Hungry art lovers in London are being served in some of the city's most exciting new dining spots.
For years London's booming restaurant scene has felt disconnected from the sorry sandwiches and stale biscuits on offer in its museums, galleries and parks. Now a new batch of public-space eateries gives the traveller with an appetite for culture some long-overdue dining options.
Irish restaurateur Oliver Peyton has led a quiet revolution in the past decade with his cafés and restaurants in St James' Park, the National Gallery, Kew Gardens and the Wallace Collection. His latest is The Keeper's House, opened in October at the Royal Academy, the privately funded art hub in Piccadilly's 19th-century Burlington House. With a smart cocktail bar and intelligent cooking that champions seasonal ingredients, it's a destination in its own right, offering members all-day dining and public entry after 5.30pm.
Also opened late last year was The Magazine, a futuristic dining room in the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery, designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and part of the $26.8-million refurbishment of a 19th-century gunpowder store in Hyde Park. Chef Oliver Lange's Asian-meets-European menu is almost as eccentric as Hadid's UFO-inspired design.
It's not all about newcomers. The Rex Whistler Restaurant, opened in 1927, has been refreshed during the makeover of Tate Britain. Its wine list is one of the best in London and the revamped menu includes historical dishes, perhaps inspired by the room's mural, The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats.