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The best places to splash the cash with discretion

MARCUS Wareing recently told City A.M. that ever since the start of the financial crisis, the phones have been ringing off the hook of his restaurant at the Berkeley Hotel with enquiries about the private dining room. &ldquo;People are spending money,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;They just don&rsquo;t particularly want to be seen doing it.&rdquo;<br /><br />It seems the rest of London has caught on to this sentiment and many of the city&rsquo;s top restaurants are promoting or opening spanking new private dining areas. Only this week, The Mercer on Threadneedle Street opened one, as has the discerning banker&rsquo;s favourite Italian restaurant, Locanda Locatelli, in Marylebone. <br /><br />Here are six of London&rsquo;s best private dining rooms, most of which are equipped with technology for presentations. Go forth and let loose this Christmas &ndash; just make sure nobody&rsquo;s watching. <br /><br /><strong>THE POSTILLION AT THE LANGHAM</strong><br />The Postillion relaunched last year along with the Langham&rsquo;s superb, opulent dining room, The Landau. Designed with the glamour quotient expected of David Collins (the Wolseley, Bob Bob Ricard), it looks onto the exquisite All Souls Church. Seats 18, &pound;500 to hire for one sitting, three courses from &pound;55 per person. The Langham, Portland Place, W1B 1JA. To book, call 020 7965 0165.<br /><br /><strong>PRIVATE ROOM AT THE MERCER<br /></strong>The room has its own kitchen so diners can watch the chefs working away if the company falls short. The menu is tailor-made and features delights from the Mercer&rsquo;s best of British menu (think ox tongue, ham hock terrine and rabbit pie). Free to book but there&rsquo;s a minimum spend depending on date. Seats 35, The Mercer, 34 Threadneedle Street, EC2R 8AY. To book, call 0207 628 0001.<br /><br /><strong>PRIVATE DINING ROOM AT LOCANDA LOCATELLI</strong><br />Arguably London&rsquo;s best Italian restaurant, Locatelli serves sophisticated twists on the classics and has a brand new private dining room in which you can enjoy them. It&rsquo;s designed in the same woody modernist style as the restm, but with its own separate entrance for maximum privacy. To go all out, the truffle menu is a seasonal delight, but will cost a pretty penny (perfect for those hard-to-impress clients) at &pound;323. Seats from 12 people. Menus start at &pound;107. To book, call 020 7935 9088. Locanda Locatelli, 8 Seymour Street, W1H 7JZ<br /><br /><strong>POMEROL ROOM AT MARCUS WAREING</strong><br />The City&rsquo;s favourite Mayfair restaurant has a luxuriously intimate private dining room, decked out in black velvet and crystal. Once sequestered behind its mirrored doors, you&rsquo;ll feast on the likes of ravioli of lobster and salmon and Scottish scallops with spices and cauliflower, as well as extras that make all the difference, such as canapes, amuse bouches and pre-dessert. Seats 12. Menu &pound;120 per person. To book, call 020 7235 1200. Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, Wilton Place, SW1X 7RL.<br /><br /><strong>BETJEMAN ROOM AT ST PANCRAS GRAND</strong><br />A favourite for meetings between morning arrivals off the Brussels Eurostar and their London-based colleagues or clients, the private room in this superbly designed brasserie on the St Pancras upper concourse is luxurious and cosy. Food includes crayfish cocktail, lemon sole and Dorset crab salad. Seats 14. Menus from &pound;45 per person. To book, call 020 7870 9900. St Pancras International, Euston Road, NW1 2QP.<br /><br /><strong>KRUG ROOM AT THE DORCHESTER</strong><br />First opened in the 1940s, this outrageously glamorous chamber sits within the hotel&rsquo;s master kitchens. Ensconced in its plush red leather chairs round a glass table, you&rsquo;ll have selected wines and Krug bubbly to accompany your three-course lunch or 10-course degustation dinner. Seats 12. Dinner from &pound;90 per person. To book, call 020 7319 7071. The Dorchester, Park Lane, W1K 1QA.