Dalloway Terrace at the Bloomsbury is a fabulous addition to the Central London restaurant scene, discovers Gina Baksa
Virginia Woolf’s heroine, Mrs Dalloway, may well have made her way to her namesake restaurant, tucked away in literary Bloomsbury, yet only minutes from the West End. The Dalloway Terrace has a secret restaurant vibe; a sliver of sophistication alongside its grandparent, the Lutyens designed neo-Georgian Bloomsbury, located just off Great Russell Street.
Arriving early evening, before dusk had settled on the lanterns and fairy lights, and I could still make out the climbing greenery and potted ferns, I felt as if I’d entered an enchanted 1930s garden.
The indoor/outdoor space is heated, with extra insulation from Foxford lambswool blankets, while a healthy inner glow was provided courtesy of a lip-smacking Mrs Dalloway Champagne cocktail: Courvoisier Cognac, brown sugar, Angostura Bitters, and a generous measure of Perrier-Jouët. Liquid perfection!
Comfortable wicker chairs, a beautifully set table adorned with brass lamps – and a waiter called Aladdin – the evening was off to a magical start. The Bloomsbury’s Head Chef Paul O’Brien has worked his own magic in the hotel’s kitchens since 2000 and he has lent his creativity to the Dalloway Terrace.
Even if you don’t usually partake in bread, I urge you to try the restaurant’s incredible Guinness bread. This part-cake, part-bread slice of gustatory heaven was divine: quite simply the best combination of flavours and texture with its sweet, crunchy caramel softness and beautiful rich colouring. I could easily have gluttoned the whole loaf, but thankfully exercised self-restraint ahead of a selection of inviting appetisers.
Dalloway’s choice of eight starters includes French onion soup gruyere; Long cut organic smoked salmon, Guinness bread, lemon; and Dorset crab on toast watercress & apple – and even crispy pigs cheeks. I opted for memories of childhood and choice a Dublin Bay prawn cocktail with classic Marie Rose sauce with avocado and lime. The prawns were plump and succulent – and perfectly cooked and presented. My friend opted for the Balmoral Estate venison carpaccio, creamed horseradish and pickled walnuts. In the interests of research, I felt it was rude not to sample her meal too – considering my love of venison. The meat was tender, melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
A pause for the wine on the table. A light and fruity Sauvignon Dog Point Vineyard 2014 Marlborough – the perfect accompaniment to my prawns and my friend’s beef carpaccio. Red: Alana 2013 Pinot Noir from New Zealand’s North Island Martinborough estate. Both highly recommended. The attentive service at Dalloway Terrace is warm, unpretentious and very welcoming. A professional approach to serving guests that some Michelin-starred restaurants I’ve been to would do well to emulate.
Fish called me again for the mains: a superb feast of hand-dived seared scallops spinach, chanterelles and teriyaki dressing, while my friend enthused over the coq au vin – again meat so tenderly prepared it really was no lie to say it melted in our mouths. Other choices included Organic Salmon, Poussin, Wild Mushroom Risotto Ceps and an Aberdeen Angus burger. An eclectic menu to suit all palettes.
Desserts tempting us included a sublime Valrhona and pecan nut slice with salted caramel ice cream, Lemon Tart, and a wonderful selection of sorbets and ice creams. I have to admit I tried each one (a small spoonful) and highly recommend the salted caramel ice cream and mango sorbet. My friend chose the Cardamom pannacotta with poached Kentish rhubarb – excellent.
By the time I’d enjoyed the (generous, thank you) servings of the rather wonderful vintage Chateau de Laubade 1985 Armagnac, I was considering staying overnight at the hotel… In truth, the atmosphere was so convivial it was a wrench to leave.
Dalloway Terrace is perfect for after-work drinks – the bar below the restaurant is fabulously inviting – a night out with friends and private parties, as well as romantic assignations among the lanterns and fairy lights – and there is live music at weekends.
A most magical evening and a most magical venue, thanks to its discreet garden vibe, the professionalism of the Dalloway Terrace staff and the creative genius of its chef, Paul O’Brien. I’ve already booked my return visit.
Dalloway Terrace – Where and How?
Dalloway Terrace can be found at 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN, United Kingdom.
For more information, or to make a reservation at Dalloway Terrace in Bloomsbury (London WC1B), visit www.dallowayterrace.com, e-mail [email protected], or call 020 7347 1221.
Cuisine: Modern British Head Chef: Paul O’Brien
Restaurant Manager: Andrei Maxim
Design: Alexander Waterworth Interiors
Hours of Operation: Breakfast: 7:00am – 10:30am Monday to Sunday
All Day Dining Menu: 10:30am – 11:00pm Monday to Friday
4:00 pm – 11:00 pm Saturday & Sunday
Afternoon Tea: 12 noon – 6pm Monday to Sunday