25 Apr 2019 04:22pm

Restaurant reviews: Institutions

Whether it’s a quick bite in between meetings or a full three-course affair, London-based institutions mix iconic surroundings with smart menus

Caption: No matter the meal, you'd be surpirsed what London institiutions have on offer


RIBA café
Marylebone, London

Situated on the ground floor of the Royal Institute of British Architects’ striking art deco HQ and a short stroll from Regent’s Park, this relaxing café is notable for its looks as much as its food. A good spot for a fine pastry and strong coffee before your next meeting. Or to take in an exhibition or a walk in the park.


One Moorgate Place Club
Chartered Accountants’ Hall, City of London

The basement at ICAEW’s iconic headquarters on Moorgate Place, London, has had a number of iterations in the past – most recently as temporary office space for staff displaced by the refurbishment of the beautiful Grade II listed building over the last three years.

ICAEW gave the basement a much-needed facelift and the latest incarnation was launched as One Moorgate Place Club in October 2018. With the use of some very clever lighting design, the room has become extraordinarily light and airy; it no longer feels like it’s in a basement and it seems to be twice as large as it was. There are plenty of comfy sofas to sink into and side spaces for more private conversations. There’s also Dominic, the Club’s resident mixologist, behind the bar, ready to regale visitors with his cocktail recipes, his elaborate stories and his happy hour; and overseeing everything from a (very) lofty height is Allan, whose grand title is member and client services ambassador.

The restaurant, which runs down the side of the room, offers fine dining at very reasonable prices for the City. The starters range from £5.50 for a burrata with heritage beetroots, to £11.50 for John Ross Jr smoked salmon and lightly toasted soda bread, and there are sharing plates as well, including the vegan mezze for two at £17.50.

Prices for main courses start at £11 for a pumpkin risotto with parmesan and basil while, at the top end of the menu, lemon sole, salsify, rainbow chard and samphire with chicken butter sauce will set you back £19.95. Other temptations include the south-west seafood salad, the lamb rump and the 45-day aged Lake District beef sirloin (the Club is launching a vegan burger this year). And that’s before you get to the short but sweet dessert menu, from which I can heartily recommend the sticky toffee pudding.

Although the Club is only officially open until 8pm, I am assured that Dominic will keep the bar going if there are enough people having a good time there (happy hour, which includes the classic bellini, is 5-7pm Monday to Friday). And at just five minutes’ walk from Liverpool Street, Moorgate or Bank Underground stations, there are plenty of options nearby if you wish to continue into the night.


Roux at Parliament Square,
Westminster, London

The brainchild of Michelin-starred Michel Roux Jr and head chef Steve Groves, Roux at Parliament Square gives traditional cuisine a contemporary take within the historic Grade II listed Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors building. Dinner starts from £59 per person. The venue also has a highly soughtafter panoramic roof terrace.