Evidently, we still live in a celebrity-obsessed world. And so C London thrives. This is a place purely about the people-watching and, although the food isn’t in any way bad, it’s incredibly over-priced.
C London is far from what you may expect from a fancy restaurant; it looks more like a club. From the deep red mahogany chairs, the camel-coloured leather and all those splashes of red, to the mirrors, funky artwork and the shining floors, it’s certainly modern. It's brought back down to earth by a few granny lamps and some pristine white tablecloths but it’s still very showy. And so it should be, given the people they have to show off…
With a clientele that's included Elton John, Jude Law, Uma Thurman, Nicole Scherzinger and Lily Allen, this is a celebrity haunt with a lot of clout and even if you’re not into celebrity spotting, you won’t be able to help having a sneaky look around for a star or two. Chances are, though, you’ll mainly spy celebrity-wannabes, gorgeous model types and all those people who really want to be ‘someone’. It’s actually very irritating. The staff are helpful and the service is good but this is a restaurant that's very smug and really thinks rather a lot of itself.
It’s easy to rack up a fair old bill here, with a dinner for two – and that’s just two courses – costing £70+ without drink, with some mains costing £30. And it’s not Michelin-starred. However, if you forego the more expensive main courses and starters in favour of just some well-portioned pasta then you can eat here for a bit less, although you’re still looking in the region of £40+ per person with drink. Ouch.
The risotto alla primavera is actually very tasty, albeit a little safe. A classic North Italian favourite, it’s a creamy rice dish that's given a nice spring/summer flavour thanks to tender spring vegetables and well-cooked asparagus that retains a bit of bite. The rice is pleasantly soft on the outside yet firm on the inside, making for a nice texture. It’s also worth trying the iconic Harry's Bar pierini (basically an Italian croque monsieur or, yes, an English ham and cheese sandwich), which is delicious, creamy, fat and pan-fried, so it’s satisfyingly naughty without being greasy.
The incredibly expensive wine list at C London is suitably strong, with an impressive Italian selection including some excellent grapes and regions, bolstered by other rare and unusual bins. But the prices do match and it’s incredibly easy to start racking up the bill with very few available by the glass. When you sit down, the staff push the house cocktails, with a bellini particularly popular given it was apparently created by Harry’s Bar founder (the equivalent of C London in New York). However, it's served in a glass much smaller than a Champagne flute and costs well over £10. It is a particularly tasty bellini, admittedly, but not worth the price.
The Last Word
C London does have iconic status on London’s restaurant scene and for that reason it's difficult to give it a bad review - it certainly has its place in our fair city. However, it is only for those with money to really, really burn.