And it doesn’t get much more English than the Holborn Dining Room & Delicatessen in the newly-opened Rosewood London.
Housed in what was the East Banking Hall of Pearl Assurance, the interior is grand – impressive chandeliers, reclaimed oak furnishings, antique mirrors and leather upholstery – and yet perfectly intimate and unpretentious – soft candlelight, chatty, smiley waiters and a soundtrack of The Beatles and David Bowie’s epic hits. Perfect.
Holborn Dining Room is the latest venture from renowned restaurateur and ex-Ivy chef, Des McDonald. This means the bar is set high, but this place vaults over it with Olympic-level flair. Tempted by the aged meats calling us from the charcuterie, we only resisted when our waiter’s recommendations confirmed our favourites from the cold and hot counter – a steak tartar from the former and a goat’s cheese and red onion tart from the latter. Both were perfect for their own reasons, and my dining partner and I shared each one with enthusiasm. I was surprised to see corned beef hash on a five-star menu, and I was even more surprised when I heard myself ordering it, but I was convinced Holborn Dining Room would turn this working-class fodder into something special, and I was right.
A fried duck egg sat atop the salty beef and potatoes, with a dash of Tabasco and Lea & Perrins the perfect addition to this tasty comfort food. My dining partner’s lamb chops with bubble and squeak was delightfully pink and tender, although we both agreed I had won the battle of the mains. I also went on to win the war with my boozy treacle and whisky pudding with custard. Drool.
Behind the bar:
The cocktails are killer – I recommend the frothy but fiery Fire Side Sour and oh-so-smooth Montecristo Daiquiri. There are a couple of English sparkling wines, but a bottle of Californian Zinfandel matched our meal perfectly.
Starters average around £8.50, mains £15, puddings £6.50.
Makes us proud to be temporarily British.
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