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Concierges' Guide to London: Restaurants: Worth the Trip

Compiled by Lisa Sweetingham, Jennifer Ryan, Bruce Wallin, and Amanda Millin

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THE FAT DUCK Multisensory molecular gastronomy "just outside London, in Bray," from self-taught chef Heston Blumenthal. "Go with an open mind" and experience such concoctions as red-cabbage gazpacho, snail porridge with Jabugo ham and shaved fennel, or salmon poached in licorice. Allow four hours for the tasting menu—if you can get a reservation. "Very difficult to book, we rarely get anyone in. We do have a contact there, but they book in advance and take a credit card number." Three Michelin stars. (MDC) +44.1628.580333, www.thefatduck.co.uk

LE MANOIR AUX QUAT’SAISONS Storybook-setting hotel and restaurant in the Oxford village of Great Milton is "the biggest hit," with French gastronomic cuisine created by renowned chef Raymond Blanc. A champion of the organic movement, Blanc utilizes produce from a two-acre vegetable and herb garden on-site. The main dining room’s picture windows frame verdant lawns and flower beds. A Japanese tea garden and tea house, cooking courses, and luxurious suites invite overnight stays. "Most people are lucky to get a reservation. I’ll call [Blanc] directly if a receptionist says no." (AH) +44.1844.278881, www.manoir.com

THE WATERSIDE INN Just outside London in the 16th-century village of Bray, this "old-fashioned" French charmer from Le Gavroche founders Michel and Alain Roux is "worth the trip." Best to "sit in front with the views of the River Thames" or, in summer, "outside on the conservatory" for an "aperitif under the willow tree." Private dining is available in the adjacent River Cottage. For a unique experience, "when you make a reservation, ask ‘Can we please hire the boat to have some Champagne and canapés?’ " The Waterside Inn is the only restaurant in England that can claim three Michelin stars continuously since 1985. (MDC, AH, BM) +44.1628.620691, www.waterside-inn.co.uk

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Photo by Olivier Pascaud
Copyright by Luc Castel
Photo credit Bonjwing Lee