It is a long-established tradition to take clients out to lunch or dinner. It’s a hell of a lot more fun than sitting in a stuffy office looking at Powerpoint slides.
It’s also a well-known fact that if you want to get to know a business acquaintance on a much more personal level then doing it over a meal is the way forward. Doing it over dinner is the best way as it’s more relaxed, it’s after work hours and everybody lets their guard down a little and, dare we say it, has fun!
Choosing the right venue is vital. You need to find somewhere different, somewhere exciting, somewhere perhaps even quirky. If the food and surroundings generate conversation then all the better.
As luck would have it, London has restaurants that tick all of the above requirements and more. Here are a few that we find the most inspirational for a business dinner.
Sushi Samba – Heron Tower
The location of this restaurant will blow your client away, simple as that. Situated on the 38th and 39th floor of the building, it enjoys 360° views of the city. The wow factor of this will score points with any client, regardless of the quality of the food to follow. Fortunately, the food is amazing too.
The cuisine is a fascinating mix of Peruvian, Brazilian and Japanese cuisines and the presentation and quality are excellent. This is high end entertaining so probably reserve it for your top clients, especially as the wagyu steak comes in at an eye-watering £1000.
Quaglino’s – St James’s
Known as Quags to its regulars, this is a particularly modern restaurant and one of the current places to be seen in the city. There are two private dining rooms if you want a little more seclusion but there are so many nooks and crannies in the place you’re unlikely to need them.
There’s a retro bar where you can enjoy classic and modern cocktails, and in the evening it turns into a more energetic atmosphere with live DJs pumping out house music. It will be loved by younger clients. It’s probably worth casually mentioning to them that it’s a favourite hangout of Prince Harry too.
1 Lombard Street – Bank
Pretty easy to find this one, but if you work in the Square Mile of the City, the chances are you would have heard of it anyway.
It’s situated in a Grade II listed building that used to be a bank and inside you’ll find that you actually have a choice of venues – The Lombard Street Brasserie, 1776 Restaurant and Dome Bar. The latter is great for an after dinner drink or for those of us who’d prefer to skip dinner altogether.
If you prefer your meetings first thing, then choose the Brasserie. It has an extensive and impressive breakfast menu available.
Boisdale – Canary Wharf
Thesqua.re has Canary Wharf apartments for rent so it knows all about the Boisdale. For everyone else, outside of the jazz-loving community, it’s a pretty well-kept secret.
The best way to describe it is as an old school gentlemen’s jazz club, where relaxing in armchairs, smoking cigars and sipping whisky is the norm. It always has a fantastic atmosphere, despite the venue being so huge.
It’s set over two floors, there’s a large stage, naturally, as well as a seafood bar right out of the top drawer. Recommendations? Jazz, lobster and steaks!
The Clove Club – Shoreditch
One of the best restaurants in the world, according to critics, and a must visit for all food lovers. If you’ve rented serviced apartments in Shoreditch then it’s right on your doorstep too.
A long term holder of a Michelin Star, this restaurant is found in the former Shoreditch Town Hall. The kitchen is on full display and the traditional high ceilings, wood panelling and blue tiles will take anyone back in time.
The menu itself, however, is most certainly from the present day. The lunch menu is generally set and the dinner is a tasting menu so you never quite know what you’re going to get. It will all be top quality, but probably not for the fussy client.
They have an extensive matching wine list for every course and also offer freshly made cocktails too.
Planet of the Grapes – Leadenhall Market
As the name suggests, probably one for the wine connoisseur as opposed to the foodie. However, the food is fantastic quality too as well as being frequently quite inventive. The offerings come from a full a la carte menu or for sharing platters – very handy for a full on business meeting.
The wine list, as expected, is extensive and can be ordered by the bottle or the glass, so the chance to sample several is there. The staff are also very knowledgeable about their wine too, great subject matter for filling in dips in conversation.