Holborn Dining Room: Formula for success

The owners of the Rosewood Hotel seem – after several iterations – to have hit upon a winning formula for their restaurant. Dining in hotels can often be anti-climactic, particularly given the plethora of other potentially more exciting options nearby. Meanwhile Holborn has perennially suffered, despite all efforts to rebrand the district as ‘midtown’, from having neither the draw of the West End or the City. How to fix this? Simple. Create an all-day brasserie of modern British classics with a few twists. It’s worked for years at the likes of the Wolseley or the more recently renovated the Ned. Similar to the latter, the Rosewood benefits from a glorious history and diners get to enjoy the spacious marble-pillared room which used to house Pearl Assurance. Look carefully and you can even see the markings where the former desks were affixed to the floor. The room has now been refurbished to resemble an old-school gentleman’s club (think comfy banquette sofas) with some cool tweaks (check the art deco style lighting). The menu is mercifully brief and simply displayed. Beyond around a dozen each of starters and mains, diners also have the option of choosing from a seafood or cold counter as well as from a selection of pies and roasts. My comrade who had chosen the venue recommended we began by sharing a Scotch Egg – currently a very on-trend offering and apparently the winner of the ‘Scotch Egg Challenge’, per our menu. It looked beautiful with a wonderfully orange yolk that tasted deliciously rich and comforting, although I felt I had enjoyed better (say, at 67 Pall Mall), with this one somewhat let down by the slightly too salty meat around said egg. Onto the mains, and while my comrade opted for a hard-to-fault fish & chips (done well, this can be incredibly satisfying), I ventured for their daily fish special. This comprised pan-fried hake, served with gazpacho, heirloom tomatoes and almonds. It was an innovative and attractive composition (see photo), which showed ample demonstration of what the kitchen here is capable of. Even on a Monday lunchtime, the venue felt lively, further evidence that they are doing something right. My only quibble might be service. At times, it felt a little too intrusive and eager-to-please, while the offer to take my comrade’s plate away before he had clearly finished his main spoke simply of poor training. Nonetheless, in the final assessment, this is a well-needed and positive addition to dining options in the Holborn area.