Review: The Waldorf Hilton Hotel, London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out Of Office Magazine reviews one of Convent Garden’s grandest and iconic hotels, the Waldorf Hilton Hotel

Turn the clock back to 1908; the Waldorf opened its doors, dining rooms and suites to visitors hoping to capture a piece of the American dream in London, with the latest New Yorker boutique charm.

It wasn’t to be just a hotel, but a place where tourists, passer-byes and locals could stop for dinner, afternoon tea and a glorious place to rest their heads in the height of luxury in the West End.

Three years prior to its opening, with a glitzy champagne reception, theatrical Impresario Edward Sanders decided to build a hotel on the northern rim of Aldwych. He partnered with accountant, Thomas Wild, to raise the sum of £700,000 with the assistance of William Waldorf Astor, who the hotel was named after in gratitude.

Inside, past reception is the Palm Court Lounge. It’s no wonder that’s where scenes from the Titanic film A Night to Remember were filmed, as director Roy Ward Baker thought it perfect for depicting the interior of a ship with its oaken walls.

The history of the place is plentiful. During WWII, The Waldorf placed adverts in the press reassuring visitors that its alloy structure made it safe. One stray bomb missed the hotel but shockwaves shattered the Palm Court roof and tango tea dances were suspended as a result. The restaurant then became a staff dormitory and the hotel’s legendary head waiter slept in a corner every night to keep an eye on it.

Fast forward to 2017, and the hotel, taken over by the Hilton Corporation 13 years ago, still looks as grand as it did back upon its opening. Arriving at dusk, its warm lights shine brightly outside and inside we are greeted by reception and then taken to our executive suite.

The room 

Each executive suite includes a complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, evening canapés and drinks all served in the executive lounge.

The Edwardian style suites are spacious and well decorated with a comfy king bed and windows that open out onto the bustling streets of London.

The room also featured a Handy smartphone, which gives guests access to unlimited local and international calls, free internet access, promotions and an on-the-go hotel concierge service. This gadget is a great extra for those staying who are unfamiliar with the city.

The restaurant

We visited the Homage Restaurant for our evening meal; we were treated to a set menu of three courses and a glass of champagne each for £29.50. With its high ceilings, chandeliers and gold topped pillars, it’s a special setting – great for a celebratory meal or a treat.

Our highlights were the roasted wood pigeon and seabass for mains, and the chocolate parfait for dessert.

Why choose The Waldorf Hilton Hotel?  Stunning, beautiful and historic, it provides a relaxing stay in central London.

Cost: ££££

Aldwych, London WC2B 4DD, United Kingdom

Website

0207 836 2400

 

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Revisited: Counter, Vauxhall Arches

Out Of Office Magazine was invited back to Counter,  a bar and brasserie nestled under the railway arches at Vauxhall station, try the new menu 

Counter changes its menu regularly so we were delighted to be invited back almost a year on from our first visit.

To kick of our experience we opted for two contrasting, yet equally delicious, cocktails – Chinapolitan consisting of zubrowka vodkka, sweet lychee and lime, and the Central Park, a Jim Bean Double Oak and apricot mix. Note that Happy Hour runs from 5-7pm every day with a good selection of cocktails, wines and beers.

On to the food… For starters we had the scallops with boudin noir AKA black pudding. Although known as blood sausage this recipe bears no resemblance to it usual solid consistency, in fact it’s smooth and creamy, and paired perfectly with the shellfish. We also shared a charcuterie board, before embarking on a chateaubriand board for two.

The steak was accompanied with chips, potato dauphinoise, portobello mushrooms and stuffed tomatoes. It was cooked perfectly (medium rare), while the mushrooms and potato dauphinoise were the perfect sidekicks. But… although the chips were delicious it put our carb count up a bit much and the mince-stuffed tomatoes were too rich and filling for this meal.

While we feeling rather full, we seldom can resist a dessert and opted for the chocolate fondant with an orange sorbet.  A deep and tangy mix, it was worth the 15-minute wait.

All in all, we were thrilled to  return to this modern brasserie and would recommend it for staff or clients drinks, dinners, meetings or functions.

What? An independent restaurant serving  flavoursome food, a wide selections of wine and cocktails. They also have private hire options.

Why choose Counter? Those who appreciate architecture and good food will feel at home here. We’re also thrilled to say the restaurant is  a much better temperature than last time, so no jumpers needed!

Cost: ££

Arch 50, 7-11 South Lambeth Place, London SW8 1SP
020 3693 9600
www.counterrestaurants.com

 

Review: Brother Marcus, Balham

Out Of Office Magazine reviews Brother Marcus, a cool cafe bar in Balham offering up tasty brunches, small plates, coffees and cocktails 
 
In the south of metropolis London, we find quaint brunch, lunch and cocktail café Brother Marcus. Located in Balham it’s just a short walk from the station and easily identifiable with the chalkboard black exterior and white stamped name.

Upon entering you are immediately submerged into a rustic warehouse feel.  You may switch off at this moment as, like us, you may agree that this style is often overused at present in many coffee shops.  But, bear with me…

Unlike many chains, Brother Marcus has created an authentic rustic feel. Each piece of furniture appears to have been hand selected by the brothers to outfit their small enterprise and it’s not one bit pretentious.

Greeted by the smiling waitress we were shown to our table. To start, a soy latte and the highly recommended cappuccino. Proper Italian coffee served at a just hot enough temperature, so all notes of bitterness are avoided.

For the main courses we chose the Sister Special and a Marcus Breakfast. The former, a delightful combination of crispy bacon and perfectly poached eggs with spinach, watercress and avocado ‒ all served on a slice of toast. The latter, pork belly crispy and tender in all the right places with a small side of greens, served on a pitta.

After eating, we were relayed the story of how they started ‒ two brothers (aptly enough) came together to provide a space for the young and old to drink good coffee, eat tasty food and chat.  A quick tour of the place shows that they have plans with a good sized outdoor area as well.

What? A casual coffee shop selling great coffee and well crafted food in South London.

Why choose Brother Marcus? Perfect for a catch-up or low intensity meeting with a client or supplier, or for a small team meal. Keep an eye out for special events in their garden during the summer!

Cost: £

 9 Chestnut Grove, SW12 8JA

info@brothermarcus.co.uk

Review: Comptoir Libanais, Poland Street

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Out Of Office magazine reviews Comptoir Libanais, a vibrant Lebanese canteen in Poland Street 

Comptoir Libanais is a busy casual Lebanese canteen with 15 locations across the UK, with another two opening soon.

We visited Poland Street in Soho, a short walk from Oxford Circus. As you walk in the atmosphere is busy with an exposed deli-style kitchen where you can see the chefs cooking up all that you’d expect from a Middle Eastern restaurant, such as tagine, falafel and mezze.

We opted for the hot mezze platter which came with Baba ghanuj, houmous, tabbouleh, falafel, lentil salad, cheese sambousek, pickles and pita bread, along with some halloumi and lamb kibbeh. It was delicious, authentic and was served at speed.

We washed it down with a Heritage Plaisir du Vin, which is a Lebanese wine. The wine was fruity, smoky and full bodied, yet easy drinking. We hadn’t tried a Lebanese wine before and would certainly have it again!

What?  A busy casual Lebanese canteen with plenty of locations across the UK to choose from.

Why choose Comptoir Libanais? If you’re looking for a casual lunch with a flavorsome array of food served quickly, then this is a great choice. There are also many delights on sale to take home with you, from wine and pastries, to spices and sweets.

Cost: £

52 Poland Street, Soho, W1F 7NQ

02074344335

www.comptoirlibanais.com

Review: Brigade, London Bridge

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Out Of Office Magazine reviews Brigade, a bar and bistro serving delicious fresh food on Tooley Street in London Bridge 

As soon as you walk into Brigade based at the historic Fire Station you’re greeted by friendly staff, a cosy atmosphere and an open plan kitchen where you can see chefs cooking up a storm.

For us the highlights on the menu were the confit duck spring rolls to start, followed by the apricot stuffed leg of lamb and the cheeseboard to finish.

It’s not just about great food and a plentiful selection of wine at Brigade, the bar and bistro is actually a unique social enterprise led by chef founder Simon Boyle. Together with the Beyond Food Foundation, it offers vulnerable people catering apprenticeships.

Above the restaurant is a cook school, meeting space and private dining.

The Fire Station, Tooley Street was built in 1879 to save lives and protect surrounding properties following the devastating Tooley Street Fire of 1861. Today, it’s bringing pleasure and brighter futures to people through food.

Sonya Blackwood, one of the current Beyond Food apprentices training at Brigade Bar & Bistro says: “Joining the Beyond Food programme is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” says Sonya, “I’ve found strength in areas I never thought I would have strength. The programme doesn’t just provide skills training, it also supports me with my well-being and provides practical support like dealing with housing and benefits issues.”

What? A charming and cosy bar and bistro offering a range of food and fine wine.

Why choose Brigade? Whether it’s a small client lunch, a large discussion group or a more informal dinner the Brigade staff will ensure your experience is first class from start to finish. Not only will the cater for your needs but you can feel good in knowing that you’re helping others to learn new skills and turn their lives around.

Cost: ££

139, The Fire Station, Tooley Street, London SE1 2HZ

020 7089 7721

www.thebrigade.co.uk