Holborn Dining Room & Delicatessen, Holborn

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, British
Damage££
Ideal for: Date, Small Groups, Large Groups, Food

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.

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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.

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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.

Drinks: ****
Atmosphere: *****
Service: ****

 

Holborn Dining Room

252 High Holborn,
London WC1V 7EN

www.holborndiningroom.com/‎

Scarfes Bar, High Holborn

Type of Bar: Hotel, Lounge
Damage£££ – ££££
Ideal for: Date, Meetings

 

My friend put it best: The Scarfes Bar looks like the Zetter Townhouse‘s conservative older brother. The design is impeccable, the three major dominating aspects of the room: the enormous fireplace, the mirror above it, and the central chandelier work together instead of clashing in their shameless grandiosity. The dress code for the venue is ‘casual’, so expect to see business meetings or couples coming over from the Holborn Dining Room across the hall.

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Staff and young and snazzy, and take a while getting around the giant room. The cocktail list is short, but off-menu classics can be ordered. Rather unlike the Zetter Townhouse, though, drinks are long and refreshing.

These aren’t usually my style, so I had to keep an open mind when my Seine River Fizz (Grey Goose vodka, Domaine de Canton ginger, lime juice, basil leaves, Fentimans Victorian lemonade – topped with a cap of Elderflower foam) arrived. I was pleasantly surprised that I had actually enjoyed it, although I have to admit that without the elderflower foam, the drink would have lost any and all character. The initial punch of Elderflower really makes the drink what it is. In fact, it is the major hit on the nose, and the flavour for the first half of the drink. The last half certainly has a slight basil flavour, without becoming too green and intense, which might be a good thing. The ginger, though, is barely detectable.

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If there is any unfortunate aspect to anything, is that drinks range between 12.50 and 14.50 pounds. 11 or 12 I would have been happy to pay for my Seine River Fizz – 14.50, not as much. A mate echoed my sentiments on their drinks.

In any case, this beautiful bar’s long drinks and highballs are certainly worth a visit for if that is indeed your favour in drinks, otherwise, I’m afraid I can’t exactly recommend it, not for what they charge. Although I can see myself coming here for a coffee date and to study, with the incredible environment.

I have yet to try the Mirror Bar at the hotel, but have higher hopes for it.

Drinks:**? Perhaps ***?
Atmosphere: *****
Service: ***

 

Scarfes Bar
Rosewood Hotel,
252 High Holborn,
London WC1V 7EN

www.scarfesbar.com/‎