SW1 (020 7823 1166; www.amaya.biz)
10-Gordon Ramsay at Claridges
Gordon himself will probably be too busy rustling up a quick 12-part miniseries on Boxing Day to cook for you personally, but you'll be in capable hands. He may have as many restaurants as we will have baubles on our Christmas tree but this is still palatial cooking in a palatial setting. Three course lunch: £70. Ballottine of foie gras or ravioli of tiger prawns and salmon: yum.
Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, Brook Street, London W1 (020 7499 0099; www.gordonramsay.com/claridges)
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H/T Telegraph UK