"Fabulous grand brasserie with fabulous food"Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
I must have walked past this building a thousand times. I had assumed that if it had a restaurant and bar it would be typical hotel fare. And I have often lamented the scarcity of truly good eating establishments in Midtown, smack bang in the heart of Holborn and a five minute walk from Covent Garden.
So I was pleased when one of my nearby clients booked a table for an informal business lunch there. When you walk in there is immediate impact as the place is vast – much like the converted banking halls in the City and not too dissimilar from One Lombard Street.
There is a large, spacious bar to the side (bet that’s busy in the evenings!) with some open booths if you are just stopping for a drink but the restaurant area is open and lively. And with a hint of traditional French grand brasserie about it but in a tasteful English way. Fabulous.
The staff were efficient without being rushed, pleasant and softly spoken. Other clientele looked mostly like informal business lunches with pairs and small groups.
The glass of house white (£5.50) was perfectly chilled and so good that I was tempted to request another. There was an impressively extensive drinks menu listing all manner of soft drinks, fruit juices, cocktails and spirits before you reached the wine section.
At first glance the brunch menu looked rather limited. The eggs and sandwiches section contained interesting dishes such as smoked salmon & scrambled eggs (£14), eggs Florentine (£12), corned beef hash with a
fried duck egg (£9) and steak sandwich (£15).
But on closer inspection there were a variety of starters and mains.
My companion chose an octopus dish to start. A surprisingly large piece of tentacle arrived but the taste was sensational – tender and smoky – which went perfectly with the chorizo and sauce presented. I opted for the more traditional Isle of Wight tomato salad with small balls of mozzarella (£9). A selection of Autumnal coloured heritage tomato slices – not too chilly – and a light basil dressing. Perfect for post-Christmas waistlines.
Other starter options included: smoked salmon (£15), parmesan roasted pumpkin and pickled walnut salad (£9), steak tartare (£9) and smashed avocado and tomato on toasted muffin (£6/£8). There were several other seafood options also.
For the main course my companion received a veritable chunk of firm, flaky white cod balanced skilfully on some wilted spinach and a rich, piquant chutney-like sauce. Meanwhile, I was a little less restrained and ordered the shrimp burger which was firm and full of large chunks of plump prawns with a subtle jalapeno tartare hidden in a shiny brioche bun (£14). I requested a side of chips (£4). Happily, the ketchup provided was Heinz.
Other mains included favourites such as fish and chips with mushy peas (£17), beef burger (£14), fried chicken sandwich with mustard relish (£11) and smoked haddock with a poached egg (£17). And there were some interesting alternatives such as: Crab hash (£10) and acorn squash and spelt risotto with roasted ceps (£16.50) so there were choices for vegetarians.
The menu also indicates that roasts are served on Sundays.
We didn’t get as far as the puddings which looked excellent but the coffee was very good.
Whilst it was a bit pricey, the fabulously high quality environment, buzzy but tasteful atmosphere, central location and excellent English fare means that it will probably become one of my go-to places for business lunches and informal dinners in Holborn.
KimT reviewed Holborn Dining Room & Delicatessen on Wed 06 Jan 2016