Venetia van Kuffeler reviews Holborn Dining Room
Previously the East Banking Hall of Pearl Assurance, Holborn Dining Room is the newly opened Rosewood London hotel’s grand brasserie. Designed by Martin Brudnizki, the restaurant’s interior matches the traditional British cuisine. With head-turning chandeliers, reclaimed oak furnishings, antique mirrors and leather upholstery, the restaurant oozes decadence, and is still fashionably ‘new’, hence there’s plenty of opportunity for people watching.
Operated by Des McDonald and his team (with more than 20 years’ experience running some of London’s most renowned restaurants), expectations were high. The dining room adjoins Holborn Delicatessen, which includes a bar and dining counter fashioned from aged copper and patina brass. Guests can also dine al fresco on the terrace in the hotel’s peaceful inner courtyard – tables are certain to be in high demand this summer.
The menu is largely seasonal, locally sourced British cuisine, and is divided into eight categories: bar snacks, cold counter, hot counter, grill, English kitchen, sides, sandwiches and afters.
Seated on a red-leather banquette with tweed detailing, my husband and I were well placed to survey the room. The Holborn Dining Room is as much a good place for a convivial meal with friends as it is for a spontaneous pint and burger after work, or a more elaborate affair. We noticed several seafood platters (oysters, Dublin Bay prawns or even caviar) being demolished at nearby tables.
For our first course, our competent waiter recommended scallops ‘a la plancha’ with spiced lentils for me (rich but very tasty) and dressed Cornish crab for my husband. He was a fan. For my main course, I enjoyed a tranche of halibut in Béarnaise sauce with a side of peas, carrots and shoots. The halibut was meaty and delicious, and my husband declared his roast rib-eye club cut with pepper sauce and crispy onions ‘a triumph’.
Completely unnecessary, but we decided to share some puddings: Valrhona chocolate with sweet cream, and St Clements Posset with shortbread. We were more than satisfied by the end of our three courses – groaning a little, even.
Next time, I plan to eat at one of the copper-topped bars, in the hope that sitting somewhere a little less comfortable might encourage us to eat less!
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