It was not so long ago that Soho was known mainly for its seedy nightlife, late night bars and interesting characters. In the last few years there has been a renaissance in Soho and now the area offers some of the best cuisine in the whole of London. Many of the restaurants don't even take reservations at lunch time, as they are safe in the knowledge they'll have queues outside as soon as the lunch rush begins. It's now a place where lunch culture has been re-defined; gone are the days when diners would have to make do, things in Soho are looking up. Here are the top 6 places to dine.
A newcomer to the ever-burgeoning, ever-changing Soho dining scene, The Palomar offers something new and exciting in the form of a 'modern Jerusalem' restaurant, which celebrates the cuisine of Israel, Palestine and North Africa. Tucked away on the China Town side of Rupert Street, the action at lunchtime centres around the long open kitchen where diners can sit at the bar and watch the magic unfold.
LUXOS Recommends: The signature dish of polenta Jerusalem style
The Palomar, 34 Rupert St, London W1D 6DN
Tel. +44 (0)20 7439 8777
It would be impossible these days to write an article about Soho Lunches without mentioning Russell Norman's Polpo restaurants, which have now started popping up all over town. The original on Beak Street still throngs with activity every day; almost five years after opening there are still sometimes queues to get into the building. The stylish, pared back mix of Downtown New York and Venetian bacari has proved an enduring success.
LUXOS Recommends: Cured pork and pickled pepper pizzette
Polpo Soho, 41 Beak St, London W1F 9SB
Tel. +44 (0)20 7734 447
Bocca di Lupo mean 'the mouth of the wolf' in Italian, a colloquialism used to wish someone luck. Jacob Kennedy's startlingly good restaurant offers a close and often inspired look at the regional specialities of Italy's fecund dining traditions. Bocca di Lupo could be described as the original Soho 'small plate' restaurant, with almost every dish on the menu available as a small tasting plate. Here, the food, wine and stylish setting come together to provide a memorable dining experience.
LUXOS Recommends: Roast suckling pig
Bocca di Lupo, 12 Archer Street, London W1D 7BB
Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 2223
One of Soho's most loved and longstanding dining rooms, Arbutus wows with seasonal cooking, creative dishes, a serious setting and sophisticated service. A stalwart on the district's fine dining scene, the working lunch menu at Arbutus is an edit of the best – locally sourced, faithful creative dishes in a no-nonsense setting, in this smart, self-described bistro deluxe.
LUXOS Recommends: Slow-cooked Welsh Elwy Valley lamb breast with sweet breads, English peas, goat's curd and baby gem
Arbutus, 63-64 Frith St, London W1D 3JW
Tel. +44 (0)20 7734 4545
London was hot on the heels of the U.S. in bestowing its denizens with the wonder of Peruvian food. The forerunner at the time that Latin America's leading cuisine was catching on in the U.K. with the opening of restaurants such as Lima and Coya, Ceviche has a splendid selection of raw fish dishes to choose between enveloping sensational Nikkei marinated razor clams, sea bass and spider crab meat in its recipes, washed down with classics from its pisco bar. On the run? Grab a table at the counter and watch the action unveil.
LUXOS Recommends: Black Kingfish Tiradito
Ceviche, 17 Frith Street, London W1D 4RG
Tel. +44 (0)20 7292 2040
This open-to-all offshoot of the Soho House Group is the go-to for savvy diners, business lunches, people watching and respite away from the madding crowds. Simple, pleasing brasserie dishes such as steak frites and Gressingham duck with chicory draw London's most switched on crowd who dine amid works by the finest UK artists – Paul Noble, Tracey Emin and Matt Collishaw – and vintage furniture, cut glass chandeliers and the kind of service you wish you could take home.
LUXOS Recommends: Fish and chips with mushy peas
Dean Street Townhouse, 69-71 Dean Street, London W1D 3SE
Tel. +44 (0)20 7434