With the ever-revolving door of London restaurant openings, getting along the first time round, let alone returning for a second bite of the proverbial cherry can become an arduous task (albeit an appealing one). Thankfully, some become such instant classics, to be visited year after year, there’s no need to worry about the sands of time slipping away.
One such spot is the Rosewood London hotel –which has been lodged in our minds, nagging us to come back, since our first spectacular visit in early 2014. Clever them then, for teaming up with Bombay Sapphire to create the ‘ultimate gin & tonic terrace’, for, if nothing else, giving us the push we needed to head towards this Holborn hot spot once again.
The terrace is situated in the central courtyard, which is, like the rest of the ultra-luxury hotel, utterly gorgeous. It’s entrance lies directly parallel to the back entrance of Holborn Dining Room, meaning you can either sample a few gins before choosing to dine inside, or drink and eat to your greedy content under it’s lantern-strewn canopy.
As you would expect from the Rosewood London team, every detail is just so – from the blue and white fabric adorning every plumply cushioned seat, created by acclaimed illustrator Jonathan Chadwick, telling the story of the botanicals – to the perfectly coiffed planting that surround it.
Aside from basking in its loveliness, the reason to come here is to sample the drinks menu, which showcases various twists on ‘The Ultimate Gin & Tonic’ – taking in the Mediterranean, Africa, China and Indonesia. The piece de resistance is the ‘Sense of Place Gin & Tonic Twist’ – and elderflower-laced concoction mixed exclusively for the hotel to reflect their attention to detail when it comes to their guests. Our favourite was the Mediterranean, which tasted like a marriage of G&T and lemoncello (incidentally two of our preferred summer sups) offset with two woody springs of rosemary.
We’d highly recommend sticking around for dinner (probably best if, like us, your enthusiasm for gin has gotten away with you), even if just for a light bite. Predictably, went the whole hog – starting with a pretty plate of squidgy figs glazed in honey countered with tart Cashel Blue and the bitter crunch of endive leaves; and a melee of roasted summer squash piled on a bed of tart yoghurt and scattered with toasted walnuts.
Then a smoky square of haddock drenched in mustard cream and topped with a poached egg – which was probably not the most summery dish on the menu but easily forgotten when scoffed with a bowl of freshly plucked peas sweet with mint. Also some delicious slabs of pink Cornish Lamb rump offset with a punchy take on salsa verde.
By the time we shared a kilner jar of stewed plums with vanilla custard and ginger crumble and a sticky glass of sauterne the sun had set, candles had been lit, leaving the terrace in the kind of ambient glow usually reserved for Chanel ads and that recent Woody Allen movie set in Paris.
So there you have it: romance, great drinks and fantastic food in a timeless setting. Except, as the terrace isn’t actually timeless (it’s only open until the end of August) this can’t be one of those ‘I’ll put it on my list’ things. Go now before it or the summer disappears.