This is what it is like to dine as a VIP at a top London restaurant

A VIP's security team can often inspect the venue ahead of the guest's arrival

Olivia Blair
Wednesday 01 February 2017 16:05 GMT

While dining at a fancy restaurant can make anyone feel like a VIP, how a restaurant caters for actual VIPs is often a totally different experience.

The preparation for a special guest often starts well ahead of their arrival. There can be security briefings, private room arrangements or bespoke menus which all need to be organised.

When the guest has arrived, they can then expect to be greeted by their usual, preferred waiter or waitress, cooked for by a particular chef and seated in a private table away from all the other diners.

We asked two restaurants the measures they take to ensure their VIP guest's visit runs smoothly.

Discretion is key

“First and foremost it is all about discretion,” a spokeswoman for Corrigan’s restaurant in central London said. “There are two secret entrances and of course if the guest requires a completely private space with their party the restaurant works to provide this.”

An average main at Corrigan’s costs about £30 and bottles of wine reach close to the £200 mark. Corrigan’s has two secret entrances which are most often used for people who want to keep a low profile when dining at the restaurant. Though a lot of the famous clientele want to be treated as normal guests, some do want their private space and for no one else to know they are there, she says. This private space can include dining in one of the four private rooms or if they want to sit in the restaurant, there is a table with a curtain shielding them from public view.

(Corrigan's of Mayfair
(Corrigan's of Mayfair (Corrigan's of Mayfair)

James Robson, the managing director of Mews of Mayfair, which has previously catered for celebrity clientele such as Elton John and Robert Redford as well as former Prime Ministers and members of the Royal Family also placed discretion as the most important element for a visiting VIP.

“Here at Mews we have a number of private dining spaces, that are ideal for VIP meetings, and ensuring discreet staff is key - typically a guest that calibre requires friendly service, but above all discretion,” he told The Independent.

The Brasserie of Mews of Mayfair
The Brasserie of Mews of Mayfair (Mews of Mayfair)

Special touches

Mr Robson says the pressure is heightened when somebody high-profile visits the restaurant, where the price for the Chef’s menu in the private dining room costs between £60 and £70 per person, so in order to be fully prepared a pre-event briefing and heavy planning is “imperative”.

“Little touches, like making sure the preferred bottled water is available, or a particular wine or spirit is on the list, is all part of making sure their visit is flawless," he said.

The Chef's Dining Room at Mews of Mayfair
The Chef's Dining Room at Mews of Mayfair (Mews of Mayfair)

Likewise, Corrigan’s offers VIP diners the chance to have a bespoke menu or a certain chef or waiting staff. “I guess you can have whatever you want really,” she says.

However, for anyone thinking celebrities often dine for free, she says this is not the case: “They pay like everyone else,” she clarifies.


“With VIP guests that come with a level of national security, we will expect a visit from the security forces before the event, for their team's security briefing,” Mr Robson said. “Typically they will check entrance and exits from the venue, in order for that to be discreetly choreographed on the day, and for some unexplained reason they always check plug sockets.”

The private Lindsay Room at Corrigan's
The private Lindsay Room at Corrigan's (Corrigan's of Mayfair)


Across the Atlantic, a guest-tracking software is in place at many of the high-end restaurants. The SevenRooms software allows restaurant staff to profile their guests so they can record anniversaries, allergies or even their favourite bottle of wine. However, Israel Morales, the co-owner of Kachka restaurant in Portland, Oregon said there can be drawbacks to profiling everything about their regular VIP guests.

“[A guest] came in with who we thought was his wife for quite some time,” he told Eater. “We had lists of notes on their likes and dislikes but when he came in with his actual wife, we had to get rid of those. We couldn't offer the same types of drinks of even recognition that he'd ever been here before.”

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