The recently-refurbished bar at The Bloomsbury has added a touch of glamour to an area once full of chains and tourist traps. Rosie Paterson paid a visit.
Over 1,000 restaurants opened in London in 2017 alone, but from time to time I still find myself in empty pockets of the city – pockets filled with office blocks, tourist attractions and the odd chain restaurant, but nothing more that inspires me to linger.
Tottenham Court Road was a prime example, until this time last year, when The Bloomsbury hotel re-launched its reception area as the beautifully bold Coral Room.
The double height space daubed in coral-coloured paint (what else?) is an impressive cavern, crowned with a giant Art Deco-style bar running the length of one wall. Inviting velvet armchairs and scallop back sofas dot the space, in intimate groupings, and a Jazz Age drinks cabinet sits pretty underneath the large sash windows. Bright in colour and character – it’s the hotel’s heart and soul, buzzing throughout the week and occasionally home to live music sets.
Start with a glass of Ridgeview Bloomsbury – the Coral Room’s house sparkling wine, it comes highly recommended by the bar staff (enthusiastic and genuinely warm) and more than lives up to expectations – before diving into the extensive cocktail list.
A lot have wonderfully British names: Apple Bobbing, Wiltshire Warrior and Rose Blossom, the latter a gin based concoction with orange, elderflower and that much lauded sparkling wine. Others are more exotic; all are delicious. We particularly enjoyed the Gin Lane (it sits on the right side of sweet). The classics – a few margaritas didn’t go amiss – were well mixed and delivered a distinctive punch
You won’t want to leave so keep your energy levels up with some snacks and small plates. It says a lot about a bar, in its favour, when the food hasn’t been overlooked. The seared tuna, Dorset crab on toast and devils-on-horseback went down particularly well.
The Coral Room’s success, and that of the whole hotel, owes a lot to internationally acclaimed designer, Martin Brudnizki. He has, ironically, hauled one of London’s most exciting re-launches into the 21st-century, by returning the building to its roaring twenties heyday. The Bloomsbury Set would surely have approved.
Tucked away within Fortnum & Mason is 45 Jermyn Street, a delightful restaurant full of glamour and theatricality. Rosie Paterson
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