MasterChef judge Michel Roux Jr. works the floor in the old fashioned proprietorial way at this clubby basement institution in Mayfair—established by his father and uncle in 1967—and which many still rate to this day as the best formal dining in London. With magnificent shiny silver domes and unpriced ladies' menus, Roux's mastery of classical French haute cuisine hypnotizes all-comers with signatures like foie gras with cinnamon-scented crispy duck pancake, soufflé
Suissesse, roast venison with red wine jus, or saddle of rabbit with Parmesan cheese. Desserts like Roux's famous chocolate omelette soufflé or upside-down apple tart are unswervingly accomplished. Notable three-course set lunches (£54) are the sanest way to experience such unashamed, overwrought flummery—with half a bottle of wine, water, coffee, and petits fours thrown in.