London's best molecular food

For the very smallest of appetites?

So it's like tiny, tiny food which Prof Brian Cox eats with tweezers?

Well, yes and no.

Tiny? Not necessarily.
Brian Cox? Yeah, he probably dabbles.

Molecular and experimental gastronomy describes a style of cuisine in which chefs embrace sensory and food science, borrowing tools from the science lab and ingredients from the food industry and concocting surprise after surprise for their diners.

Most commonly, this is manifest as a pretty arrangement of multi-coloured gel balls which sit on your place as a garnish. It's mostly a bit of fun, but when it's done well... it's fantastic.

BO London
4 Mill Street W1S 2AU

Nearest Station: Oxford Circus (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Alvin Leung – the “demon chef” - may be most famous for his edible condom, originally produced to raise money for Elton John’s Aids charity, but his London restaurant’s Brit-inspired tasting menu is about so much more than shock value. Clouds of rose mist, toad in the hole made with frog meat and sous vide pigeon are just a few of the fantastically clever tricks Leung has up his sleeve.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
301 - 303 Chiswick High Road W4 4HH
Region: Chiswick
Nearest Station: Chiswick Park (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Lawyer turned food blogger and later restaurateur Mikael Jonssonwowed critics with Hedone. A daily changing menu that’s never advertised online, his USP is to let ingredients do the talking, such as with the famous onion dish, with a quarter of the vegetable served with a barely-there slice of pear.

  • 12/100
  • USERS 6/10
201 Tooley Street SE1 2UE
Region: Borough
Nearest Station: London Bridge (0.4 miles)

AIL Says: Tom Sellers, previously of Noma, opened this first restaurant amidst a flurry of hype. With dishes like candles made of beef dripping and burnt onions soaked in gin, you’re going to be hearing about Sellers for a very long time.

  • 14/100
The Shed Bar & Restaurant
122 Palace Gardens Terrace W8 4RT
Region: Notting Hill
Nearest Station: Notting Hill Gate (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Run by the Gladwin brothers, a farmer, a restaurateur and a chef, the hearty cuisine at the Shed is innovative and fun. They put a clever spin on popular ingredients like the lamb chips, crispy croquettes made from seasoned shredded meat, and a dish of minced chorizo dotted around the plate with crispy kale and thick labneh.

  • OUR REVIEW 9/10
  • USERS 9/10
Sketch Lecture Room & Library
9 Conduit Street W1S 2XG
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Oxford Circus (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: The food is as imaginative as the décor at Sketch. Pierre Gagnaire’s creations include dishes inspired by his favourite perfume, and his flair earned the restaurant its second Michelin star in 2012.

  • 8/100
  • USERS 9/10
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
66 Knightsbridge SW1X 7LA
Region: Knightsbridge
Nearest Station: Knightsbridge

AIL Says: Heston Blumenthal shows us just how innovative our forebears were when it came to cooking, with pre-20th century dishes like the salagamundi, a salad of smoked chicken with horseradish, bone marrow and salsify.

  • 7/100
  • OUR REVIEW 7/10
  • USERS 8/10
34 Portman Street W1H 7BY
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Marble Arch (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Influenced by Icelandic cuisine and Scandinavian minimalism, the tasting menus are ingredient-led. Take the Scandinavian fish tasting set, where one of the dishes pairs Icelandic salted cod with avocado, brandade, squid and chorizo.

  • 37/100
39 Whitfield Street W1T 2SF
Region: Fitzrovia
Nearest Station: Goodge Street

AIL Says: Ollie Dabbous’ first restaurant made headlines for its fantastic tasting menu with dishes like beef tartare with cigar oil, whiskey and rye, and for the impossibility of getting a table without at least a three month wait.

  • 50/100
  • OUR REVIEW 9/10
  • USERS 3/10
Pollen Street Social
8 - 10 Pollen Street W1S 1NQ
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Oxford Circus (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: With his first restaurant Jason Atherton attempted to move away from formal fine dining, offering a bar area for starters and small plates, the main dining room and a separate dessert bar. Nothing is quite as it seems on the playful menu, so the English breakfast is a slow-cooked egg served atop tomato sauce, croutons and mushrooms.

  • 9/100
  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
  • USERS 9/10

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