Until recently Holborn had been something of a non-place between Covent Garden and Bloomsbury; well connected, but not really a destination. Puzzling, as it has indie theatres, a burgeoning academic and media population, and served as the starting point for new fast-food outlets such as Kimchee. The Rosewood Hotel, newly opened, is set to change all of that.
It features three recreational spaces (so far), each with their own unique edge, each offering something different without any room feeling like a second/third fiddle to the others.
+ seamless service, from the door staff, to the very knowledgeable bar staff, to the self-deprecating waiters
+ a varied and reasonably priced menu. Does one of your party want a steak, while the other wants an antipasti platter, and another wants a cake and coffee? No problem! The house red is gluggable yet not forgettable (a herault)
+ the cocktail list is short, but while sitting at the bar waiting for my friend, I got chatting to the bar staff and it quickly became clear that they were confident enough to create anything off-menu to spec. Which at £8-10 a drink is worth the risk.
– the selection for vegetarians is slim; a salad, a soup, a tart, and a risotto. Not terribly inspiring.
Scarfes Bar (controversial thusfar among the bigger reviewers)
+ Beautiful surroundings, reminiscent of The Zetter Townhouse’s older, more conservative brother
+ Attentive francophone staff with a sense of humour, very personal service
– the quality: price ratio of the drinks is a bit disappointing having come from HDR. The menu is more adventurous but about 30% more, and the two drinks we had were long and fluffy, but not really *interesting*.
All in all, perhaps best suited for a coffee date, or tapping away at your laptop/studies in front of the open fire.
+ Slightly more exotic offering cuisine-wise, with a mediterranean/organic menu
+ More classic/stylish lounge feel compared to the other spaces, with private dining and kitchen areas.
+ Afternoon tea (which we didn’t try) is £39 a head with unlimited refills – worth a punt, depending on their offering
+ The cocktail menu is exclusively classics which, judinging by the brands on show, purport to be excellent value for money.
– Does it offer the wow factor that would make one want to travel to Holborn? I think a visit in the summer, when the adjacent terrace will be open, will make that decision.