Okay, so you’ve probably heard aaaaaall about The Ned (and seen perfectly filtered snaps of it plastered all over your Instagram feed). I'm sure you already know it's a humongous new hotel and members’ club from the people behind Soho House. It's in an old bank and has 11 floors, with 252 bedrooms and several pools. Including one on the roof (obvs). But what about those ‘nine restaurants and bars’, some of which are even open to us plebs? Here’s the deal.
1. It’s kind of not nine restaurants and bars. Not really. It feels more like three. If you ignore the members’ restaurant (oak-panelled steakhouse Lutyens Grill) and the members’ bar (The Vault Room, in the old basement vaults), the rest is pretty much one mega-restaurant in what used to be the main banking hall. Imagine a giant food hall, but with different ‘restaurant’ zones under one ridiculously high roof, each serving a different menu. Sort of Harrods Food Hall meets The Wolseley.
2. The one public drinking place – The Nickel Bar – is a round cocktail bar in the corner, where you can perch. It has a few banquettes and those two-person micro-booths everyone’s so keen on right now.
3. Each of the five ‘restaurant areas’ has a slightly different style (but it’s pretty subtle and there are no signs. People wandering around ‘looking a bit lost’ is a bit of a thing here. Luckily there are plenty of flunkies to direct traffic).
4. Millie’s Lounge is the most distinct, as it actually looks like a hotel lounge, all armchairs and carpets. This means it has slightly better acoustics. Definitely the one to take your mum to.
5. The rest are what you’d imagine eating in a vast space with lots of hard surfaces sounds like. Man, it’s loud. In the evenings, there’s live music, too, from a raised central stage. Which pumps the volume up even higher. Hey, if you’re a fan of hotel bar covers of the White Stripes and Pharrell, that’s cool. Maybe don’t bring Simon Cowell, though.
6. If you like to sit at a table (more space for food, right?), head to the smaller, more intimate spaces, like Malibu Kitchen (Californian raw food and grills) or Café Sou (Parisian brasserie grub – though it hasn’t opened yet).
7. Otherwise, perch at Zobler’s (for kosher-style deli food) or Kaia (for poké-plus-robata), which both have long counters across the corridor up to the lobby. Eating at Cecconi’s? The best seats, IMHO, are up at the counter. Ask for the round counter right in the middle.
8. Dress code? Err, none. Soho House was famed for its ‘no suits’ policy, but let’s face it, trying to do that a coin’s throw from the Bank of England would be really stupid. I’ve been in heels and in Converse. Both are totally fine.
9. So far we’ve visited The Nickel Bar, Cecconi’s, Kaia, Malibu Kitchen and Zobler’s Deli – check back for reviews of Millie’s Lounge in the next week or two (and Café Sou when it actually opens). Overall conclusion: food that’s decent, rather than dazzling, in good-looking spaces with great service. Classic Soho House, basically.
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