Autumn is bursting with colours and flavours. We've harvested the best menus from St James's and nearby West End restaurants to bring you this season's must-try dishes.
Sample the best of the season at Ikoyi where each dish is designed to celebrate fresh, sustainable British produce. Earthy flavours meet bright seasonal colours in its field pea, fig leaf and blackcurrant dish. Pair the tasting menu with a non-alcoholic Grisha cocktail – a crisp combination of gooseberry, pear and elderflower – could this be the most refreshing way to enjoy the harvest?
2. Heddon Street Kitchen
Is there anything more warming than a beef wellington? The Beef Wellington Experience at Heddon Street Kitchen is comfort food at its finest for £65 per person this October. Start with a cocktail and tangy starters before moving onto the main event: Gordon Ramsay’s signature beef wellington with truffle brie mashed potato and red wine jus. Finish with a platter of desserts and renewed ability to face these cooler days.
3. Papa L's
Celebrate the arrival of autumn with bold flavours, good music and great vibes at Papa L’s on Jermyn Street. Founder Lawrence Gomez, or Papa L, blends his African heritage with knowledge earned from over 15 years in London’s top kitchens to create this spot's famous African fusion cuisine. Try the chargrilled sea bass with sweet potato served three ways. Get set for cooler temperatures and treat yourself to a lemon and honey posset with warm cinnamon brioche to finish.
One of the first Italian restaurants in London, Franco's continues to draw locals and visitors with its classic Italian flavours and charm. Chase away the chill with piping hot venison ravioli and fragrant rosemary sauce. Or eat your way through seasonal hues with beetroot carpaccio with rocket and ricotta and pecan nuts.
Boost your energy and vitamin C levels after a busy summer with cauliflower. We love Locket's cauliflower fritters with peppery rocket and spicy yoghurt. Meat lovers will delight in the lamb shoulder served with vibrant seasonal vegetables.
6. Fortnum & Mason
Throw on your cosiest jumper and indulge your sweet tooth with Fortum & Mason's new hampers. Warm up with a steaming cup of toffee apple tea and crunch through the leaves – its Autumnal Chocolate leaves that is.The cinnamon and apple curd and damson, blackberry and apple chutney complete this seasonal spread.
If you're looking for pre-theatre dining, look no further than Avenue. Savour two courses for £25 or three for £30 from 12 - 6pm, Tuesdays to Fridays. Favourites from its set menu include the beef and caramelised onion soup, creamed tomato fregola and grilled aubergine caviar, and the spectacular baked cherry plums, soothing plum and chamomile sorbet and crunchy almond crumble.
Looking for brunch with a twist? Scully has harvested the best from this season to bring diners a feast for the eyes and the stomach – Koffman's blue potato waffle, avocado, yuzu and fresh green chilli kosho, seasonal tomatoes and pumpkin seed miso is a must-try. We'd also recommend the magnificent beef short-rib rendang with salted cabbage slaw.
Aquavit's hearty Swedish meatballs with lingonberry, pickled cucumber and mash provide a much-needed antidote to those chilly nights in London. Looking for a quick bite? Stop in for Aperitivo Hour and enjoy a dish and a drink for £15 from 4pm – 6pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays – perfect for after work catch ups.
Sharp beetroot and Granny Smith apple salad is perfectly balanced with Quaglino's creamy goat’s cheese mouse, hazelnut, and sorrel. Want something more substantial? Try the white asparagus risotto with smoked mozzarella, garden peas and shoots or richly spiced Magret duck breast with black cherry and seasonal red endive.
11. Aqua Nueva
Mark 'La Tomatina' festival on nearby Regent Street with the selection of new dishes at Aqua Nueva, bursting with ripe tomato flavours. No weekend plans? Take a tastebuds' tour of the Andalusia region with La Fiesta Brunch, every Saturday from £40 per person or £75 for 90 minutes of cocktails and bubbles – let's toast and start this season right.