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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Playing Safe at Holborn Dining Room!

Sometimes I wonder how much my gluttonous cravings will get me into trouble, as the waistband increases, weekday bedtimes are pushed past a reasonable hour too often, and the bank balance teeters rather precariously between zero and minus sums. I am not at all helped either, by my natural propensity to say "yes" to almost anything socially adventurous, except of course, all things I unequivocally know would evoke anger, irrational fear and/or imminent displeasure (bungee jumping, eating insects, or visiting Benidorm, for example). I remember a time when all my spare pennies sank into a feckless pit of handbags, shoes, snakebite and dancing, then as I primitively evolved, I consolidated this into a colourful medley of cheap boxed wine and gin (not together, you understand!), flip flops in every colour, and a blatant travel addiction...these days, as the growing [old] continues, the burning desire to explore worlds unknown remains (albeit now with a little more philosophical retrospection and considered forethought), but the goon has been replaced by Chablis and 7p noodles have been gracefully usurped by culinary feasting! 

I've realised over the years that one doesn't always have to be lost to explore, and the best adventures can indeed, sometimes be found on your doorstep! London is a city with a brash shell and a wondrous soul, radiant and addictive. Not only can I do almost anything I whimsically imagine at any time of the day, but I can dance my way around the world and eat fare from every culture imaginable (except authentic Chiacgo pizza pie - never been able to get my hands on that artery-blocking masterpiece here - humph!). There are posh restaurants, popular chain outlets, simple cafes, inventive pop-ups, fast food joints, Asian canteens, theatrical diners and interactive bars, all served up from decadent dining rooms, cavernous brasseries, minuscule beach shacks, portable trucks, grimy basements, banquet tunnels and open markets. I can eat Indian, Nepalese, Thai, Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Moroccan, Middle Eastern, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Austrian, Spanish, Scandinavian, American, Brazilian, Argentine, Peruvian and Mexican with ease, and don't even get me started on all the various fusion concepts opening up all over town...the list goes on and on..and on! With all that on offer then, what do I choose next?! Bloody British! How terribly ironic! 

What can I say?! I saw the Shrimp Burger (£14.50) on the brunch menu recently and I'd not stopped wondering about it since...surely everyone loves a burger fix every now and then, don't they?! Roll up, roll up Holborn Dining Room at the [still] relatively new Rosewood Hotel.

It's not too often that I indulge in fine dining at 5* hotels on my own dime, so it should be a testament to how thoroughly lovely the entire setting is for this property, centred around a grand Edwardian courtyard. Once inside, all the public spaces are 
beautifully balanced between slick masculine themes and gentle traditional tones - think black marble with birdcages and worn leather! Since you enter the large open plan brasserie style dining room from the street though, you will miss out on the hotel side of things, so I won't linger on it either.

The dining room itself if buzzy and reminiscent of Brasserie Zedal at first glance, but infact could be any universally accepted suit-clad brasserie. We were seated promptly, greeted with enthusiasm and very well looked after throughout our meal, despite the place getting filling up very quickly - just in time then, to grab an overpriced gin at Scarfs Bar next door (it may have been worth it too, if the jazz had started on time, but hey what's a band to do when something goes wrong with the new pinspot lighting?!). 

Owing to the casual ambience oozing from this capacious dining room, it's easy to forget that you're in a 5* restaurant - the prices aren't jaw-dropping either (though it could be tremendously easy to spend a disgusting amount lot of money if you weren't careful). Starters range from £8.50 - £15.50 and you can get a posh chicken pie for £16.50 (Chicken Girolle Pie with Wychwood cider and tarragon). A 15oz Diver Sole will set you back £39.00 and 45-day Aged Cornish Rare Breed Sirloin  £29.75; you can pick up Guinea Fowl with morels, wild garlic and braised leg croquette for £23.50, and thanks to our wonderful waiter, we were lucky enough to indulge in the aforementioned Shrimp Burger, which ordinarily only features on the brunch menu - it was delicious, even if a little safe. If you eat here, be sure not to miss the side dishes, by the way! The Mac & Cheese (£5.50) and Truffle & Parmesan Fries (£5.50) were both sublime and I was pleased to see a very reasonably priced dessert menu, all very humble by design - I had the Steamed Marmalade Sponge with Drambuie Sauce (£6.50) and it was scrummy, even if again a little safe.

I have no doubt that Holborn Dining Room will continue to be a popular hotspot for the varied masses - it's great for business meals, friendly catching up, and family dining alike, even if it is [again] all very safe - not necessarily something that will leave you dribbling for more, but the food, d├ęcor and ambience are all good, familiar (almost homely), and altogether rather tasty. 

Do I like it? Yes, but not because it left me excited, inspired or invigorated.. 

Would I go back? Yes, but not because any one element was enough to make my head spin. 

Will I recommend it to others? Of course, but only when you need to play safe with a suit!

Square Meal Holborn Dining Room on Urbanspoon

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