Thank you for these great replies, especially to zuriga1 who warned about booking well in advance and to Harters whose review of lunch at Le Manoir made me want to immediately taste the blackberries.
The good news: I was able to book our post conference celebration/debrief at the Hinds Head for Friday lunch
Less successfully: probably no surprise but we can't get in to The Ledbury so I'm looking for an alternative and I know I could go back and do the research on this site again, but at this stage I'm knackered and thinking Rules, unless you advice me otherwise. Happy to be advised otherwise.
I still want to do Quilon, now for lunch thanks to howler's suggestion, and Barrafina, if we can drag our jetlagged bodies out to sit on a stool our first night in. There are a few nights/days not yet accounted for (I am planning only one food experience per day) so if you have more suggestions, let me know.
Thank you for the Oxford/Reading suggestions. Am still working on this itinerary. Mostly our eating here will have to be perfunctory, due to our work commitments, but I am sure we will earn an escape at some stage.
I have loved this site for years for recommendations when I travel, but haven't ever needed specific advice that I couldn't find searching. I think I do now (for Oxford/Reading) but I am also keen to see if you can add to/advise on what I have planned for London.
I am part of a group of Australian and NZ academics who have begun meeting up together (around 'suitably important' conferences in other parts of the world) and who love (in varying degrees) eating excellent food. A couple of us are up for splurging on a unique experience and several others will forgo the splurge in favour of one or two less haute but still great eating outings.
So my thoughts for London are:
We will also be in the Reading/Oxford area for a good six days for a conference at the University of Reading. My only inspiration so far has been the idea of a set lunch at Hinds Head pub in Bray on the Friday after the conference. We will probably be rushed and anxious during the actual conference, so recommendations for quick good food would be appreciated.
Hope this is specific enough - I know you guys don't look kindly on the lazy interloper!