Private dining rooms in London

Posted: 30/10/2017 in Private Dining by Galvin Blog

Private Dining by Galvin
A restaurant in full swing is a wonderful thing. There is a buzz, an unfakable sound and feel in the air which is unique to not just that restaurant but also that very night and even that moment in that night. Taken all together though it is an unmistakable thing and is made up of myriad parts - the happy talk at tables from guests in various stages of the dining process (some being seated en masse, others excitedly discussing options on the just-received menus, yet more in full conversational flow as wine pours and thoughts of the cheese course come into view), the audible but never intrusive talk from waiters and other front of house, presenting specials, taking orders, passing information on to where it needs to be. And then there is the sound of the engine-room, something only a trained restaurant-goer can hear above the rest of the happy hubbub, the sound of the kitchen and its perfectly but frenetically-ordered action, firing out dishes with laser-precision in rapid succession to a full and happy dining room. That's the idea, anyway... All of this is part of what can make a dining experience extraordinary, especially if you’re in the mood to share the space with all the other happy guests. But what if you have something special to celebrate and want to o something a little out of the ordinary? Or what if you have the good luck to have a party rather larger than can fit around even the most optimistically pushed-together tables in the main body of the dining room? This is where the best restaurants in London come into their own, because nowhere which can truly claim to be great could omit to have one of London's best private dining rooms.

The term "private dining room" does have the power to play with the imagination. Depending on your experience, it could conjure oak-panelled chambers with high-backed chairs and much higher ceilings, walls heavy with art contemporary to the construction of the building. It could bring up a glass-partitioned section off the main body of a restaurant, separate for you to enjoy yourself but also connected enough to the rest of the space to share in a little of that aforementioned buzz so guests can get the best of both worlds. Or it could be separated by nothing but height, a raised platform or mezzanine which affords a distinct level of privacy for those dining but also a similar share of the warmth of hospitality which rises like a deliciously intoxicating mist from the floor of the restaurant below. Or, and this is rarer in this densely-built city, it could be a temporary structure like a marquee or well-appointed secondary building, created to give a new offering in an outdoor space. Not sure why these four examples came so easily to mind but sure we’ll get onto that shortly... The point is that that private dining in London is as varied and as extraordinary an experience as the rest of the dining experience but should be treated almost as its own beast - sharing so much with simply booking a table but being so far from it too. So what do the best private dining experiences in London share? Let's have a think about what we want from them first; let's take some imagined events and place them in a space where we can examine the anatomy of a great private dining experience in London.

First we have the office Christmas party. Now, depending on what sort of office we have (and indeed what sort of year it has been, how generous the management are feeling) this could be any number of things but we’re going for the more casual end of the spectrum. Not that high quality isn’t needed - in fact its demanded - but an easy-going flow to the evening is decided on to suit the nature of the celebration and the temperament of the group heading out to do the celebrating. It's a big group, enough to fill a good half of a pub, so their own space is a definite plus, ideally with their own dedicated waiting and bar staff. Here the private dining room is the option but where to find a suitable one? Since we opened Galvin HOP in January 2016 we’ve been finding ways to make it even better, to be able to offer even more. One way became obvious when we started thinking about Christmas in our first year. We have garden space which in the winter is less useful to guests for obvious reasons. We also have a strong friendship with Pilsner Urquell who supply us with fresh, unpasteurised tank beer fresh from the brewery each week. The European tradition of the Winter Garden - an enclosed and ideally heated outdoor space made for celebrating the festive season - was an inspiration so we set to creating that space. So this hypothetical office Christmas party - we’ve established they need their own space and want a relaxed atmosphere, what else does their private dining room need to offer? A mixture of light formality - tables set to dine at - with casual setting - higher tables and a bar to lean on for those who just want to snack or take advantage of canapes with their drinks. Their own bar and dedicated staff for sure and, to set things off, a level of personalisation befitting of a special occasion for a unique group of people - as we hope all of our guests are. True, it's not the classical French private dining which might suit another occasion but this is absolutely to its credit when it comes o whooping it p at the end of a hard-worked year with a team who have earned the right to blow off some steam. The Winter Garden at Galvin HOP is private dining reimagined. So, who's next and how can their ideal night out be created? For this let's take a smaller, more personal occasion - a birthday. The person in question has a ling-standing group of friends who assiduously keep in touch but who don’t see each other enough any more, not as much as they used to before life presented fresh opportunities which have meant some have moved, others had children and all to meet and best challenges in their own way. They still have a fierce bond though and it means that they’ll make the most of an opportunity to see each other and reinforce it. For this they don’t need the thrill of the rest of the restaurant, they have more than enough themselves, so their own room is clearly the way to go. Bistrot de Luxe is in the lucky position of having not one but two private dining spaces - the Salon Privé, a semi-enclosed and exclusive space at the back of the main floor - and, downstairs, Le Cellar. It's here that this group will most enjoy their private dining experience, among the subtle lighting with seating for up to 22 they can indulge in any of the menus the restaurant has to offer or a selection of exclusive set menus which offer a tailored experience for the whole group. These friends being the knowledgeable types they may or may not take up the sommelier's hand-chosen selections but will definitely be taking advantage of the extensive and ever-changing wine list, as well as perhaps the bespoke cocktails shaken right there at Le Cellar's private bar. This is the sort of subtle decadence which allows old friends to relish their time in each other's company, as well as a superb meal in one of London's best restaurants, and have it all to themselves.

So, lastly for now, what about when you’re looking for the most, the best, to put on the party of the century? This is where private dining segues into private hire - exclusive hire of one of London's best restaurants perhaps? Step forward La Chapelle. We can offer the entire venue for up to 130 people seated for dinner, 170 standing, or any combination thereof. This is where we can really shine, provide everything from unique menus to birthday cakes fit to compete with the grandeur of the setting, live music, DJ's, ice sculpture, the list is endless. It's private dining at its most private and most public - perfect for those who want to make a hugely joyous splash! So if you’ve just been made partner, your partner has a big birthday, you’ve won that BAFTA or just had a really, really good week then La Chapelle is the place you can celebrate in grand style, French private dining of the highest order.