Haute Living

Thanksgiving hotspots

From the Land of the Free to the heart of London, Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating all things Americana. Whether you’re a London-based U.S. expat, visiting pilgrim or just a darn tootin’ yankophile, here are some of our favourite places in town to dine at this Turkey day

Dirty Bones
Dirty Bones’ restaurants in Soho and Kensington are celebrating Thanksgiving 2015 in style with their upcoming ‘DIRTY FEAST,’ which will feature a trio of limited edition ‘thank-FULL’ specials available from Thursday 26 right through to Sunday 29 November. A two course sharing menu will include a group platter of Free range fried chicken, Jalapeño corn bread muffins, Creamy mac & cheese, Collard greens, Rosemary fries plus sage gravy for dipping. All this will be followed by chocolate ganache tart per diner with pumpkin pie gelato and pumpkin brittle plus you’ll also be able to order the Pardoned turkey cocktail with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, double cream, vanilla and cardamom syrup, finished with a ‘turkey’s crown’ of green apple and a cinnamon stripe. Mmmm. In addition, to celebrate Black Friday on 27 November, Dirty Bones will be offering a mega deal with an off-the-menu, bespoke cocktail priced at just 1p!

Big Easy
On Thursday 26 November, Big Easy will be serving the ultimate Thanksgiving feast - fill your boots on Butternut Squash Soup,  ‘farm to table’ herb roasted turkey with southern slow cooked gravy, Grandma Emma’s Apple cranberry chutney, sweet potatoes mash, green bean casserole and coleslaw. A slightly less traditional offer is the Lobster feast which, for an extra £10, includes a whole fresh lobster, whole lobster roll or whole lobster mac n cheese, served with fries and house salad! For dessert, look to the Key lime pie or homemade pumpkin pie.
It’s not just the food that will impress: Big easy’s interior – designed by Macaulay Sinclair of The Hawksmoor – is suitably industrious mixing copper conduits, brickwork, and steel and concrete girders to striking effect. All told this is a great place to go this Thanksgiving - only the hard hearted will fail to have fun.

Modern American restaurant, Avenue, will be celebrating the most important event in the US Calendar with a Thanksgiving platter. Created by new head chef James Hulme, the platter is made for two to enjoy and includes American classics with an Avenue twist such as Charred corn with red pepper and harissa, Chilli and buttermilk fried turkey, Glazed short ribs and mini mac and cheese. Priced at £25 for two and available in the restaurant and bar from 23rd-29th November, the Avenue Thanksgiving platter is, ahem, something to be thankful for!

OXBO Bankside
On Thursday 26 November, the recently launched Hilton London Bankside hotel will be serving a Thanksgiving Day dinner from 3pm-10pm at its OXBO Bankside restaurant.  Executive chef Paul Bates has created a mouth-watering traditional menu including Roasted Norfolk turkey with cranberry or chestnut stuffing and a Pumpkin, honey and thyme tart. Alternatively, for something different, try the Smoked duck breast and lychee salsa or New haven and south coast fish casserole.  The dessert menu offers a selection of tarts, trifles and pies, including all-time favourite warm apple tart with clotted cream, and polish it all off with a board of fine British cheese and homemade chutneys.  Nestled in the heart of London’s Bankside, OXBO Bankside serves innovative British cuisine with a global twist using supplies from specialist producers and local traders at Borough Market.  

Maze Grill Park Walk and Maze Grill Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea
Head chef Owen Sullivan will fly the red, white and blue as he cooks up a convivial feast that friends and family can share at maze Grill Park Walk and maze Grill Royal Hospital Road. Pass starters ‘round the table including grilled cheese and jalapeno cornbread with maple bacon butter, smashed avocado and sweet potato chips and buttermilk fried chicken with blue cheese and hot sauce. A large salt baked roast turkey will be served family-style in the centre of the table with sides of chilli, garlic and lemon collard greens, grilled corn on the cob with chimichurri dressing and smashed pumpkin with orange and lime. A dessert sure to sate sweet tooths is bourbon-soaked drunken Monkey Bread, flipped at the table for a dash of theatre, topped with silky vanilla ice-cream. 


Where to celebrate Thanksgiving

Looking for somewhere to celebrate Thanksgiving – aka America’s favourite holiday – this side of the Atlantic? Haute Living has the low-down on where to head for your fix of pumpkin pie, turkey and all the trimmings…

45 Park Lane
Dorchester Collection’s contemporary Mayfair hotel, 45 Park Lane is offering Londoners the opportunity to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving with a specially created menu at Wolfgang Puck’s debut European venture CUT at 45 Park Lane. Wolfgang Puck will draw on his Austro-American roots with a three course Thanksgiving menu featuring traditional dishes such as Roasted Pumpkin soup with cranberry quince compote and Roasted turkey with wild mushroom stuffing and braised greens. CUT’s desserts are also undergoing a festive twist – think Spiced pumpkin & vanilla baked alaska and Bourbon pecan pie.

108 Brasserie
108 Brasserie is celebrating Thanksgiving Day in true transatlantic style on Thursday 26th November with a special all-American menu including New England clam chowder, the time-honoured Turkey and homemade Pumpkin pie. Executive chef Russell Ford has drawn on his local suppliers to create an authentic Thanksgiving menu, using the finest British ingredients to create a meal worthy of ‘The Land of the Free’.
Guests can get in the celebratory spirit with a special Thanksgiving cocktail, the American Spice, a warming, autumnal mix of Maker’s Mark bourbon, Antica Formula vermouth, plum bitters, crème de cacao, homemade cinnamon syrup and Grand Marnier.

Q Grill
Celebrate Turkey Day in style at Chalk Farm’s acclaimed American barbecue restaurant where Lee Bull, executive chef at the Des McDonald Restaurant Group, has created a special seasonal menu. To start, opt for seasonal favourite, Roasted pumpkin soup with spiced cornbread, the House smoked goat’s cheese with apple and walnuts or Griddled shrimp with jalapeño grits, Deep South style. As well as Traditional Roast turkey with bone marrow whipped Yukon gold potatoes, squash and kale gratin, creamed corn and cranberry stuffing, diners can treat themselves to a Slow cooked highland short rib with sweet potato and burnt shallots or Truffled mac and cheese with foraged mushrooms a generous serving of pecorino. For dessert choose between two all-American classics: Chocolate, pumpkin and pecan tart or key lime pie.

Royal China
Royal China is offering a twist on traditional Thanksgiving dishes on Thursday 26 November 2015 to celebrate the US National Holiday. Expect flavours including Almond flavoured Pumpkin Soup with Crabmeat, Empress chicken with ginger and spring onion and Apple in toffee syrup served in all six Royal China locations ( Baker Street,Bayswater, Fulham, Harrow-on-the-Hill and Canary Wharf) as well as the flagship Royal China Club.

Savoy Grill,
At the iconic Savoy Grill, head chef Kim Woodward will serve a stellar five-course menu centred on a traditional Yorkshire turkey served surrounded by roast yams, cornbread stuffing, braised red cabbage and jus de rôti. Other dishes on the menu include pan-seared Cornish crab cakes, pear and ginger sorbet with cinnamon crumbs, spiced pumpkin pie with whisky maple syrup ice-cream and prune and Armagnac parfait with almond financier. Tea, coffee and petit fours will seal the deal and leave you in a real New York state of mind as you leave the stunning art deco styled surrounds.

New Opening: Lotus

Lotus satisfies Kaye Holland's longing for a fine dining, centrally located, Indian restaurant

Sometimes things not working out the way you planned is a good thing. Haute Living hadn’t planned to eat in Lotus – named for the national flower in India – but we left happier for having done so.

Although it’s a newcomer to the London dining scene (having only opened six weeks ago), on our Tuesday evening visit the venue was already heaving with well heeled types – and for good reason. The decor – all gorgeous dark grey walls and mirrors – delights in an area that’s famed for its fast food joints.


Once seated by charming staff such as Debbie (who will cluck and fuss over you throughout), unfold a napkin half the size of Texas and prepare to peruse the menu, while nibbling on the complimentary amuse bouches – think mini cups of spicy broth, popadoms and corn chaat golgappa – that magically arrive on the table.

The brainchild of head chef and manager Bhaskar Banerjee – who has over two decades of culinary experience, working as Chef d’Hotel for exclusive venues such as Marriott, Sheraton, Le Meridian and The Taj Group – the menu(a collection of signature dishes which combine traditional cooking techniques with imported Indian spices and fresh locally-sourced meat, fish and game), reads brilliantly. So much so that you want to order it all….

A starter of Aubergine and courgette flowers with stuffed green chilli and coriander mint chutney sent shivers down the spine of the vegetarian in our dining party while the Masala prawn, duck egg and green lentil wraps and Rabbit kheema with green peppercorns and missi roti proved two alluring options for carnivores. We also shared an innovative skewer – minced jackfruit, raw banana and coconut – which can be enjoyed either as a starter or a main.

Speaking of the latter, the Palak pudhina paneer (Spinach, coriander, fennel and mint scented sauce) had us purring with pleasure. Other good tasting mains include the Baghare baigan bharta (Roasted aubergine, tomato, spices, peanut and herbs), comfortingly Dal Maa Dumpukth (Black lentils simmered overnight with garlic, tomato, clarified butter and cream) and Babycorn jalfrezi (Stir-fried with onion, bell pepper and tomato) – all of which work well when accompanied with proper parathas or naans. The standout dish though is the British lamb shanks in khorma sauce served with 23 karat edible gold leaf (traditionally served to royalty to give them vigour in battle) – a real ‘wow’ dish both in terms of presentation and ensuing taste explosion – if ever there was one.

For the wine list, head sommelier Debbie Henriques, who counts Hotel du Vin, Claridges Hotel and Gary Rhodes’ Rhodes in the Square among her 20 years of experience, has worked in conjunction with wine consultant Jimmy Smith AWE of The West London Wine School, to create a carefully matched set of fine wines, premium spirits and craft beers. There is also a unique cocktail menu (designed to not only be delicious but also have medicinal qualities) for cocktail aficionados.

Chances are you won’t have room for dessert (portions are big and complaints are rare) but try and save space for the moreish Mango shrikhand (Fruit salad, jaggery and coconut cream) – aka addiction on a plate. Alternatively end with a well made coffee served in elegant crockery. 

Overall, Haute Living would definitely sing Lotus’ praises. The Indian fare here is far superior to its competitors in the capital, as is the service: staff have that spring in their step that is the hallmark of a well-run restaurant and service is friendly and efficient without being overbearing. Essentially this is a salubrious Charing Cross Road restaurant that really is too good to leave just to tourists and theatregoers.

Bar of the month: Bourne and Hollingsworth



Descend down the stairs to this prohibition-inspired speakeasy and you’ll find one of Fitzrovia’smost original looking bars – think floral wallpaper, lace tablecloths and mismatched furniture all of which combine to make it look a little like someone’s living room.

The clientele is mixed and made up of tourists, locals, businessmen and those who want to be deemed trendy, for Bourne and Hollingsworth is very much a place to see and be seen.

During the week you should be able to bag a stool or sofa – the perfect place to catch up over a cocktail or two – with ease, but come the week-end seats get snapped up early in the evening. Later on the tiny space is primarily made for body bopping (there's always an event going on) with the lights down low.


The bar is superbly stocked although the emphasis is on gin based, jazz aged cocktails served in tea cups. The Goose (Fresh lemon juice combined with vodka and Chilean pisco, brought to life with a syrup of gooseberries and elderflower cordial) gets our vote. Other good tasting cocktails we tried include The Gatsby (vodka, pomegranate syrup and raspberries shaken and lengthened with champagne) and the Old Fashioned (seasoned bourbon, rum or smokey mescal, stirred with house bitters, finished with orange and lemon zests) - both delivered at breakneck speed by the personable Paul.

Essentially this quirky Fitzrovia hideaway isn’t to everyone’s taste - much like marmite, you’ll either love or hate -  but it certainly sparks conversation.

Bar of the month: American Bar at The Savoy

For cigars and sophistication, the famous American Bar – with its white ceiling, Terry O’Neill monochrome portraits and art deco decor – is where it’s at.

The menu boasts a long list of tipples for the discerning drinker to choose from, but cocktails – including several classics created by Harry Craddock (head bartender back in the 1930s and the man behind Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book aka the bartender’s bible) – are undoubtedly the specialty.

All of the cocktails have ‘a story’ and the encyclopaedia sized menu is beautifully presented, meaning there’s a tendency to sit and read all the entries like a child absorbed in a Harry Potter novel. Fortunately, for the indecisive, staff (ask for Alice) know their business and if you want advice on what to drink, you’ll get it with enthusiasm.

Haute Living can vouch for the Moonwalk (£19) – an intoxicating combination of Grand Marnier, Champagne, orange flower water, grapefruit bitters and sugar cube. Created in the sixties by then head bartender Joe Gilmore, the Moonwalk was named after the successful moon exploration in 1969 and the drink was the first thing to pass the lips of the Apollo 11 crew once they had landed safely and exited the shuttle! Neil Armstrong even sent a personal letter to Joe thanking him for the gesture…

The Green Park (Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup, fresh basil, egg white and celery bitters) also gets our vote. This fresh gin cocktail – named after one of the Royal Parks of London – has been created by current head bartender Erik Lorenz (a former recipient of the Best International Bartender trophy at the coveted Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards) and aims to remind us of the greener and lighter days that can be had in the capital.

Elsewhere elegant platters of nibbles like nuts and olives magically materialise and act as the perfect accomplishment to the lovingly crafted cocktails. Factor in attentive service, a strict door policy (sportswear is banned) and a fabulous pianist and you’ve got a luxurious and discreet drinking destination that makes for an elegant escape hatch from the hustle and bustle of The Strand.

Why go there? For a pre or post dinner drink or to escape the maddening crowd.

American Bar at The Savoy, Strand, W2 (020 7836 4343). Open Mon-Sat 11.30am-12 midnight; Sun 12midday-12 midnight.