Fashion Features & Entertainment Assistant, Josie Ayre heads to Holborn for some fine dining...
You can’t turn a corner in Knightsbridge and Mayfair in London without happening upon a posh hotel. The Ritz, Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley all line the streets of these familiar haunts ready for those patrons with bottomless pockets looking for upscale rooms in the city. But what about Holborn? Not the most obvious tube stop you’d pop into your Google search for accommodation, but perhaps it should be.
The Rosewood London opened in 2013 and has made a name for itself as being one of the chicest stopovers in the city with the bonus of plenty of options for dinner and drinks and this reputation is due for another boost after the arrival of French master chef, Amandine Chaignot who recently joined as executive chef overseeing the hotel’s kitchens and restaurants including the picture perfect Mirror Room.
From my first step into the hotel, I was already a fan. The décor is so luxurious it is a little bit intimidating but the staff are anything but exuding a friendly and helpful manner which makes you feel at ease. After a rushed morning, I arrived clad in scuffed flat boots, jeans and a jumper which has seen better times while my partner was in trainers (shock horror) and frankly, a little bit scared we may be scoffed at and asked to leave but there was nothing of the sort.
We were kindly greeted with champagne, a box of flavours which inspired Amandine’s autumn menu – think mushrooms and chestnuts – and a menu which encouraged us to start with a series of refined canapés. We ordered the Foie Gras and Blackcurrant and Shrimps and Sweetcorn Tempura ones. While the shrimp was perhaps a tad over-battered they were still crisp and packed with flavor. It was, however, the foie gras lollipops that stole the show. If I could start all my meals with these, I would.
For starters we decided to order the Chicken Quenelles with sautéed wild mushrooms and poulette sauce as well as the Seared Scottish Grouse Carpaccio, smoked salsify and girolle puree. The Scottish grouse was deliciously fresh and well accompanied but it was the chicken quenelles which garnered the biggest reaction. Within the first mouthful I uttered ‘my god, that’s [expletive] good.’ Don’t share this dish, keep it all for yourself and don’t be embarrassed to lick the bowl.
For mains it was a fillet of Venison with celeriac and confit quince and poivrade sauce and the pan seared John Dory, meadow-sweet beurre blanc and savoy cabbage; two dishes which are both great for different reasons. The John Dory was sweet, lemony, soft and fresh feeling; it’s a dish for someone who doesn’t want to come away feeling too heavy and over-indulged, while the Venison – which came pink to perfection – is to the contrary.
While we’d previously decided to only indulge in a starter and main, we were convinced by the dessert menu to go the whole hog and ordered the Maple Pecan and Blackberry and Apple desserts. Both were delightful and while I usually scoff at a sorbet in favour of a hearty ice cream, the Apple sorbet and freeze dried Blackberries stole my heart.
I hate to admit it that I’m not the biggest wine connoisseur. Until recently I would go into a shop and hunt out the second to cheapest bottle, however, the sommelier at the Rosewood might just have convinced me that this tactic isn’t one to hold on to. She didn’t scoff at my admission but walked me through why certain wines were chosen to accompany dishes and made the whole thing seem quite interesting with her storytelling. I may not be hooked on my reds just yet, but I’m certainly on my way now.
With full bellies we exited the restaurant both agreeing that we’d hope to be back soon and upon leaving the hotel through the bronze corridor that has achieved a somewhat notable level of Insta-fame, I had to add my own photo to the mix. After snapping and posting, one of my girlfriends swiftly commented ‘possibly my favourite place in London’ and I reader, I just had to agree.