Jo Taylor dons her detective hat to seek out the best cocktails and dinner in Marylebone...
221B Baker Street is synonymous with the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. However, it is number 108, not 221B, that should stick in your mind, as 108 Baker Street is home to Kitchen at Holmes, the bar and restaurant attached to Holmes hotel.
It’s simple and chic white exterior means your eye is immediately drawn to the cosy and inviting interior through the large, arched Georgian windows.
If you are as obsessive about interiors as me then Kitchen at Holmes is a must. It is decorated with a homage to the building’s era with herringbone floors, panelled walls painted in muted greys but modernised with a mix of scandi and hamptons-esque fixtures and fittings. There are all sorts of quirky pieces, from the bulldog statue on the bar to the suitcases propping up the DJ stand combined with cute nooks and velvety chairs.
There are subtle nods to Baker Street’s most famous resident, with stalkers caps on hooks at the entrance and beautiful wall hangings featuring opium poppies.
Having taken in the opulent surroundings and great atmosphere courtesy of the resident DJ (who will be in the bar every Friday and Saturday), I settled down for a pre-dinner cocktail at the gorgeous brass and marble bar. I opted for the delicious – and perfectly peachy pink - Chai Fizz made with Sipsmith Sloe Gin, Chai Tea Syrup, Bitters and topped with Champagne. The perfect pre-dinner tipple.
I was also taken by the presentation of the ‘Sherlock’s Pipe’ cocktail, served in a glass pipe and surrounded by a mist of Applewood smoke that dissipates in a divine smelling, theatrical flourish as the cloche is expertly whipped away by the server.
I could have sat there all night watching the cocktails being prepared however with a rumbling stomach and a perfectly timed nod from the waiter, I was shown to the restaurant which, whilst joined to the bar, has carefully placed furniture and partition walls making it wonderfully discreet, cosy and ideal for a date night.
The kitchen itself is open – and has been decorated like a ‘home’ kitchen, with beautiful gloss black shaker cabinets running down one side of the wall. I was memorised by the kitchen activity and loved being able to see the action.
Head Chef Stefano Motta has created an inspired menu drawing international influences and techniques and combining it with seasonal produce sourced from the best suppliers.
With six of us dining we shared a range of options from the menu. Everything looked divine so this was the best way to get our fill of just about everything. Portion sizes are great for sharing but if not your thing they are perfectly sized for a light starter.
We started with the Raw menu, sharing Vegetable Crudités, Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare and Red Prawn Carpaccio followed by more light bites from the Aged and Smoked section, including Smoked Eel and Crottin Cheese served with pistachios and olives, all paired with a delicious 2016 Chardonnay.
Next up were two dishes from the Stir Fry menu - Courgette Spaghetti with pistachios, basil and smoked ricotta along with Adriatic Cuttlefish. Both were utterly delectable and would serve as a light main if you weren’t after anything too heavy.
For mains, the ‘Grill’ menu caters to all tastes, so we went for a bit of a surf and turf theme with the sharing Sea Bream and English Longhorn Cote de Boeuf. The fish was brought out to show us before plating which was a nice touch emphasising the high-end luxury feel of the restaurant. Both dishes were cooked to perfection - the fish was soft and flakey and the beef juicy and tender.
For dessert we had the Coconut and Passion Fruit Delice served with Mango Sorbet. If you’re an avid instagrammer then get your boomerang button at the ready as you crack the outer coconut shell to reveal the gooey, passion fruit centre which oozes out and mixes with the sorbet for a fruity sensation. We also had the Chocolate and Orange Fiesta and a selection of the freshest ice-creams.
I would be hard pushed to pick a favourite as everything was so delicious – a toss-up between the Red Prawn Carpaccio, Courgetti, the Cote de Boeuf or the simple yet absolutely spot on pistachio ice cream. It wasn’t too syrupy or sickly, instead creamy and salty with just a touch of sweetness. A gastronomical treat.
As each course arrived the dishes was explained to us by the maître d’ and we were given wine pairings. The discreet but attentive service staff were perfect. My glass was never empty and I barely noticed my plate being whipped away and replaced with a clean one ready for the next course.
After dinner we were invited back into the bar for a night cap. A striking bottle caught our eye and noticing that we were quite taken by its design, the barman brought it over and explained it was Clase Azule Reposado Tequila. It is one of the smoothest going and thus should be sipped without salt or lime and definitely not one to use as a shot. Feeling adventurous and forgetting the reality of cocktails, wine and tequila on a school night we requested a round. It was delicious and definitely one to try.
And with that slightly extravagant end to the night, we requested our coats, which were brought immediately with a nod and a smile, and made for our taxis, stuffed to the absolute brim.
Everything about Kitchen at Holmes is perfect – the décor, the service, the drinks and of course the five-star food. The team behind bar and restaurant have managed to balance luxury without pretention. For the quality, the prices are incredibly reasonable and not out of place in central London.
All-in-all an outstanding venue and a must visit for every Londoner. If you’re looking for a cute date place on a Friday night or taking your parents for a roast on a Sunday then look no further – Kitchen at Holmes has it all.
10/10 – Adore.
Kitchen at Holmes is open 7 days a week for breakfast lunch and dinner.