Tired, hungry and fed up after a long morning Christmas shopping? Then you, my friend, need to be embraced in the warm bosom of the luxurious, velvet-chaired, wood-panelled surrounds of Helene Darroze at The Connaught. It offers a calming, soothing, elegant respite from the crowds, while serving possibly the best bargain Michelin-starred lunch you’ll ever get in London.

Even on entering through the revolving front door, greeted by a swathe of top-hatted, overcoated staff, D and I feel instantly cossetted. This is a place where everything works like a well-oiled machine, while never feeling robotic. Lunch costs £52pp for three courses, including amuse-bouches, two glasses of wine, bottled water, coffee and petit fours. Acclaimed chef Darroze’s restaurant here has two coveted stars, and her laser-like attention to detail, and ingredients, prove their worth.

The room fills up slowly with a mixture of businessmen, some in groups, some alone, wealthy shoppers, lone tourists, couples and groups of friends. There is no background music; the ambience arises from the murmur of conversation and the clink of silvery cutlery on porcelain. It feels a bit like being in a non-smoky humidor. It’s just so reassuringly comforting! Warm, freshly made bread is brought to the table first, with two types of butter; one is unsalted, the other is bright orange, and spiked with hot pepper; delicious.

A trio of playful mouthfuls starts the experience, including beef tartare in a wafer cone crowned with a dollop of yoghurt, like a miniature ice-cream, and a fresh oyster topped with a tart grapefruit foam. D starts with a dense but delicious pate of foie gras, with colourful red and golden beetroot standing out like a piece of artwork against the white porcelain plate, while I slurp a flavoursome veloute of pink garlic, poured over a poached egg, meaty ceps and silky lardo.

Next, my roulade of brill is stuffed with a rich mushroom duxelle, accompanied by briny mussels, flageolet beans and a cocoa-infused jus. It’s paired with a crisp, citrussy glass of Ligurian Colli Di Luni Vermentino, poured from a Methuselah. I ask to hold it. It’s roughly the same size and weight as a small child. Meanwhile, D’s tender, rare venison comes on a bright orange smear of pumpkin, with melt-in-the-mouth gnocchi. You can pay a supplement for a frankly stonking cheese plate but dessert is delicious, particularly the chocolate one, with creamy, mousse-y and crunchy interpretations on the plate. Simply sublime.

Value for money: 9/10

food: 8.5/10

atmosphere: 7.5/10