Where do you go for your art and culture fix? A museum or gallery? What about a restaurant? Thanks to collaborations between artists, curators and restaurateurs, you can now banquet beside a Banksy or dine with a Damien Hirst. Here are 6 of London’s best restaurants serving art à la carte.
1. The Groucho Club, Soho
Known as the hangout of artists, The Groucho has an impressive British art collection. Mat Collishaw, Stella Vine, Banksy, Tracey Emin and Idris Khan are amongst artists on show. Members of this exclusive club can take guests. So, bag yourself an invite, order a cocktail and soak in Soho’s bohemian spirit.
2. Sexy Fish, Berkeley Square
You might mistake Sexy Fish for the lair of a Bond villain. Bronze mermaids by Damien Hirst and a 13ft crocodile by ‘starchitect’ Frank Gehry greet guests. On the Asian-inspired menu is sushi, sashimi, tiradito and tempura. A late-night bar stocks the largest Japanese whisky collection in the world.
3. Le Gavroche, Mayfair
Michel Roux Jr.'s restaurant is famous for indulgent French food. What you may not know is that two Michelin stars are paired with a stunning art collection. Pieces by Picasso, Giacometti, Miró and Dalí are as classic as the cuisine.
4. The Ned, City of London
Inside this luxury hotel is The Vault Bar. Here, hotel guests and members will find ‘The Vault 100’ art collection, featuring 93 female and 7 male artists. Located in the heart of the financial district, it’s a powerful statement, inversing the FTSE 100 CEO gender ratio. Artists include Jenny Holzer, Phyllida Barlow and Cornelia Parker.
5. Tramshed, East End
Dine beneath Damien Hirst’s dramatic Cock ‘n’ Bull installation at trendy Tramshed. This vitrine of a cow and chicken sums up Mark Hix's menu: roast chicken or steak. A former tram generator station, the industrial-chic space exhibits emerging artists in the HIX ART basement gallery. ‘Cool Britannia’ lives on.
6. Rosewood London, Holborn
Art is integral to the dining experience at Rosewood London. Order an ‘Art Afternoon Tea’ inspired by Pop Art and Cubism, or sip a cocktail in Scarfes Bar where Gerald Scarfe’s satirical paintings showcase famous faces.
Ruth Millington is an arts and culture blogger, freelance writer and art historian.