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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Review: Balans Soho Society, Seven Dials, London

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Out Of Office Magazine visits the newly opened Balans Soho Society café at Seven Dials

This recently opened venue on Monmouth Street is the sixth location in the Balans family and modelled on the Soho café style. It’s simple, sleek, bistro style is clean and cosy – much like our seat specially reserved for us in the corner of the restaurant.

Also like our visit to the Kensington restaurant, the staff were friendly, attentive and well-informed about the variety of food and drink on offer. We also learnt that, like the Kensington restaurant, a staff member had left for an adventure and landed back at Balans a few years later – it seems they are a good employer with employees only enthusiastic to return.

We started with the seared scallops – perfectly cooked but a small portion that left you wanting a little more – plus the lamb pastilla, which was filling and tender. For our mains, we opted for the 10 oz sirloin steak cooked medium rare and the Cornish crab linguine that certainly didn’t skimp on the chilli!

Too full for dessert we stayed for another glass of malbec and merlot, happy in our surroundings. While we relaxed, a waiter dropped a full tray of glasses but the staff took it in their stride with a smile. (Very unlucky considering they had just opened!)

What? A great addition to the Balans Soho Society collection. Close to Covent Garden, Shaftesbury Avenue and Leicester Square.

Why choose Balans? Nice for for a planned brunch, lunch or dinner out, or a spur of the moment occasion. The menu is varied with international influences and changes regularly.

Cost: ££

32-34 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials, London, WC2H 9HA

020 7836 2982

www.balans.co.uk

Review: Turntable, Chancery Lane, London

Out Of Office Magazine visits Turntable, a new bar and restaurant serving South East Asian food to the sound of soul in London

Minutes away from busy Chancery Lane is Turntable, a brand new bar and restaurant that has just opened its doors offering something different and fresh, with smooth musical nostalgia.

Entering the new location, we were taken by the sleek, black and modern décor and greeted by friendly cocktail masters with flair. Bottles were flying and in minutes we sipped our first drinks: Smooth Criminal, with Malibu, avocado and pineapple, and a Jungle Boogie, similar to a mojito with a fruity twist.

After our boozy indulgence we made our way downstairs for dinner. The downstairs is for eating, drinking and… dancing. As its namesake hints, the music is big part of the atmosphere and the DJs spin nothing but vinyl. There is also an arty display of old vinyls throughout the venue.

While chilled soul, funk and hip-hop played we were treated to an assault of flavours, chased down with Vidal Sauvignon Blanc and Septima Malbec. Our highlights had to be the Crab Fried Rice, Chicken Laska Lemak and Beef Rendang. The chocolate brownie (and a few more cocktails) rounded the night off perfectly.

What? This is a fresh bar and kitchen launched by newcomers to the restaurant trade. Born from a love of food, cocktails and music, Turntable went from dream to reality in just eight weeks. The Chancery Lane/Farringdon area has something new.

Why choose Turntable? Turntable has a welcoming atmosphere, tasty food and the crackle of a good vinyl – which, unfortunately is often very hard to find ‘these days’.

Cost: ££

7-9 Norwich Street EC4A 1EJ

020 7112 9179

www.turntable.london

Review: Rocket, Holborn, London

Holborn Front Sign

Out Of Office Magazine reviews Rocket, a modern bar and restaurant serving Californian style salads; grills and Neapolitan pizzas. 

Rocket has four venues in London and another in Nottingham, but OOO decided to visit the Holborn location which is just a two-minute walk away from Holborn underground station.  

With a relatively small ‘shop front’ it’s pleasantly surprising as you make your way downstairs and realise how much space there is inside. With a separate bar and restaurant area it’s easy to decide between casual bar dining or a more smart/casual sit down meal.

Rocket offers a range of bespoke cocktails which provide the perfect start to your experience; we opted for a champagne cocktail with Hendricks gin and lychees, and another from the special ‘Gintestering’ menu (there is plenty here for a gin lover).

Highlights of the three-course meal were the mains: the ‘surf & turf’ salad of black tiger prawns, baby squid and seared rare beef, and the most meaty pizza on the menu with generous helpings of salami, chorizo, prosciutto, pancetta and roasted chilli.

What? A sleek, modern bar and restaurant with a good sized cocktail and food menu.

Why choose Rocket? It’s relaxed but smart atmosphere makes it perfect for meetings. The menus are packed with bold and refreshing flavours, and with a good variety on offer you can be assured there will be something for everyone. Private dining and event options also available.

Cost: ££

36-38 Kingsway, London WC2B 6EY
0207 242 8070
www.rocketrestaurants.co.uk