If there is a formula for the perfect British brasserie, it would undoubtedly involve plush leather upholstery, polished marble floors, a sprinkling of copper and more than a hint of oak. Akin to a stately gentlemen’s club, the service would be impeccable, while the cooking wouldn’t offend diners’ palates or risk displacing older patrons’ teeth. If anyone should know how to set up such a restaurant it’s Des McDonald, who after 20 years running Caprice Holdings is behind this new hotel dining room.
From the comfort of the red leather and tartan-trimmed banquettes in the sweeping expanse of his retro dining room, you can tuck into a range of classic British cooking, diner-style dishes and homely desserts, while a host of smart waiters attend to your every need. True to form, the food is mostly subtly flavoured and soft-textured.
A starter of roasted langoustine saw the sweet shellfish enveloped in a pleasing garlic and butter sauce simply presented in a cast-iron pan. A main of ‘hock and coq pudding’ turned out to be more racy in name than flavour, with tender strips of chicken and ham encased in a pastry shell, framed by a bright green parsley sauce.
The Holborn Dining Room may not serve the most exciting food in the capital, but it’s comforting, won’t scare the maiden aunts or the in-laws, and is an appealing place to get away from the chaos of modern London.