London’s hip new Hotel Bars & Restaurants

We’re prone to overlooking hotel restaurants and bars in favour of independents, but the recent flurry of new openings are exciting enough to lure in Londoners:

Best for a holiday vibe without leaving London: Seabird at The Hoxton, Southwark

The Hoxton hotels (also in Shoreditch and Holborn as well as Amsterdam, Paris, Williamsburg and LA) always manage to generate a buzz about them, and their latest outpost in Southwark is no different. Zip on up in the lift to the sky-high restaurant, Seabird and step out in vacation-mode. There’s rattan chairs, swaying palms and a sea of young waiters in linen suits just waiting to bring you a cocktail or deliver a platter of oysters from ‘the longest oyster list in London’. It’s a little chilly for anything more than a drink on the spectacular roof terrace just now, but this will be the ultimate summer hangout from which to spot London’s landmarks stretching out from Big Ben to the Shard. Inside bag a high stool at the raw bar that glints with crushed ice and gleams with lobsters and crabs; seafood of course, is order of the day. The Basque-inspired menu includes crab croquettes with saffron aioli, enormous sharing platters of whelks, clams, mussels and prawns, delicately-spiced John Dory, punchy papas arrugadas – salty new potatoes and manchego cheesecake for dessert. On a Friday night the space fills up late into the evening with a heady atmosphere; it’s a restaurant ready for good times.

Best for classic British cuisine: Charlie’s at Browns Hotel  

After a short stint as the Italian-inspired Beck, the restaurant at Brown’s hotel has returned to a classic British menu with the opening of Charlie’s this autumn. Pinching Head Chef Adam Byatt from Michelin-starred Trinity in Clapham was a very good move; he brings a contemporary edge to the dishes. Try the courgette flowers with truffle honey, beef tartare made with Lake District filet and delicious wild turbot with palourde clams and chilli. What we really loved though, were the simple plates that reminded us of nursery tea; comforting shepherds pie, buttery mashed potatoes and hot chocolate pud with malted milk ice cream – all done to perfection. The smart interiors by Olga Polizzi nod to the Jungle Book (supposedly finished in one of the bedrooms upstairs when Rudyard Kipling came to stay) with tropical wallpaper and velvet sofas adding a bit of zip to classic white tablecloths and silver trolley service.

Best for Saturday night drinks with friends: Isla at The Standard 

Anyone who’s been to The Standard in New York or its other US hot-spots will know what the fuss is all about surrounding its arrival in London. Much more than a place to stay, The Standard is a place to party. Camden’s former town hall buildings now feature a pill-box red bubble lift zooming up and down the brutalist facade, whilst the interiors have been transformed into a 70’s wonderland. Dinner at Isla (coming from British Isles) is all about sharing plates – ‘from the sea’, ‘from the land’, ‘from the soil’ – think creamy burrata with pickled courgette, Fowey mussels with seafood cream and Iberico pork with chimichurri. Don’t skimp on pudding – try the fig tatin with speculoos ice cream or the miso fudge. Afterwards head to Double Standard for cocktails and dancing. Plus there’s more to come, the rooftop terrace and a restaurant on the 10th floor are yet to open.

Best for a date: Allegra at The Stratford

So brand new we’ve yet to visit this one…After a soft launch on 26 September, Allegra opened its doors just this week to much anticipation. From the same developer who made Chiltern Firehouse chic and turned around The Renaissance Hotel St Pancras, this seventh-floor restaurant is part of new skyscraper, The Statford. Expect an enormous cedar-lined sky garden terrace for drinks, whilst inside organic wines will be paired with sophisticated food from chef Patrick Powell – also formerly of Chiltern Firehouse. We will report back.

— Daisy Allsup
2nd October 2019