As El Pirata and Planet Hollywood celebrate 25 years in London, we take a look at them and some other favourites in the capital marking some distinctive anniversaries.
A longstanding favourite in Mayfair, El Pirata is gearing up celebrations for its 25th anniversary – and today’s restaurant shows no sign of aging. Loyal locals and visitors love its authentic Spanish tapas menu, with favourite such as chorizo, fiery padron peppers, gazpacho Andaluz and Bellota jamon – with myriad types of seafood dishes such as Mediterranean prawns and calamari. It even offers a set tapas menu to make your choices easier. The ambiance here is truly magical, a mixture of Mayfair elegance with a cozy, friendly feel, plus superb service. There’s also an impressive selection of Spanish wines on the menu.
Hard to believe it was 25 years since dozens of Hollywood A-listers – including its investors, Sylvester Stallone, Buce Willis, Demi Moore and Arnold Schwarzenegger – thronged the opening of Planet Hollywood in Piccadilly, bringing the West End to a halt. It was almost as much of a showbiz event when the American restaurant celebrated its anniversary earlier this year with 1993 prices. But you don’t have to be a celeb to get some of that Hollywood razzmatazz. All ages will love the venue immersed in movie memorabilia and showbiz photos, with old favourites on the menu such as its iconic burgers, quality steaks and tasty pizzas.
The location of a venue adds much to its ambiance, and Coq d’Argent, celebrating 20 years in 2018, is loved for its rooftop terrace as much for its French specialities. Take a seat for lunch in this glorious restaurant and brasserie – in fact even in chillier months you’ll enjoy the covered and heated rooftop terraces. You’ll love its gardens and views of the City, where The Shard and St Paul’s Cathedral look so close you could almost reach out and touch them. Try delicacies such as 28 day dry-aged beef with black truffle, Burgundy snails in garlic butter, and grilled yellowfin tuna.
Hutong in The Shard
Is it just five years since Hutong opened? The Shard has certainly made a huge impact on London, not just because of its landmark, slender skyscraper but also because of the wealth of dining ventures it offers. Hutong, on level 33, brings the tastes of Northern China, capturing the traditions of the imperial palaces in its capital Peking. A stunning interior including red lanterns and hard-carved wooden gates comes with the added bonus of those extra-special views over London’s skyline and is perfect for a special occasion. Try its signature scallop and prawn wontons, roasted Peking duck, braised pork short ribs and crab with Sichuan chili.
A relative new kid on the block – in fact just a baby, celebrating its first birthday – Ella Canta brings authentic Mexican gastronomy courtesy of renowned Latin American chef Martha Ortiz. Housed in the InterContinental London Park Lane, the award-winning chef, haling from Mexico City, creates dishes such as sea bass ceviche, lamb shank barbacoa style, and 40-day aged strip loin with cactus salad. Ortiz famously blends her Mexican heritage with her food creation, bringing its folklore, colour and music to the fore.
London Restaurant Festival
Although it’s not specifically one venue, we are raising a glass to the London Restaurant Festival (1-31 Oct), a decade after it was first launched. Since then, this celebration of the capital’s culinary excellence has gone from strength to strength. You can discover Michelin-starred restaurants, take part n gourmet odysseys, chef-hosts events and tasting menu series, with participating venues including Helix at The Gherkin, Galvin La Chapelle and Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar. New this year are restaurant-hopping tours of Battersea Power Station and St Katherine Docks – home to some up-and-coming venues.