Amazing Graze

Take your pick from the 'new wave' tapas

When grazing menus first started to appear on London's dining scene several years back, some claimed it was just a fad. But diners' appetites for meals made up of multiple small plates shows no sign of abating, and the capital's restaurants are all too happy to oblige.

The best menus are devised to show off the talents of the kitchen, allowing you to sample more dishes than you normally might. They are also perfectly judged so that different appetites are matched - for lunch, you can dine well but lightly; for dinner, you can line up an array of tempting dishes.

We take a look at some of the best...

With its theatrical kitchen on view, diners can look in on the action whilst sampling dishes based on the main grill styles of India: the tandoor oven, sigri - cooking over a coal flame, and tawa - griddling on a hot iron plate. On the menu? Around six plates are equivalent to a two course meal so choose from the likes of lamb, venison and king scallops, all in perfectly-judged marinades; biryanis; and a wide range of veggie dishes such as spiced grilled aubergine. There's also a light lunch with the equivalent of three courses notching up just 400 calories.

Halkin Arcade, Motcomb Street, SW1

The opulent Pearl now has a grazing menu at lunchtimes in the bar. Executive chef Jun Tanaka's new concept offers his favourite dishes from the restaurant as small plates and sommelier Michael Davis has matched each dish with a glass of wine. On the menu? You'll want three or four dishes per person. Try a salad of seasonal vegetables with truffle vinaigrette, perhaps; a meltingly delicious square of pork belly with lentil salsa; and a warm chocolate and cherry fondant to finish.

252 High Holborn, WC1

Knightsbridge fish restaurant One-O-One has just re-launched, complete with a new 'petits plats' menu to encourage diners to sample of a wider selection from the kitchen of acclaimed Breton chef Pascal Proyart. What's on the menu? The freshest fish served imaginatively - expect a dish of oysters offered in several different styles; soft-shell crab with nigiri and tuna tartare; and monkfish with cockles.

101 Knightsbridge, SW1

Gordon Ramsay's Maze restaurant drops the formality of French cuisine by offering a range of small tasting dishes alongside the more traditional menu, and it has proved a huge hit, garnering executive chef Jason Atherton (who has trained under Ferran Adria at the world-renowned El Bulli) a Michelin star for his efforts. What's on the menu? Check out the likes of wood-fired squab with liver p�t� and pickled apple pur�e; honey and soy roasted quail with Landes foie gras and spiced pear chutney; and pear tarte tatin with fig carpaccio.

10 - 13 Grosvenor Square, W1

Salt Yard
Slat Yard offers modern tapas with both Spanish and Italian inspiration. Dishes are designed for sharing and the atmosphere is informal, meaning you can pop in for a cold Manzanilla sherry and a simple plate of Ib�rico ham carved to order at the bar, or you can order a more substantial selection of tapas to make up a meal. What's on the menu? Dishes include roasted spring chicken with pea shoots, peas, broad beans and lavender honey; wild mushroom and truffle croquetas; and tuna carpaccio with salsa verde.

54 Goodge St, W1

Le Cercle
From the same stable as the fantastic Club Gascon, Le Cercle offers a range of small plates that showcase the best in French cooking. What's on the menu? The menu is divided into categories such as vegetal (which includes dishes such as white Landes asparagus); marin (try, perhaps, roast sea bream with vanilla sauce); and gourmandises (such as violet parfait, citrus tuile and blueberry).

1 Wilbraham Place, SW1

Rhodes, W1
Gary Rhodes is behind the Cumberland hotel's two main dining operations - his modern European brasserie opened there in 2005 and he now has an impressive fine-dining restaurant, based on classical French cooking, that offers tasting dishes alongside the more traditional menu. What's on the menu? There are 10 small dishes from which to choose - try the likes of double oyster ragout with samphire and fresh herbs; warm lobster and Jersey royal salad; or warm scallops and langoustines with a caviar hollandaise.

Great Cumberland Place, W1.

La Petite Maison
Arjun Waney, co-owner of Zuma and Roka, has brought the concept of the popular Nice restaurant of the same name to London, and whilst you might not have the sun and sea of the Riviera, the simple French cooking does much to recreate summers spent in the Mediterranean. What's on the menu? Order a wide range of dishes for the table to share - try fine beans with foie gras; the French-style tart pissaladi�re; or a whole roast chicken that has been cooked, ingeniously, with a chunk of rustic bread to soak up the flavours from the meat.

54 Brooks Mews, W1

Image courtesy of Wikipedia