The places in town not to be seen

The Mercer
34 Threadneedle Street, EC2R 8AY
Discreet Seats: The counter at the bar-end of the room: only backs are visible and it would be almost impossible to hear what someone was ordering, let alone which bottle of vintage Bordeaux.
Food and drink: Very solid new British cuisine, with everything sourced as locally as possible and an award-winning, heavily French wine list.

The Dorchester
Park Lane, W1A 2HJ
Discreet Seats: The best spot in the bar is at the counter to the left on a raised level, shielded from the hustle and bustle with two pink stalacmites. Then there’s the Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse next door, with its private table in the centre of the room, entirely enclosed by a dramatic sparkling curtain.
Food and Drink: Inventive cocktails at the bar, and top-drawer French cuisine in Ducasse.

11B West Halkin Street, SW1X 8JL
Discreet seats: The Montblanc Room is the smallest dining room in the world, seating just two, with a private waiter who responds to a call button. Mossiman’s is for members, but the hoi-polloi can book the Montblanc room for £175.
Food and Drink: Sensitively rendered, conservative haute-cuisine such as Asian-accented seabass, and an excellent selection of wines.

147 Leadenhall St, EC3V 4QT
Discreet Seats: Anywhere in the Conservatory, a narrow space running parallel to the main dining room. Table 11, which stands alone in the main hall, wards off eavesdroppers despite its prominent position.
Food and Drink: Pricey, high quality modern European food – think plaice steamed with lemon, thyme, mussels and pickled crab.

Kensington Place
201-209 Kensington Church Street, W8 7LX
Discreet Seats: The table by the window on the left stands alone and oozes charm in this airy, much-loved restaurant.
Food and Drink: Purple sprouting broccoli soup with goats cheese; slow-cooked cod with smoked tomato, and basil jelly with creme fraiche sorbet are the sort of thing.

Andaman at St James’s Hotel and Club
7-8 Park Place, SW1A 1LP
Discreet Seats: The sofas in the back room of the restaurant. Once a gentleman’s club, St James’s honours its exclusive origins with a hard-to-find location, good service and high prices. Andaman is miniscule and at the back, beyond the private table, is a living room where two people could conduct a sequestered coffee with some high-brow snacks.
Food and Drink: Overpriced but inventive European with all its trappings, including good coffee and sweets.