Mezzo, 100 Wardour Street, London W1 (020-7314 4000) Mezzonine: Mon-Sat lunch and dinner; Mezzo: Mon, Tue dinner, Wed-Fri lunch and dinner, Sat dinner, Sun lunch and dinner. When Conran's juggernaut drove through the Soho restaurant scene, it claimed to be the largest restaurant in Europe, with around 700 seats. Does it still make that boast? Do that many people go there? For good-deal lunches and early-evening dinners, they should. In the clattery ground-floor Mezzonine canteen for contemporary Thai food (whatever that is), it's £8.90 for two courses, for lunch; around £25 à la carte for dinner. There is a DJ in the evening. Downstairs, Mezzo has a live band at night, and a modern European menu and Conran's trademark crustacea, with three courses from around £40, or set lunch/pre-theatre supper £12.50-£15.50.
Neat, Second Floor, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, London SE1. Brasserie (020-7928 4433) daily lunch and dinner; restaurant (020-7928 5533) Mon-Fri lunch and dinner, Sat dinner. Opened in June, and one of this year's largest new restaurants, the London bastion of the Cannes-based British chef Richard Neat occupies the second floor of the Oxo Tower Wharf, six floors below the equally large Oxo Tower eaterie. The cooking's the tops, but so is the cost and there are a lot of seats to fill – 100 in the restaurant, more in the "brasserie" and bar. Brasserie is a misnomer, with starters from £7.50, mains from £13.50; though the food might justify the prices, the Europop and brassy decor don't. The restaurant is more soothing, but pricey at dinner – around £80 with wine. The £29 lunch is recommended, though.
New World, 1 Gerrard Place, London W1 (020-7734 0396) Mon-Thur 11am-11.45pm, Fri, Sat 11am-midnight, Sun 11am-11pm. BC – before Conran – huge restaurants weren't unheard of, but nobody was counting the seats. New World was known for its Cantonese food, and especially dim sum, as much as for its size. Still is. This Chinatown warhorse has something approaching 700 seats on three floors, and still on Sunday lunchtime there can be a queue for the dim sum. It's only around £10 for lunch, and a little more in the evening when there's much more on the menu.
Yang Sing, 34 Princess Street, Manchester (0161-236 2200) Mon-Thur 12-11.15pm, Fri, Sat 12-11.45pm, Sun 12-10.15pm. Although the newer Pacific runs it a close second, the Yang Sing is still the largest restaurant in Manchester, and arguably the best Chinese restaurant in the country. On four floors of a Victorian warehouse, and with three kitchens, it seats 270 on two floors, and another 300 for private banqueting on two more levels. The range of its dim sum is said to be the largest in Europe, the standard is consistently excellent, the service superb. From £10 a head for dim sum to £45 for a banquet (without drinks).Reuse content