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Henrietta Hotel, Covent Garden

June 20, 2017
The Henrietta, Covent Garden

I’ve been to the Henrietta Hotel twice in 24 hours.  In my defence, it’s a stone’s throw from my office, so easy to get excited about.  Yesterday for drinks, today for a nosey around the rooms.  Because yes, I am a hotel geek and I do like to do things like that on my lunch break.

Founded by the Experimental Group guys (think the Experimental Cocktail Chinatown, but they also own lots of hip venues in Paris, New York & Ibiza), the Henrietta is many things.  Firstly it is a small, luxury hotel, with 18 rather beautiful rooms.  With heavy Art Deco influences and pastel colours, each room is unique, from the pretty headboards to brass lamps and mirrors in all different shapes and sizes.   Many of the bathrooms have large baths and all have fluffy branded robes and towels.

The Henrietta, Covent GardenThe Henrietta, Covent Garden

The Henrietta has also got a great bar.  Last night, post excellent dinner at Frenchie (which I would recommend to all who would fork out a casual £38 on lamb), I dragged my friend there for cocktails.  We were there long enough for the bill to be fairly substantial (be warned).  The cocktail menu is a little unusual, as I suppose you would expect from these guys.  I wasn’t sure about my Palomar cocktail (tequila based but perhaps with a touch too much salt) but the vibe was good, and I love the design of the place.  There is also a mezzanine level with another bar and more tables.

The Henrietta, Covent GardenThe Henrietta, Covent Garden

Perhaps the most talked about aspect of the Henrietta is its restaurant, with the food being by the one & only Ollie Dabbous (of Dabbous fame).  I sent my colleague there for lunch yesterday (come to think of it I really have been giving this place a lot of love) and he said the food was excellent.

The Henrietta, Covent GardenThe Henrietta, Covent Garden

And so today, having not seen any of the rooms, I popped by and was shown around.  Sadly their two suites were booked, as I would have loved to have seen the views from their terrace.  But I saw two rooms: their smallest Covent Garden room (super cosy, under the eaves of the house, not for giants) and the Henrietta room (much more spacious, fabulous bed).

The Henrietta, Covent GardenThe Henrietta, Covent Garden

All in all it’s good to see Covent Garden has a new, hip hotel, and I’m sure I’ll be stopping by regularly for food and booze, and maybe even a snooze..!

The Henrietta

14-15 Henrietta St,

London WC2E 8QH

Blog, Date Spot, Drink, Eat, London

Lassco Bar & Dining, Maltby Street Market

March 27, 2017
Lassco Bar & Dining, Maltby Street

Maltby Street Market is one of my favourite places in London.  A bit of a walk through some very quiet and a little dodgy parts of London, but worth it in the end.  On the weekend it’s heaving, and not with tourists, which is always a pleasure.  Especially since Borough Market has become so unbearable.

40 Maltby Street is a wine bar I repeatedly return to, with good ambience, nice wines and lovely food.  It seems to be one of the few places open in the evenings on the weekdays.  But then I read great reviews from the Nudge and Hot Dinners about the newly opened Lassco Bar & Dining, just opposite 40 Maltby Street, with very reasonable prices (£25 for 2 courses / £30 for three) and in an eccentric, fun setting.

Lassco Bar & Dining, Maltby Street

So I went on Friday and dragged a friend along.  When I finally managed to locate it (Lassco is a big warehouse, with multiple entrances), I found it very empty, which unnerved me slightly.  But it is an undeniably wonderful setting, and one which is hard to describe.  Everything around you is for sale, from the antique furniture, art work, tiles and vintage lamps.  You’re surrounded by a mixture of everything, from different continents and decades.  And it just works.

Lassco Bar & Dining, Maltby Street

The bar is jolly, adorned with (old school) bunting, and a good but select wine list.  The cocktails are meant to be worth trying too, but we stuck to the red wine (my preference went to the wine from Le Marche, Italy).   We were then led to the ‘dining room’, with attractive light green walls and a selection of prints hanging on the walls.   The food was good, starting with fresh sourdough bread and smoked whiskey butter which was beyond moorish.  I chose the scallops to start (delicious), Ash the beetroot and Stilton (also good – though Stilton always tends to overpower).

Lassco Bar & Dining, Maltby Street

Lassco Bar & Dining, Maltby Street

The main courses were both excellent, I again opted for the lemon sole (though I had forgotten how bony this fish is), and Ash went for the wild boar.  To finish I couldn’t resist the flourless chocolate cake, which tasted as good as it sounds.

Lassco Bar & Dining, Maltby Street

Lassco Bar & Dining, Maltby Street

Lassco Bar & Dining has a definite charm to it, and I’d recommend it for a low-lit date or even a sophisticated but fun night with a group of friends (reservations shouldn’t be hard).  It just needs a lot more diners (or drinkers), because it lacked the buzz and atmosphere that goes hand in hand with people having a good time.  They are apparently moving to an even larger space across the road in June, and I wish them all the best, because this is a place which deserves to do well.

Lassco Bar & Dining

Ropewalk, 41 Maltby Street,

SE1 3PA

Photo credit: Lassco Bar & Dining

Blog, Date Spot, Do, Drink, Eat, London

Petersham Nurseries, Richmond Park

January 3, 2017
Petersham Nurseries, Richmond

Going for a walk in Richmond Park is something I don’t do enough.  And every time I go I remind myself how beautiful it is, how tame the deer are and how it actually feels like you’re in the countryside [for a little while].  And now I have another excuse to keep returning: Petersham Nurseries.

Richmond ParkRichmond Park

It’s one of those places where I wondered why on earth I hadn’t come sooner.  First and foremost it’s a garden centre, which doesn’t sound hugely appealing in itself.  But then you get there and you understand what all the fuss is about.  Even in early November, when it gets dark early and Richmond Park is soggy and your hands are freezing, Petersham Nurseries is like a flowery fairytale.  Everything is ridiculously pretty, without being kitsch.

Petersham Nurseries, Richmond park

But flowers aside, there’s a lot more to Petersham Nurseries.  Namely the restaurant and cafe, both in glasshouses.  In fact, it reminds me a little of a British version of South Africa’s Babylonstoren.  Arguably without the sun, the winelands, and the Cape Dutch architecture, but Babylonstoren does also have a cafe and an excellent restaurant (Babel) in glasshouses.  There’s something about eating in a glasshouse that clearly appeals, I for one love it.

Petersham Nurseries, Richmond park

We came here for tea, having walked our on-loan dog Amiga through an autumnal Richmond Park.  Dogs are allowed too (in the cafe).  Even in the winter this place gets busy, and the restaurant is always fully booked (so book ahead).   The cafe is teaming with life; from dogs barking, children laughing and friends gossiping.  The cakes are so good you could sit here for hours and work your way through the (considerable) selection.  They – of course – also have a large range of teas, from mint to English Breakfast, and also serve more casual, hearty lunch options like quiches and roasts.   It’s cosy and warm and the best place to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Petersham Nurseries, Richmond

Petersham Nurseries’ more formal restaurant made a name for itself when chef Skye Gyngell (who since left to set up Spring) became Head Chef, and it was awarded a Michelin star.   I’m yet to eat here, but I’ve only heard good things.

But quite honestly, Petersham Nurseries was one of my 2016 highlights.  And I look forward to returning many more times in 2017.

Petersham Nurseries

Church Lane, Petersham Road,

Richmond TW10 7AB

Photo credit: my own and Stephanie Wolff’s photos

Blog, Date Spot, Drink, London

Thomas’ Cafe at Burberry, Mayfair

December 31, 2016
Thomas' Burberry Cafe, Mayfair

When fashion designers try and do restaurants or bars or hotels they can get it wrong (par example the Versace Hotel in Miami), but trust Burberry to get it so right with their first Café opening: ‘Thomas’’ (names after the founder, Thomas Burberry).

It is beautiful, undeniably so.  With dark walls, dim lighting and a welcoming fireplace, it feels like you’ve walked into someone’s very sophisticated but cosy country home.  And while it’s clear that the interiors are well thought through and stylish, it’s done in an understated, unpretentious way.  Nothing flashy, or too polished.  A bit like the brand itself.

Thomas' Burberry Cafe, Mayfair

Finding somewhere to go for coffee is difficult around Regent Street, unless you’re happy to settle with Pret or Café Nero and a bunch of tourists.  So Thomas’s is welcome for more than one reason.  Also, you can book, which means no unnecessary and tedious queuing for brunch.  And lastly, while you’d think it would have the same eye-watering prices as Burberry itself, you’re wrong.  It’s not cheap, of course.  But it’s reasonable.  And everything, from the beautiful presentation of the eggs with soldiers, to the tea with its own hour glass timer which tells you when the tea leaves have brewed to their optimum, is delightful.

Thomas' Burberry Cafe, MayfairThomas' Burberry Cafe, Mayfair

I could happily sit there for hours, sipping my cappuccino, watching people come and go, until it’s cocktail hour and then gently move on to one of their G&Ts.  There is no rush to leave your table (or if there was, we never felt it).

You are so well looked after here, by young, good looking, could-be Burberry models. Who are exceptionally polite and accommodating. But my favourite thing about the place is the soundtrack, which I recognised from their impossibly glamorous Christmas advert casually starring Siena Miller and Lily James (and which I still wish was a trailer to a 2 hour long movie).

Thomas' Burberry Cafe, Mayfair

And so, with January around the corner, this is a place that will make you embrace winter.  And be the perfect refuge for your post sale shop.

Thomas’ Cafe

Burberry

5 Vigo Street / 121 Regent Street

 

Blog, Drink, Eat, Healthy, London

Brompton Food Market, South Kensington

October 29, 2016
Brompton Food Market, South Kensington

I love it when you come across places which you never knew existed, but have walked past a million times.  South Ken is tricky for brunch.  It’s either super touristy (Muriel’s Kitchen) or a bit chainy (Comptoir Libanais, Aubaine, Pain Quotidien).   And then you get this cute, unassuming Deli/Cafe with a secret garden which is perfect for a summer lunch or an autumn brunch.   We were actually en route to Aubaine, but then passed the Brompton Food Market with it’s inviting ‘secret garden’ sign and thought we ought to have a look.  Let’s just say Aubaine never happened after that.

The Brompton Food Market is actually also a butcher, fishmonger and greengrocer as well.  I.e really the place do all your shopping.  And the experience is ten times nicer than shopping at Tesco’s, I can promise you that.  It’s a beautiful shop with excellent produce.  You could spend hours looking at all the different jams and oils and cheese.

Brompton Food Market, South Kensington

Shopping aside, they have a great selection of wonderful salads and juices for those healthy-inclined, or a mouthwatering brunch menu with dishes like American pancakes with berries, eggs whichever way you want, the list is endless.  My cappuccino was the size of my head.  We sat outside, kept warm with sheepskin rugs and overhead heaters.

Brompton Food Market, South KensingtonBrompton Food Market, South KensingtonBrompton Food Market, South Kensington

This is the perfect place for a cosy, laid back and affordable coffee or brunch, in the heart of touristy London.  It’s ideal if you’re looking for somewhere quiet and local, and away from the tourist hordes.

The Brompton Food Market

33 Thurloe Place

SW7 2HQ

Blog, Date Spot, Drink, Eat, London

J Sheekey Atlantic Bar and Terrace, Covent Garden

September 25, 2016

A fairly sweltering September means that my hunt for the best alfresco bars (or bars with decent terraces) for post work drinks has continued.  Bronte (my regular), is a big favourite of mine in Central London.  It has a large terrace, a decent bar menu and there’s always a table free.  But apart from that it’s always quite tricky to find a relaxed terrace in Covent Garden or Soho. Further North I have more luck; in Fitzrovia Foley’s has a cool alfresco bar (but with very limited seats), Percy & Founders has a large outside seating area, and Charlotte street offers many restaurants with small terraces ideal for drinks in the sun (the big favourite being the Charlotte Street hotel).  So when Grace Dent wrote a rave review about J Sheekey launching their new Atlantic Bar & Terrace (a revamp from their old Oyster Bar), located in the West End, I thought I’d check it out.

J Sheekey Atlantic Bar & Terrace, West End

London’s West End is known to be very busy and very touristy, and the immediate area around Leicester Square is not necessarily a place I spend much time.  J Sheekey is right in the thick of theatre-land, tucked away down a little alley way.  It looks pretty old school.  I mean, J Sheeky has been around for decades.  But you can tell that it’s terrace has had a bit of make over; with bright colours and comfy red chairs it looks fresh and welcoming.  And it’s prime people watching territory too (not long after we spotted Ian McKellan smoking a cigarette around the corner).  I also loved its new menu with artwork by my favourite Quentin Blake.

Quentin Blake

You can’t just drink here, you need to order some food.  But with a mouth-watering fish-heavy menu, that’s not exactly a problem.  We ordered the sea bass ceviche and the tuna and avocado tartare, both excellent.  The wine list is decent, though it’s easy to leave here with a fairly large bill (a glass of wine and one dish each set us back close to £25 each).

J Sheekey Atlantic Bar & Terrace, West End

In short, if you’re looking for a pre-theatre or cinema place for an alfresco drink and a quick bite, this is the place for you.  Alternatively, you can of course just stay here for a proper fishy dinner – there’s a reason why this place has been around for so long, the food is great and the service is too.

J Sheekey Atlantic Bar & Terrace

33-35 St Martin’s Court,

London WC2N 4AL

Blog, Drink, Eat, London

Samarkand, Fitzrovia

August 31, 2016
Samarkand, Fitzrovia

An Uzbek restaurant might not be your first choice on Charlotte Street, where you have a vast array of excellent international – and British – restaurants to choose from.  But I was curious, no less because of the promise of craft vodka and a dish called Jizbiz (I know…).

I rarely write bad reviews, mainly because I don’t want to waste my time writing about places I would simply not recommend.  The only negative one I wrote was about Restaurant Ours, because there was a hype for no reason, the prices were inflated and the service was appalling.  The problem with Samarkand is that I genuinely quite liked the restaurant (and bar), I thought the interiors were appealing and – most importantly – the service was really good.  So I feel for them a little, writing this review.

Samarkand, Fitzrovia

But there is one big problem with Samarkand, and that is, very unfortunately, the food.  Arguably we enjoyed the 50% soft launch offer, which made for a very affordable and fun dinner.  However, the prices of the food cannot be justified without it.

To start with we ordered the beef and lamb ‘Manti’, Uzbek dumplings.  I’m always a bit of a fan of dumplings, but not of these.  Soggy, falling apart and bland, even the sauce which accompanied it resembled a Dolmio tomato sauce.  Maybe that’s the Uzbek way, but if it is, I wouldn’t put it on the menu.

Samarkand, Fitzrovia

Next came the Shashlik (grilled skewered meat).  We ordered the Wagyu Beef with Truffle and a Buttermilk Lamb one.  Bearing in mind that the beef shashlik (one skewer – albeit 100g) costs £24, you’d expect some seriously good meat.  But it just didn’t do it for us (though the lamb was better than the beef).  The biggest mystery of all was the truffle clearly resembled truffle shavings but tasted of, well, nothing.  Nor did it smell of truffle.  It just looked like it.  When questioned if it was perhaps Uzbek truffle (if that exists) our very charming waiter said he’d check with the kitchen, and returned adamant it was Tuscan.

For the main course we decided to order the JizBiz, since a dish with a name like that surely can’t be ignored.  This was a rack of lamb with a potato cake.  It was fine, but not more than this – and just could have been so much better if they had properly grilled the lamb so the fat was crispy rather than soft.

Samarkand, Fitzrovia

We moved to the bar area (which I really liked) after dinner to try some of their vodka.  They recommended two kinds: a sugar beet and a malt vodka – both completely new to us.  We couldn’t dine at an Uzbek restaurant and not have a vodka.  But then to our complete surprise we were served British vodka, two types of craft vodka made in London in fact.  I just couldn’t understand why a restaurant from an area famed for its vodka would serve British vodka.  Totally bizarre (I did like the Uzbek tea cups the vodka was served in).

Samarkand, Fitzrovia

Samarkand’s not all bad, as I said above.  I really liked the staff, who were attentive, enthusiastic and clearly proud to be working at there.  The head barman could talk for hours about the vodka we were drinking.  Some of the cocktails we had afterwards were good too (though the Whisky Sour could do with more whiskey).

This is not a place for a summer’s day (it’s underground), and should be better in the winter, where the British vodka can warm you, though the truffle with still mystify.  So in conclusion, I’d grab a pre or post-dinner cocktail here, but choose one of the plethora of other excellent restaurants on Charlotte Street (Roka, the Ninth, Barn Yard) or Bao around the corner for actual dinner.  If Uzbek cuisine wants to make its mark in London, it’s going to have to improve dramatically at Samarkand.

Samarkand

33 Charlotte St,

London W1T 1RR

Photo credit: Samarkand

Blog, Date Spot, Drink, Eat, London

Bronte, The Strand

August 19, 2016
Bronte, the Strand

I’ve found my new favourite post-work drink place.  And it’s not just because it’s about 2 minutes’ walk from my office.

Bronte opened a few weeks ago, right by Trafalgar Square.  An odd location, you might think. A place which will probably attract a lot of tourists, was my first thought. But actually, no.  Either tourists haven’t clocked on yet that there is this rather glamorous (yet still very welcoming) bar and restaurant a moment’s walk from London’s highlights. Or perhaps they just prefer Pizza Hut and Garfunkels (fine by me). Because Bronte seems to be full with mostly locals and people like me, who head here for a welcome glass of wine after a long day’s work.
Bronte, the StrandBronte, the Strand
Tom Dixon – famous for doing the interiors of the wonderful Sea Containers – has also done the design here.  His style is recognisable: bright colours in the form of a stand out pink granite bar (love it), and green banquettes.  Quirky but attractive lamps hang from the ceiling and large pot plants add a slightly exotic feel to the place.  My favourite though, is to sit on their spacious colonnaded terrace – which feels remarkably calm, despite the busy Strand happening all around you.

Bronte, the StrandBronte, the Strand
But this is not just a bar. The food is good too. Admittedly I’ve only tried their snack menu (their crab summer rolls are very good), but if it’s anything to go by, the rest of their menu should be delicious.  And pricing is reasonable too.

Some praise must also go to their staff. Every time I’ve been there the waiters have all been exceptionally friendly and helpful, mostly Italian and very upbeat gentlemen.

Bronte, the Strand
I’m not one to keep returning to places, especially in a city like London, where new places open every day and I get serious FOMO if I don’t jump on a soft launch or new opening. However, I might make the exception for Bronte, which, with its good looks, convenient location and (usually) free tables, is the perfect place for a mid-week drink and a bite.

Bronte

Grand Buildings,

1-3 Strand,

London WC2N 5EJ

Photo credit: Bronte

Blog, Date Spot, Drink, London

Oriole, Farringdon

August 14, 2016
Oriole, Farringdon

Unfortunately for us, we chose possibly one of the warmest, sunniest Friday early evenings for a drink at Oriole.  While everyone was basking in the London sun on heaving terraces, we were under ground (under Smithfield), very much out of the sunshine, sipping cocktails.  This is clearly a night time haunt, preferably in the winter, when you don’t feel guilty for being inside.  And while we were quietly wishing we were outside, it didn’t take away from how stunning this bar really is.

Oriole, FarringdonOriole, Farringdon

I totally adored the interiors, all green leather banquettes, leafy wall paper, with a beautiful bar.  It screams exotic, sexy, alluring.  It is the ultimate date place, and if you like jazz, then all the better but they have live music performances seven nights a week.  It is the sister property of the award-winning Nightjar bar (which is always fully booked), and it’s gone for a similar vibe.  Booking a table is highly recommended (unless it’s a 30 degree Friday evening..).

Oriole, FarringdonOriole, Farringdon

The cocktails are sublime, even if the list is somewhat overwhelming.  Divided into Old World, New World and The Orient, these are not your run of the mill cocktails.  They are concocted with thought, and care, and the result is wonderful.   I opted for the Karachi Sour (Cana Brava Rum, sweet ume paste, yellow courgette, lemon and fresh sea herbs), leaning, as always, towards a fresh and citrusy drink.  It was also served in the prettiest glass (shaped as a fish).  Rob had an ‘Anchor Steam’ beer from California, which he really enjoyed.

Oriole, FarringdonOriole, Farringdon

They also had a very good food menu, and we really enjoyed an Asian version of padron peppers, and the most moorish black truffle croquettes.

We left after a drink, in search of sunnier places, however I loved this place and will definitely return when it’s raining outside.

Oriole

East Poultry Avenue,

London Central Markets,

London, EC1A 9LH

Photo credit: Oriole

Blog, Date Spot, Drink, Eat, London

Foley’s, Fitzrovia

August 13, 2016
Foleys, FItzrovia

Palomar is still up there with one of my all-time favourite London restaurants (and I also really loved its new sister restaurant the Barbary).  It’s not surprising therefore that Palomar’s Sous Chef Mitz Vora has opened a restaurant which blew me away, rivalling Palomar in standard and flavours.

I might be a little biased as I rocked up to the restaurant on a high (and a little merry) from a long afternoon at the wonderful Pergola on the Roof, in a very good mood. This was definitely helped by cocktails from the ‘outside’ bar at Foley’s, which I loved!  A further 50% off the food because of the soft launch meant that we all got very over-excited and ordered everything on the menu.  I think the only thing we missed off was a random salad.

Foleys, FItzrovia

Everything else we devoured completely.  Our favourites?  The ceviche endive tacos with tuna and octopus (heaven), the aubergine with pomegranate, quinoa and feta, the lamb and the beef.  But to be honest, I’d happily have all of it again.

Foleys, FItzroviaFoleys, FItzrovia

We finished it off with a few Espresso Martini cocktails (and again, moved outside for that – one has to take advantage of a warm summer’s evening).  These are not cheap, but are most definitely a way to emerge from any food coma.

A special mention should also go to the décor and the feel of the place.  It’s one of those restaurants with such a fun, upbeat vibe.  Unpretentious, down to earth, cool but not achingly (painfully) trendy.  The open plan kitchen is always welcome (next time I’ll sit at the kitchen counter, but a table is better for groups).   And it’s in Fitzrovia, which is just ideal in terms of location, not heaving with tourists, and a short walk into Soho if you’re looking for more after dinner party time.

Foleys, FItzrovia

Foley’s

23 Foley St,

London W1W 6DU

Photo credit: Foley’s

 

Blog, Date Spot, Drink, Eat, London

Restaurant Ours, South Kensington

July 10, 2016
Restaurant Ours, South Kensington

There are certain restaurants which live up to the hype, and some which don’t.  To be fair, Restaurant Ours hasn’t had much time to get hyped up (it’s fairly new) – but with a celebrity launch party and being the sister restaurant to Michelin star (and very much liked) Restaurant Story, let’s just say I had high expectations for Tom Sellers’ new venture.

It started well.  I tried booking a table for a Friday night on a Wednesday, was promptly told they were full (fair enough) and was told I would be put on a waiting list.  Then Friday came and Brexit happened (that’s not the good part) and I thought I’d call again to see if there had been any cancellations.  And luck had it, there had been a cancellation, and the table was mine at 7:30pm.

I thought I’d take my Dad to treat him.  But then walked in and realised pretty quickly this was not really his ‘scene’.  There’s no denying the place looks good – it’s taken over the impressive space which used to be the Pan-Asian restaurant Collection – and so everything, from the Japanese style walk way to the olive trees mid-restaurant, to the rest of the décor, is rather beautiful.  But then you get the super loud music, which makes it feel like you’re in some sort of ‘lounge bar’ (to be fair, there is a cocktail area upstairs to which the music is more suited), rather than an exclusive restaurant.  I didn’t have the guts to ask them to turn it down, I knew what the response would be.

Restaurant Ours, South KensingtonRestaurant Ours, South Kensington

Don’t get me wrong, I think this would be the ideal place for a weekend cocktail.  It’s fun and it’s great for people watching.  David Schwimmer came and sat next to us (I clarify: not with us), and it seems to be popular with girls who don’t really feel like wearing any clothes at all (much to my father’s amazement).  The clientele are a complete mixture of local rahs, Euro trash, semi celebs and high end escort girls.  Entertaining, there’s no denying that.

I also couldn’t really fault the food.  It was good, but not outstanding.  The (purple) vichy carrots were the only real let down.  The scallop (£12) and tuna for starters were delicious, but the portions so minute it was gone in seconds.  I think they had literally put one scallop on my plate and sliced it as thinly as possible to make it look like an actual portion.  My salmon for mains was good, as was my father’s lamb.  I was most excited about ‘Our’ chips, with pecorino and fois gras.  They were most definitely edible, but, like the rest of the menu, not memorable.

Restaurant Ours, South KensingtonRestaurant Ours, South KensingtonRestaurant Ours, South KensingtonRestaurant Ours, South Kensington

So now you’re probably wondering what’s so wrong with this place?  Sadly, the most important thing about a restaurant: the service.  I noticed the minute we arrived how many staff they had, and at first I was impressed.  Then I quickly noticed how inefficient and incompetent the staff actually were (and their uniforms are exceptionally bad too). When you’re at a good restaurant you usually have one or two people serving your table.  Here we had – no joke, I counted – 8 people.  They were all perfectly sweet and well-meaning but were also pretty useless.  One couldn’t open a bottle of wine, so my father did it.  The other didn’t know what a ‘carpaccio’ was.  Another didn’t speak any English at all really.  There was no communication or coordination between the staff.  It was a big mess.

Such a shame.  Perhaps if they sorted this the place would be worth the (extremely expensive) bill.  But, apart from perhaps a fun cocktail on a Friday night, I won’t be running back here any time soon.

Restaurant Ours

264 Brompton Road

Blog, Date Spot, Drink, London

The Victorian Bath House, City of London

April 21, 2016
The Victorian Bath House, City of London

It’s not often that you find a hidden cocktail bar in a churchyard, let alone in the City of London.  But London is full of surprises, as is this new venue from Camm & Hoopers (known for Tanner & Co, and various other event spaces in the City).  If I hadn’t googled images, I would never have found this wonderful little bar.

The Victorian Bath House, City of London

Why did I like it?  Firstly, you can book a table.  Ideal.  There’s nothing worse than being turned away from a bar on a Friday night.  It is therefore the perfect date place, and great to combine with dinner at the new Pitt Cue around the corner, or ‘posh fish & chips’ at Des McDonald’s The Fish & Chip shop, or, if you get a table, fantastic Thai food at the newly opened Som Saa.  It’s all happening in and around the City these day.

The Victorian Bath House, City of London

Secondly, the interiors are quite spectacular, and unexpected.  It feels like you’ve walked into Alhambra (a slightly kitsch version perhaps!).  It’s dark and hushed, but not in a sterile way.  There’s a lot to look at – both decor and people wise.  The cocktail menu is quite unusual, with a number of quite over-complicated sounding cocktails, and lots of different versions of G&Ts.  I had the lavender and rosemary one which was delicious.

The Victorian Bath House, City of London

They also have a lovely terrace, which will be ideal for post work drinks in the summer.  I love the contrast between the Grade II listed building, and the modern, tall glass skyscrapers it is surrounded by.   You can even rent out the whole space for what would certainly be a dinner to remember.

The Victorian Bath House

7 – 8 Bishopsgate

London EC2M 3TJ

Photo credit: The Victorian Bath House

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