Restaurants & Nightlife

5 MINUTE READ

London’s best booze-free pairings

Words by Georgie Young

08 January 2024

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Tasting menus don’t always need a wine flight – at these fine-dining restaurants, the non-alcoholic options are just as appealing.

It’s that time of year when words such as ‘Veganuary’ and ‘Dry January’ start doing the rounds again. If you’re signed up for the former, head to our roundup of London’s best vegan-friendly restaurants; if you’re doing the latter, keep reading.

This article is not a list of London’s best mocktails or zero per cent bars. Instead, it is a list of fine-dining restaurants that offer elite alcohol-free pairings alongside top-level tasting menus. We’re talking mocktails infused with flavours from the kitchen, sommelier-selected sparkling sodas that stand up to their alcoholic counterparts, and even teas and coffees selected to perfectly accentuate your dessert.

So, we’ve scoured the capital and found five restaurants that do all the above, all year long.

Kitchen Table, Fitzrovia

There are two names you need to know at Kitchen Table: James Knappett, the chef in charge of the daily changing menu, and Sandia Chang, the sommelier and co-founder behind the genuinely brilliant soft drink pairing. Her creations include a Forelle Pear (pear, French ex-Cognac oak chips, and pear verjus), Oyster Leaf & Samphire (oyster leaf, samphire distillate, and lemon sherbet), and Golden Beetroot (golden beetroot, Tellicherry peppercorns, and orange). They’re all served as part of the tasting menu spectacle on the restaurant’s 18-seat oak bar, which encircles the kitchen table itself.

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70 Charlotte St, W1T 4QC

Mauro Colagreco at Raffles London at The OWO, Whitehall

There’s a lot to love about Argentinian chef Mauro’s new restaurant (the Pablo Neruda poem served with the bread course! The deep red of the venison! The cheese trolley! etc.), but, with Dry January in mind, the temperance pairing by Director of Wine Vincenzo Arnese tops the list. Each serve has been designed to complement Mauro’s intricate (and ever-evolving) cooking – you’ll be drinking things like The Smokey Carrot (CROSSIP dandy smoke, carrot, and sea buckthorn) and The English Garden No-Tini (Seedlip 108, Everleaf Marine, and celeriac leaf).

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57 Whitehall, SW1A 2BX

Akoko, Fitzrovia

You probably know Akoko as the brilliant West African-inspired restaurant with warm terracotta walls and ‘60s-inspired pottery. But you should also take note of its soft drinks pairing, which is not just a January special but available year-round. On the menu: Chapman (a Nigerian drink mingling grenadine, orange juice, lime, and mint), pineapple tonic, and a scotch bonnet and lemon cordial. And lots of jollof rice – Akoko’s most celebrated dish.

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21 Berners St, W1T 3LP

La Dame de Pic, Clerkenwell

The London outpost of this celebrated French restaurant is led by la dame herself (Anne-Sophie Pic – the world’s most decorated female chef) and has been awarded two Michelin stars for its ‘tremendous’ attention to detail. This same attitude has been applied to its non-alcoholic pairing, which enhances the flavours of the tasting menu via steeping, steaming, smoking, and marinating. A tea sommelier and pastry chef have also collaborated to elevate the tea and coffee pairings – try it for yourself by ordering La Dame de Pic’s signature dessert, white millefeuille.

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Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square, 10 Trinity Sq, EC3N 4AJ

Sollip, Bermondsey

Simply calling Sollip a Korean restaurant would be a massive disservice, as would describing its alcohol-free pairing as just another soft drinks flight. The restaurant is a Michelin-starred spot in Bermondsey that mingles Korean and European techniques – a style also applied to its soft pairing. The spotlight here is on ingredients like sparkling tea, jocheong, and kohlrabi, each designed to either cut through or accentuate its twin dish.

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Unit 1, 8 Melior St, SE1 3QP

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