On Tuesday the news spread pretty quickly around the office that the Holborn Dining Room had soft-launched and were offering 50% off food until Sunday. Fast forward 10 minutes and my lovely colleague Claire (from the fashion blog Vogue Is The Villain) had booked us a table for lunch. As we work on the same road it would have been rude not to!
The Holborn Dining Room is housed within the beautiful Rosewood Hotel London complex on High Holborn, mere steps from Holborn tube station and minutes from Covent Garden. The decor is wonderfully retro; from when you walk in through the solid wood revolving door to take your seat in one of the ‘Routemaster red’ booths, the old-school vibe is everywhere (right down to the brass spray can for the table disinfectant!) But it’s done absolutely beautifully, with the simple, elegant touches you’d come to expect from designer Martin Brudnizki (well-known for Jackson & Rye, Le Caprice and The Rib Room to name a few.)
The menu is brasserie style, and is broken up into sections – see the Holborn Dining Room website for details. The waiter informed us on arrival that a few dishes were sold out – we had only managed to get a table quite late into lunch service, and as it was their first day I wasn’t too surprised. I ordered from the Hot Kitchen, and Claire from the Cold Counter – unfortunately my first choice (Hoq and Cock Pudding) also turned out to be sold out so I went with the Corned Beef Hash plus a side of chips.
The portion sizes were very good as you can see! The corned beef hash was cooked perfectly – as was the fried duck egg, with a lovely runny yolk. My only issue was that it was slightly over-salted, though that is often unavoidable with corned beef, and for me wasn’t so overpowering that it was inedible by any stretch (it was still delicious) but may be a bit too much for some. The chips were probably some of the best I’ve eaten in London – perfectly crunchy on the outside while soft and fluffy on the inside. Claire’s choice of a Chicken Salad with Avocado and Smoked Bacon also turned out to be a good one – she mentioned the chicken was tasty and the salad itself had a citrus glaze which stopped it being too dry. Two very clean plates!
We couldn’t stop ourselves when it came to “Afters” and ordered the Valhrona Chocolate with Sweet Cream and the Steamed Whiskey and Treacle Pudding with Custard. They were like heaven on earth. The chocolate was smooth and rich, but not bitter, and had a crisped top similar to a creme brulee which added a welcome crunch. The whiskey and treacle pudding was decadent in the best way possible – lots of treacle, lots of whiskey, and lots of vanilla in the tasty custard!
Personally, I really enjoyed our lunch. The venue is gorgeous! It’s a shame that some dishes were unavailable, but those we tried were lovely. The service was all with a smile and very helpful (we consulted on which desserts would be quickest to order, seeing as we had to get back from our lunch break.) I moaned when we first got there and tried to enter through the delicatessen, only to be told to go back out into the pouring rain to the other door further down the street; I don’t think that’s necessarily a good welcome, considering the door was open! but the rest of the experience outweighed it, so much so I almost forgot until I got to the end of this review! I look forward to using it for lunches with clients – who no doubt will be suitably impressed. Then there’s always brunch on the weekend… and dinner with friends…Holborn Dining Room has a soft launch offer of 50% off food running until Sunday 23rd Feb. Full opening on 24th Feb. See http://holborndiningroom.com for details and how to book.
If you would like to read some of my other London restaurant reviews, see below: