Simon Wittenberg heads to the heart of historic Bloomsbury, London’s literary centre, to enjoy some exquisite gastronomy and cocktails at the Coral Room and Dalloway Terrace.
On our arrival at The Bloomsbury Hotel, which is hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Tottenham Court Road, we ventured to The Coral Room, a bar which has been designed by the acclaimed Martin Brudnizki, and styled with a red décor to reflect the interior of an exquisite country house. The vibe is relaxed with funky music playing in the background, so it’s a chilled place to be.
The cocktail menu here is full of eclectic creations with exotic sounding names and ingredients. For the less adventurous, there are some traditional varieties such as an Old Fashioned.
I tried the delicious and beautifully concocted crushed ice-heavy “Square Life” (£12), made of Lustau Sherry, Campari, Orgeat (an almond syrup) and grapefruit juice. It was garnished with a red and white straw and a caramelised orange segment.
My wife opted for the equally impressive “Glyndebourne’s New Show” (£16), a rum-based recipe which was combined with lime juice, strawberry purée and sparkling wine, amongst other ingredients. The complementary large green olives which were placed on our table in a silver dish were somewhat addictive and were regularly topped up by staff, so it was important to have a bit of self-control just before dinner as they were simply that good.
After enjoying our cocktails (we could have easily had more), we were led by our hosts down the hallway to The Dalloway Terrace for dinner, “an indoor/outdoor restaurant” which was added to The Bloomsbury Hotel in the summer of 2016.
It’s named after Mrs Dalloway, a fictional high-society woman in post–First World War England who is the subject of a novel penned by the author, Virginia Woolf. Winterised again for the closing weeks of 2017 and beyond, guests are kept warm on The Dalloway Terrace with much-needed sheepskins, blankets and ceiling heaters. Furthermore, the space has been given a cosy ambience and the added element of elegance courtesy of master florists, Wild at Heart, who have decorated the eatery with festive fir trees and hanging Christmas pinecones.
The restaurant offers a short à la carte menu and a decent wine list for those who like to pair their food with something alcoholic. A Swiss cheese fondue is one of my all-time favourite dishes, so my mind was made up pretty quickly, and with Burrata cheese also staring at me, this was truly a tough choice to make. The fondue (£14) is really meant for sharing, but the restaurant will not get in the way if you want to go it alone, which is exactly what I did.
Kept warm with a personal burner, I gradually made my way through it by dipping in the sourdough bread cubes. It is filling, so the restaurant paced out the rest of our meal so that I could enjoy the remaining courses and the accompanying pickled crudités, namely raw baby carrots and cucumber, which also seemed to disappear with ease. My other half kicked off her meal with the roasted red and yellow organic baby beets (£10), which was nicely presented on a bed of green basil sauce.
For the mains, I tucked into a piece of grilled organic salmon with herb butter and lemon (£25), which was accompanied by some thin and salty truffle fries (£4.75) which had a very small sprinkling of grated parmesan. My wife went for the more healthy option of glazed heritage carrots with honey and a touch of cumin (also £4.75) to go alongside her succulent Aberdeen Angus beef fillet (£28). Both portions were very generous in size, and therefore there was little chance of leaving this establishment hungry.
My sweet tooth never fails to let me down, so following our host’s recommendation, I tried the confit apple which arrived with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some blackberry mouse (£6.50). It was truly magnificent. A pear dessert with a helping of tangy passionfruit sorbet was specially made by the chef as a dairy-free alternative to what’s on the menu, which meant that my dining partner also came away suitably impressed.
The service was excellent throughout our meal, and the staff really do go all-out to please guests. Nothing was ever too much trouble. The Coral Room and Dalloway Terrace are true gems of London, and we couldn’t rate these establishments highly enough.
The Coral Room and Dalloway Terrace – Where and how?
The Coral Room and Dalloway Terrace are located at 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN, United Kingdom.