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The cost-of-living crisis is biting the hospitality industry hard. Even McDonald’s has increased the price of its cheeseburger. Dinner at a fancy restaurant may well be the first thing you dispense with in your bid to balance your books.

Before you rule out restaurants, though, spare a thought for the magicians whose craft has transformed our national restaurant scene in the last few decades. Next time a special occasion crops up, celebrate with dinner at a chef’s table, a culinary experience that you will never forget.

The Michelin Guide says: ‘Once a VIP perk for select diners, chef’s tables have moved from the clatter of the kitchen to private rooms and approachable counters where diners can watch the chefs at work.’ Here are the eateries up and down the country whose chef’s tables and tasting menus will blow your mind.

Dinner By Heston Blumenthal

Located in the swanky Mandarin Oriental in London’s Hyde Park, the chef’s table at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is a feast for all the senses. The team says: ‘For a behind the scenes dining experience, the chef’s table offers an intimate insight into the energy and activity of the kitchen.’ This fancy table is available for four to six guests. Expect to be taken on a quirky gastronomic journey through the ages, with dishes called things like ‘meat fruit’ and ‘pottage of quail’. Book it.

The River Cottage

You will only be told the exact location of the Chef’s Table at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage when you actually book the experience. A total of 12 guests can expect to indulge in seven delicious courses with wine pairings. The team says: ‘Over the course of the evening your chefs will explain the origins of the ingredients, walk you through the River Cottage kitchen garden and show you how the dishes have been devised to allow the quality and provenance to shine through.’ Book it.


From the Kitchen Table at this busy, exquisite Chinese restaurant in Victoria, you can watch the Michelin-starred Andrew Wong and his team as they make their magic. Working just centimetres away from you, they are on hand to explain their endeavours. GQ says: ‘A.Wong is warm, informal and extraordinarily good. The tasting menu is theatrical without being gimmicky (it takes three hours so give yourself time) and the à la carte is broad enough to make the best of Wong’s ability to bring traditional ideas to life in new ways. This is the Chinese food of your dreams.’ Book it.

Muse By Tom Aikens

This converted mews house in Belgravia has capacity for just 25 covers per sitting so you can’t help but feel rather exclusive just by being there. Furthermore, at both lunch and dinner, you can only opt for a seasonal tasting menu. As such, every table at Muse by Tom Aikens is a chef’s table – and the experience lives long in the memory. At 26, Tom became the youngest British chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars. The guy knows what he is doing. The Independent says: ‘The restaurant looks like Tim Burton and Fred Flintstone had some kind of love child that set up shop in Belgravia – that is, surrealist, prehistoric, terribly expensive and downright beautiful.’ Book it.


Situated in Edinburgh’s glorious New Town, Cadiz is the place where traditional Spanish cooking methods and local Scottish seafood combine. Hidden from the main restaurant but in full view of the kitchen, the chef’s table at Cadiz seats up to 14 and is a treat of a way to gobble up some of the finest seafood in Scotland. Book it.

Launceston Place

Tucked away in Kensington, this neighbourhood restaurant punches above its weight. Its modern European menu is always a pleasure. Book it for the slightest celebration but when there is a real milestone in the offing, go for the intimacy of the chef’s table, which seats up to 12 and promises a truly unique experience. Country & Town House says: ‘Altogether, along with the warm staff and relaxed atmosphere, Launceston Place is a real gem, elegant enough for a special occasion and low-key enough for weeknight dining (several times a week, if you’re that way inclined). One thing is for sure, it won’t disappoint.’ Book it.

By Becky Ladenburg
December 2022

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.