There is nothing quite like the feeling of payday. It’s the one day when London, a cripplingly expensive city at almost every other time, is suddenly transformed into a place of unlimited opportunity and enjoyment. At least until you check your balance a couple of days later. But that’s a feeling for another guide.
This is a guide all about unadulterated excess. A guide to make sure you’re eating in the best possible places for those times when money doesn’t feel like an issue.
Noble Rot is our favourite restaurant in London. Of course we’re going to recommend it for when you’ve just been paid. This is a place where you always want to be, regardless of the state of your current account. Eating unbeatable bread, drinking extensive and delicious wine, and generally just having an excellent time. That’s what this place is all about. Come here for a drink when you haven’t been paid. Come here for a meal when you have.
Nothing quite says “150 quid? Friday night? What?” like a restaurant that puts a ‘Press for Champagne’ button on your table. Bob Bob Ricard serves reinvented English and Russian classics. That means you’ll be eating stuff like caviar, beef wellington, and an array of things with truffle. It’s the ultimate silly restaurant to go to when you’ve been living like a pauper for the last week of the month.
Quality. That’s what you’re looking for when you’re about to spend a great big wad of your hard earned cash. That’s why Luca should high up your list. This high-end Italian in Farringdon is the kind of place you just want to spend your money. The food is superb, from the parmesan fries to the homemade pastas. And the atmosphere is excellent. It’s cool, classy, and everything just whispers quality.
On payday, our attitude is generally: you’re here for a good time, not for a long time. There’s no point being sensible or conservative. No. That’s why in situations like this we want to be at The Palomar. The buzz at this Israeli small plates restaurant is unlike anywhere else in London. Really you want to sit at the bar, so come with a friend who’s similarly flush, and get comfortable. The food - breads, dips, vegetables - is delicious, fresh, and made for sharing.
Every now and then everybody wants to be treated like an aged countess riding the Orient Express. To be waited on impeccably. To be served champagne and wine in a gold detailed room. To go the toilet and return to find a new, 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton napkin next to your plate. If that’s how you’re looking to be treated on payday (who isn’t?), then head to J. Sheekey. This classic seafood establishment is as elegant as they come.
Going out on payday is a bit like the adult version of playtime when you’re a kid. You suspend your disbelief, you imagine that this is how you’ll be eating out for the rest of your life. Bocca is ideal for this sort of daydream. It doesn’t feel lavish enough that being there is completely abnormal, but nor is it anything like your run-of-the-mill Italian restaurant. You’ll eat delicious pasta, truffled radish salad, and sausages rich enough to own their own country estate. It’s a place you’ll want to spend your money at every day.
It can be very tempting on payday to fall into the post-work drink trap. What starts as ‘just a couple’ turns into ‘one more you boring sod’ that sloppily evolves into ‘let’s get a bottle’. Dinner can get lost in this good-time haze, but it doesn’t have to be. Just go to a great pub like The Coach. It’s a pub-bistro hybrid, which means it’s the place to start on some bubbly, negronis, or whatever you fancy, and then sidle into the dining room for steak tartare, chips, and creme caramel.
If there’s any time to head to Mayfair for a meal, it’s immediately after you’ve been paid. This area of London is known for being on the ‘how much?!’ side of things, though Bombay Bustle is actually fairly reasonable. It’s an excellent place to celebrate your newfound wealth if you’re looking for somewhere a little glitzy, but still very tasty.
Going out with money in the bank is about having fun and treating yourself. You can’t put everything into savings and eat pesto pasta your whole life, can you. We definitely couldn’t. Sushi Atelier is definitely a fun kind of place but not necessarily not somewhere you’d eat at weekly. The sushi is tasty, decent value, and a bit, well, funky. Stuff like truffle or parmesan sushi, or razor clams that come in a smoking bowl. This is a fun, Friday night, payday place.
Payday is different for everyone. Maybe your month’s earnings have barely made a dent on your overdraft. You may still be in the red, but you still deserve to celebrate. As such it’s only right you go somewhere lavish. This is Brasserie Zedel in a nutshell. It’s easily one of the grandest rooms in London, and you can get two courses for £10.50. Perfect for when you want to celebrate the good times, reasonably.
This upmarket Chinese restaurant in Shepherds Bush as everything you need for the perfect payday meal. By everything we mean high quality dumplings, roast duck, and noodles. Come in here with a group ready to spend a bit and have a lot of fun. That’s what this place suits.