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United Kingdom

Mr Porter Eats

Eight Deal-Sealing Restaurants

At these business-appropriate eateries lunch or dinner is a win-win situation

You may be a star in the boardroom, you may have a great e-mail manner, but sooner or later in all business, you have to face facts: people are more pliant outside the office. Especially if they’re being fed. Taking someone to lunch, or even dinner, is therefore not just an excuse to try out a new place on the company’s buck (that’s just an added extra), but a means of improving relationships, getting to know a colleague, client or investor and, crucially, helping them to see things your way.

However, choosing a venue for such meetings is not always easy – there are a lot of factors to consider. The food should be high quality, but not too fancy. No one feels very business-like snorting lines of asparagus cocaine or coughing through a cloud of candy-floss flavoured smoke. The service should be impeccable but unobtrusive – it’s a power lunch, not a date. And, because you don’t want the whole world hearing about your next big idea, there should be plenty of options for intimate (or even private) dining. If you’re having trouble finding such spots, fear not – MR PORTER has done some of the work for you. The following eight addresses, picked from around the world, represent the very best environments in which to eat well, make deals and flash the company card this 2015.

LONDON: Portland

  • The ground-floor space at Portland is both minimal and comfortable

An assured success as soon as it opened this year, Portland could be an unofficial canteen for the BBC – such is its popularity with execs from nearby Broadcasting House on Portland Place. The ground-floor space is both minimal and comfortable, with banquette seating down one side, and an open kitchen; the welcome is informal, yet service is impeccable. Show-off wine ordering is facilitated by co-founder Mr Will Lander’s reserve list, which might feature a single bottle of Mas de Daumas Gassac blanc 1996, or three bottles of the best Château Musar they’ve ever had.

  • Modish and light dishes add to the up-market canteen feel

What to order
Start with the pickled shiitake, if they’re on. Then the rump cap tartare with anchovy mayo and bonito; and cod with ponzu. It’s easy to go vegetarian, via dishes such as charred brassicas, smoked egg emulsion, soy and truffle.

Who to know
Mr Lander, talented son of the impossibly talented wine critic Ms Jancis Robinson, and co-owner of the much earthier Quality Chop House in Farringdon.

What to wear

  • Hackett Unstructured Windowpane Check Linen Blazer

  • Valentino Slim-Fit Wool-Blend Trousers


  • Hawksmoor’s slick, no-fuss atmosphere lets the food – and you – do the talking

London’s city slickers have long patronised Hawksmoor for its excellent steaks and slick, no-fuss atmosphere, but now Manchester has a branch to call its own, with its own menu, and cocktails such as the Deansgate No. 2, named in honour of the listed building’s location. The Edwardian interior, big enough for a 130-cover restaurant, with 40 in the bar, is lent a vintage feel by reclaimed parquet, glazed bricks from a Nottingham factory and oak panelling from a Birmingham school. For those crucial negotiations the glass-doored 14-seater private dining room offers a little extra privacy but what will really get the blood racing in the run-up to the final handshake is the menu, including, of course, the steaks – from 55-day-aged rump to bone-in prime rib, which come from ethically reared native cattle – and range of fresh, modern British dishes.

  • It’s not all meat on the menu at Hawksmoor

What to order
Among dishes newly created for the launch are veal rump with fried oysters; and the poutine barm, a Manc-meets-Montreal chip butty (sandwich) served with extra gravy for dipping.

Who to know
The ridiculously nice reservations manager Ms Lucy Noone, who previously worked at Almost Famous.

What to wear

  • Thom Sweeney Blue Weighouse Wool Suit

  • O'Keeffe Manach Leather Monk-Strap Shoes


  • Sumptuous silks and marble pillars make an impressive backdrop to LiLi's famous deal-making history

Very dramatic, swagged gorgeously with giant blue silk tassels (the biggest ever produced by Declercq Passementiers), and replete with green marble pillars and a Chinese opera headdress made from 33,000 crystals hammered into Perspex, LiLi is the spectacular restaurant at Paris’ Peninsula hotel. Its deal-making potential is secured by its selection of cosy booths for tête-à-têtes and round tables for group meetings, which are fastidiously orchestrated by extremely courteous staff. There’s also the fact that The Peninsula (or The Hotel Majestic, as it was known then) served as the headquarters for Unesco between 1946 and 1958 – more than a few historic agreements were made here, then. The restaurant is advertised as high-end Cantonese, but there is no shortage of fiery Szechuan fare on the menu, if you like it hotter.

  • Barbecued Iberico pork glazed with malt sugar is sure to sweeten any negotiation

What to order
Dim sum; wonton soup; shredded chicken and jellyfish with melon; sliced barbecued Iberico pork glazed with malt sugar and roasted duck Cantonese-style; wok-fried blue lobster with ginger and spring onions.

Who to know
Sleekly suited host Mr Christophe Wong, who combines a deep knowledge of hospitality with Chinese roots and Parisian suavity.

What to wear

  • Lanvin Black Attitude Slim-Fit Wool Suit

  • Berluti White Cotton-Poplin Shirt


  • East meets West at trendy Taiko

Trained in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, Mr Schilo Van Coevorden went on to cook in Dubai and across Asia for Hyatt, then came home to Amsterdam, where he is putting his globetrotting small-plates style to good use at the Conservatorium Hotel. Taiko is a trendy-feeling bar/ lounge and a brasserie, divided by a row of trees soaring up from the hotel spa, with a live taiko drummer providing beats nightly (the thundering rhythms of which should help to move things along if your prospective co-signee is stalling). Chef Van Coevorden delights in straddling two cuisines and offering the most high-end produce from both local and Asian suppliers. There is a sake sommelier, as well as a list of fine champagnes.

  • Delicious morsels are accompanied by the finest sake and champagne

What to order
Hamachi sashimi with black truffle; salmon tataki with orange sorbet; tuna tartare with caviar; har gau dumplings with XO and truffle; then entrecôte of Japanese Wagyu or Dutch MRIJ beef.

Who to know
Sharp-dressed Dutch/ Japanese restaurant manager Mr Tosao Van Coevorden, who flew over to Tokyo for a stint to prepare for Taiko.

What to wear

  • Boglioli Blue Slim-Fit Wool-Blend Travel Suit

  • Dunhill Bourdon Leather Briefcase

LOS ANGELES: Faith & Flower

  • Faith & Flower’s semi-circular booths make for comfortable cross-talk

Opened last summer in downtown LA, Faith & Flower impresses with both its whopping double-height dining rooms and Mr Michael Hung’s technique-led, Asian-leaning bar food, perhaps best accompanied by a barrel-aged negroni or the 1930s-vintage Cameron’s Kick (Scotch, oloroso sherry, orgeat). The opulent backdrop involves a chandelier constructed from 4,000ft of gold chain, a mural by Mr Robert Vargas, yards of golden velvet banquette, and a wall of 1920s doors. Reserve a semi-circular booth (to make negotiations feel a little bit less oppositional and encourage cross-talk) or walk in to dine at the bar. If you need more secrecy, email to enquire about private dining.

  • A global influence of flavours meets a 1920s approach to drinking

What to order
Littleneck clams with house hot sauce; kanpache ceviche cured in ginger beer; fresh burrata pizza; oxtail agnolotti with bone-marrow butter and beef tendon chicharrones.

Who to know
Wine director and one-time sculptor Mr Jared Hooper, fresh from Hakkasan Beverly Hills.

What to wear

  • Hardy Amies Cream Slim-Fit Stretch Linen and Cotton-Blend Blazer

  • Isaia Paisley-Print Linen Pocket Square


  • Zuma’s semi-private and roomy banquettes feel as if they were built for business

Designed to resemble an haute izakaya (what the Japanese call an informal bar that serves food) by the young Tokyo-based designer Mr Noriyoshi Muramatsu of Studio Glitt (also behind the new Roka in Mayfair), Manhattan’s very own Zuma has landed in Midtown. The build took two years: a main space clad in granite, iron, leather and tropical hardwood, overlooked by the second-floor lounge, where six tables with couches and a long communal table are kept for walk-ins. Reserve well in advance for a banquette table in the main space, and do business over terrific sashimi and nori sushi, and salt-sweet delicacies from the open robata grill.

  • Robata-grilled tenderloin with sesame, red chilli and sweet soy is a must

What to order
Seabass sashimi with yuzu and salmon roe; rock shrimp with lime and chilli mayonnaise; roasted lobster with shizo-ponzu butter; robata-grilled tenderloin.

Who to know
Look out for tanned and affable Mr Rainer Becker, the German-born chef who opened the first Zuma in Knightsbridge in 2002 with Mr Arjun Waney.

What to wear

  • Calvin Klein Collection Grey Slim-Fit Wool and Silk-Blend Suit

  • Loewe Leather Portfolio

SYDNEY: Tokonoma

  • Power lunches are the order of the day at Tokonoma

A central business district sibling to Toko in Surry Hills, Tokonoma has opened as a high-end Japanese restaurant to offset Sydney’s plentiful ramen joints and sushi cafés. The subterranean space by architect Mr Matt Darwon flows between curvy timber-wrapped banquettes and smooth wooden tables beneath sandstone-clad walls. An 11-metre light sculpture (actually half a million lentils set in resin) casts a glow towards beautiful murals by Mr Ando Hiroshige. Come for a power lunch, do sushi and go hard on the robata section. Just keep in mind for another time the ume boshi manhattan and the banana and honeycomb old fashioned on the seasonal cocktail list.

  • Chocolate delice at Tokonoma

What to order
Steak tartare with kojichan, fried capers, kataifi and onsen egg; honey bug nigiri with foie gras, truffle and soy jelly; black cod with saikyo miso.

Who to know
Mr Philippe Conry, Tokonoma’s discreet and stylish French-born manager, equally excellent at charming media titans, sports celebrities and corporate bigwigs.

What to wear

  • Thom Sweeney Blue Slubbed Cotton and Linen-Blend Shirt

  • Richard James Suede Loafers

SHANGHAI: Dining Room

  • The business-friendly yet futuristic Dining Room

A European restaurant on the 87th floor of the Park Hyatt, all futuristic views and business-friendly formality, the Dining Room has been designed by architect Mr Tony Chi to feel like a contemporary Chinese private residence, only with a walk-in, glass-walled wine library. The menu is all bold sallies into Euro flavours, with mashed potato here, and beer sauce there. An open bulthaup kitchen with a 10-seater chef’s table makes for an impressive private option, or ask for any table near the three-metre windows.

  • Classic favourites with a modern twist are accompanied by dizzying views and fine wine

What to order
Smoked salmon with potato salad; Wagyu pot au feu; grilled turbot with puy lentils and Iberico ham tortellini; pork medallions with Boursin, beer sauce and spaetzle.

Who to know
Sommelier Mr Adrian Zhang, who will pair your dishes with French, Italian and Hungarian wines from the Park Hyatt’s capacious cellar – the best-stocked in Shanghai, we are told.

What to wear

  • Burberry Blue Wool Travel Suit

  • Gieves & Hawkes Blue Cotton-Poplin Spread-Collar Shirt