My word, is this place beautiful.
We stumbled onto the HDR and were glad for it. My hangover needed as much food as it could stomach.
The atmosphere is reminiscent of a Corbin and King venture (always a good thing) and the cocktail menu is uncomplicated and unique without trying too hard. The bright room with its shades of red, creams and whites accentuated with gold linings create a peculiar vibe of Vienna-cum-Manhattan, and is successfully versatile as a venue. Expect to see a roughly equal mix of dates, couples, families and friends on a lunch out. On that note, the venue looks its best in the daytime.
The enormous venue houses a bar, large dining area, and charcuterie counter with seats. The hot and cold counter menus provide more than enough choice for bites in the side of your drink with reasonable prices.
Unless you’re dining, do get a seat at the bar for the rousing chats with the bartenders. With drinks reasonably priced, you really can’t say no to a second. It may be a short list, but it is effective. The Highlander (Bulleit Borboun, spiced honey, hazelnut) does the job with its simplicity and perfectly reflects the bar’s feel of modern unpretentious sophistication.
The one drink that seemed out of place, yet worked wonderfully was the Camden Town Treacle: Havana rum combined with fresh apple juice and ‘Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Reduction’, was just the right combo of sweet and tart. And who knew rum and black ale reduction created whiskey? Which makes one wonder if it would work as just ‘Whiskey and apple juice’?
But you can’t go wrong with the cigar-esque Montecristo Daiquiri, tobacco infused Havana rum, vanilla liqueur and lime juice – sweeter on the nose than expected, but the rush of flavours upon the first sip need a few moments on the palette to separate.
The quintessentially British menu is absolutely worth the money (Starters at roughly 8 pounds, Sirloin steak at 24), and cooked to perfection. If there is any complaint regarding the food, it would be the menu, which desperately needs more vegetarian options that are not the tired mushroom risotto. Speaking with the manager, it seems this problem had been mentioned before, and the main launch would consider more original options for vegetarians.
Service was blameless. Upbeat and on the ball bartenders and waiters make the service worth it. Definitely look forward to returning.
Holborn Dining Room
252 High Holborn,
London WC1V 7EN