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The ultimate guide to the London Restaurant FestivalThe second London Restaurant Festival is about to kick off again, running from 4-18 October.

It's a little hard to believe that before last year, London didn't have a restaurant festival at all. Who, in the light of the inaugural festival's huge success last year, could now imagine a year in which we failed to celebrate the astonishing diversity, creativity and excellence of the London restaurant scene?

Because London truly is one of the gastronomic capitals of the world. It's a city where world class chefs flock to open dining rooms. It's what multiple Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse called "the most important city in the world for restaurants". For heaven's sake, we've even managed to lure celebrated Australian chef Bill Granger away from the sun-soaked Sydney shoreline to set up his own restaurant here.

And given that you only have two weeks to fit in as many of the events as possible, we've given you a helping hand, picking out what we think are the best parts of the festival - the don't-miss moments, if you like.

So go, eat, enjoy - and be proud of this fantastic city and its restaurants. We know we are!

 

10-10-10

The quick sell
Top London chefs team up with out-of-towners

Tell me more
This is the main event in this year's London Restaurant Festival.

10 of London's best chefs are teaming up with 10 of the best chefs from around the country.  So if you don't get out of the Capital much, here's your chance to see Sat Bains (recently given his 5th AA Rosette) teamed up with Richard Corrigan, Mitch Tonks from the Seahorse in Dartmouth with Mark Hix or Michael Smith from the Three Chiimneys in Skye with Jeremy Lee.

Some of the biggest and Frenchiest names - Claude Bosi with Alain Roux and Raymond Blanc with Bruno Loubet have already sold out but every name on this list is worth trying out.  Hot Dinners will be on a whirlwind tour of as many as we can get to - so be back here on the 11th for pics.

When and where?
On the 10th October (hence the name) at the London chef's venues - see the full list here. Note that you need an American Express card (they sponsor the event) to book.

 

The Big Quiz

The quick sell
The Weakest Link restaurant quiz

Tell me more
Last year it was chefs vs critics at Starter for 10 (read more about that here) but for this year's quiz, everyone can get involved.

Anne Robinson will be the quizmaster, so if you feel like withstanding her steely gaze, make a reservation at the newly refurbished Cafe Anglais.  There will be 8 people per team (and no worries if you can't get a team of 8 together, you'll be teamed up on the night) and the foodie themed quiz will even have questions on the accompanying Cafe Anglais dinner.

Hot Dinners will be there along with the winners of our current competition - so if you fancy coming along - enter now.

When and where?
On 11 October at Le Cafe Anglais for £50 (including dinner).  To book, email info@lecafeanglais.co.uk and make sure you mention "The Big Quiz" or enter our competition.

 

Festival menus

The quick sell: Top dining for low prices

Tell me more: The festival menus were started last year - but have had a bit of an upheavel this time around to keep things simple.  Basically, you get to eat out at 100s of London's top restaurants for bargain prices. Choose between

Among others, look out for some amazing deals from Bistrot Bruno Loubet, the Square and Hix Soho.

When and where?
All over London throughout the festival - to see the whole range and to book, visit the London restaurant Festival website.

 

Goumet Odyssey and Food Safari

The quick sell
Gastro tourism

Tell me more
The Gourmet odyssey is essentially a restaurant crawl - where you eat your starter, main and dessert in different London restaurants.  Last year, Hot Dinners managed to take in the Pall Mall Odyssey - but this year there are heaps more on offer.

First up, there's the more traditional bus-powered version where a routemaster will ferry you between restaarants like Koffmann's, Hibiscus and Sake no Hana.  And introduced this year, there are also a couple of walking tours around Soho (Quo Vadis, Arbutus and Yauatcha) and Shoreditch (L'Anima, Luxe, Hawksmoor).

When and where?
This year, the Odysseys cover two Saturdays, the 9th and 16th.  You can book here.

 

Pop-ups

The quick sell
Street food, supperclubs and a Pollen Street preview.

Tell me more
You can't have a restaurant festival without a few pop-ups.  Last year we had the Selfridge's Pierre Koffmann pop-up, and there are a number of chefs filling his shoes this year.  First up, there's the Street Kitchen, where Mark Jankel and Jun Tanaka will be serving gourmet british-sourced food out a truck in Covent Garden and Smithfields.  We tried the dishes out recently and can heartily recommend you head down and grab any of the fantastic dishes on offer.

Elsewhere, Jason Atherton is previewing his new restaurant Pollen Street in a special 2 day pop up, the Supersonic Masonique supper club returns to the Andaz hotel and the Savoy Truffle Supper Club is having a special week-long pop-up at a "secret North London location".

When and where?
Street Kitchen and Supersonic Masonique is on thruoghout the festival, Atherton is just off Oxford Streeet on October 4 and 5, Sayoy Truffle is on from 13-17 October.

 

LRF on the London Eye

The quick sell
Food with a view

Tell me more
Another successful carry-over from last year, this is your chance to have your dinner cooked for you by some of London's top chefs in a London Eye capsule.

Most of the capsules have been sold, including Georgio Locatelli's, Angela Hartnett's and Daniel Boulud's - but you might just be able to grab Richard Corrigan's.  The main event is Gordon Ramsay's capsule - currently on auction and at around £8K at the time of writing. So if you fancy a really posh dinner from Gordon and fancy donating the money to charity - bid by emailing katie.mann@londonrestaurantfestival.com.

When and where?
Each chef will be cooking at the Eye on a different day of the festival - with Gordon's on the 8th.

 

Plus - look out for:

  • The Big Debate - where foodies and critics meet to discuss "Is French Food a Spent Force?" (12 Oct at King's Place)
  • The LRF market at Spitalfields - where there will be a selction of food and stalls from restaurants across London (open throughout the festival - except for 14 Oct)
  • Eat Film -Dinner and a movie at a posh London hotel (10, 11, 17 Oct at various hotels)

For more on the London restaurant festival read our new stories or visit the LRF site or read our news stories.

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