FOURty-eight Foodie Hours in London with Margot Janse

23 Oct 2014
3 min read
Chef Margot Janse of award winning restaurant Le Quartier Francais in South Africa reveals the four restaurants she’d visit for lunch and dinner if she had 48-hours in London…

“It’s hip-hop-and-happening and the flavours where just amazing!” — Margot Janse

Having been named Restaurant of the Year at this year’s World’s 50 Best awards in July, Gymkhana is first on Margot’s list for lunch if she had a 48-hour foodie layover in London.

Chef-restaurateur ’s commitment to Indian culinary tradition and refusal to tone down his cooking (spice that is) for the European palate has created one of the most striking and well-received Indian restaurants in recent years. With a menu of powerful yet precise dishes, including chicken butter masala and mushroom methi mattar pilau with black truffles and innovative cocktails such as Ooty Town Gimlet with rose and gin and The Sativus Soother featuring saffron (the world’s most expensive spice), spice bitters and grapefruit zest, it’s certainly top of our list, too…


“I’ve been to Roganic and LOVED it, so Fera is a must” — Margot Janse

Arriving at Claridges earlier this year in May, (L’Enclume, 2 Michelin stars) has had everyone’s heads turning to get a glimpse at his latest restaurant Fera’s stunning set-up and not to mention award-worthy menu. In fact, we’re not the only ones that think it’s worth a recommendation. Just 5 months after opening, Fera received a Michelin star from the Michelin Guide UK & Ireland 2014.

Ensconced within Claridges, the illustrious 5* hotel in the heart of Mayfair, Fera offers guests a real taste of Simon’s ingredient-forward food. It’s menu includes salt-baked kohlrabi served with cheese from the isle of mull; Dry-aged middle white pig, which Simon sources from a farm in Shropshire he’s forged a great friendship with over the years, he told us on a recent visit; and Cartmel valley smoked venison with pickled carrots, which he grows himself at his farm back in Cumbria. Divine!


“I went to Hakkasan on a trip to London in September for Alyn Williams’ ChefStock. I’ve been before and I’d definitely go again. I just can’t get enough of it!” — Margot Janse

Any self-confessed lover of Chinese food will have either been to London’s one Michelin starred Cantonese restaurant, Hakkasan, or have it close to the top of their list of restaurants to visit.

Headed up by chef , who is best known for his talent of presenting complex flavoured Cantonese dishes with a modern flair and bringing a freshness and vitality to Chinese food, Hakkasan certainly is an experience of Asian-inspired food to rival no other.

Hakkasan’s a la carte menu consists of ‘supreme special dishes’, such as braised dried whole abalone; traditional soups; exquisite fish dishes; small eats; meat dishes; vegetable dishes and dishes that have a poultry, seafood and tofu focus, among many, many others.

If you’re looking for something extra special, try one of Hakkasan’s Signature menus, which is sure to give you a complete taste of all the incredible flavours of Cantonese cooking.

The Square

“After Hakkasan at 4pm we zipped over to The Square for our booking at 7pm” — Margot Janse

What are the most important factors of consideration when searching for a truly memorable meal? Innovative food created by the most skilled professionals in the kitchen? Premium wine served by knowledgeable sommeliers that know their Mastrojanni from their Sauternes? And all in a setting of modern finishes and intriguing, abstract art? If this sounds like your perfect meal, The Square is just the tonic.

For almost 25 years chef ’s two Michelin starred fine dining eatery, The Square, has been dubbed as one of London’s very best restaurants, and the choice of restaurant for a final blowout meal for Margot on her 48-hour food binge.

The restaurant does haute cuisine with a modern flair like no other, with dishes such as Tartare of royal Windsor fallow deer with oak smoked beetroot, walnuts and truffle, along with Lasagne of Dorset crab with a cappuccino of shellfish and champagne foam making up its 9-course tasting menu (£115 per person, £185 with wine).

If in the likely event you find yourself unable to get a table, do try Philip’s other just as lovely outposts, The Ledbury (2 stars) in Notting Hill and Kitchen W8 and Sonny’s in Barnes — both a little less formal than The Square and The Ledbury, perfect for Sunday brunch weekend moseying.