The bar is utterly gorgeous and a perfect place to spend the winter evenings with its dramatic fireplace, bookshelves as walls and comfortable chairs.
The latest addition to the Rosewood London’s food and beverage outlets is the Holborn Dining Room, a British brasserie and bar with an adjoining delicatessen.
Previously the East Banking Hall of Pearl Assurance (and more recently the site of Jun Tanaka’s acclaimed Pearl restaurant), Holborn Dining Room’s interiors retain the grand elements of the original building with the addition of dramatic chandeliers, antique mirrors and leather upholstery that I saw described as ‘Routemaster red’.
The design is classic Martin Brudnizki and sits somewhere between that of Balthazar in Covent Garden, The Gilbert Scott and 34 in Mayfair, the last two also being Martin’s creations, and some of my favourite London restaurant designs.
Arriving on a Friday evening in the first week of opening, Holborn Dining Room instantly feels like the ideal place for a catch up with friends with its sexy low lighting, tables arranged in various clusters and buzzy atmosphere despite the vast size of the room (over 200 covers in total).
The menu is divided into eight sections: Cured Meats, Cold Counter, Hot Counter, Crustacea, Hot Kitchen, Sides, Sandwiches and Afters, all with a very British feel and description.
Scallops ‘a la plancha’ came with delicious spiced lentils and pressed ham hock with piccalilli and sourdough was robust and satisfying.
Mains include plenty of classics such as sirloin steak, lamb chops, roast chicken and fish and chips. My rib eye ‘club cut’ with pepper sauce and crispy onions was hugely enjoyable, although a side portion of chips was undercooked for my tastes.
A huge tranche of halibut with béarnaise sauce went down well, but the HDR beef burger did not – my guest thought the simplicity of the burger in a bun with no relish or extras with sauce on the side was disappointing.
Desserts were all very good and the evening ended on a high note – the ‘Afters’ include retro classics like boozy sherry trifle, steamed treacle and whisky pudding, bakewell tart, baked rice pudding and St Clements posset, and a selection of British cheese.
If you don’t have time to sit down for lunch or weekend brunch, try Holborn Dining Room’s delicatessen, which has a separate entrance on high Holborn, offering coffee, sandwiches, soups and salads to take away. My weekend mornings just got a whole lot better.
If you visit for dinner, I would highly recommend that you visit Scarfes Bar for a pre or post dinner drink (or both) – the excellent cocktails and joyful live music will really add to your evening.
One of Rosewood London’s most dramatic features is its inner courtyard, where guests will now be able to eat alfresco at Holborn Dining Room’s Terrace, which seats up to 50.
A peaceful alfresco restaurant in London is something rather rare – something to look forward to in the summer.