Christopher Kanal discovers an all-round five star modern boutique hotel in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury with plenty of character and a fantastic Mediterranean / Japanese fusion restaurant.
The Radisson Blu Edwardian occupies a location that has had a hotel on site since 1906, and sits in an area steeped in the literary history and the arts – the British Museum is literally across the street. The hotel opened in 2008 and has proved a popular destination for visitors who want to be in the centre of the city yet stay in a peaceful haven.
The hotel is a few minute walk away from Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street and the property has very good public connections to the rest of the city. St. Pancras International train station, with links to Paris and beyond, can be reached in 15-minutes via public transport, Bustling Covent Garden and buzzing Soho are less than 10 minutes walk away.
On entering the hotel you are struck by its bold townhouse design with delightful Oriental touches. The lobby is cast in striking tones of black white and an intriguing art installation pays homage to the legendary writer Virginia Woolf, who once lived in the area and was one of the founding members of the ‘Bloomsbury Set’ literary movement. Check in was prompt and friendly and mint-infused water and hot cocoa was on hand to refresh us.
The hotel has a well equipped gym that is open 24 hours. For business travellers the hotel has impressive conference facilities including nine private meeting rooms that can host up to 300 people.
Of the hotel’s 174 rooms, our suite was on the seventh floor and occupied a discreet, cosy part of this large building. Every floor has a unique tailored corridor design. Some rooms offer dramatic views of the London skyline. The suite was large and warm with Japanese décor that was tasteful and elegant.
We had access to a virtual reality room service and even in-room spa treatments. The King size bed was very comfortable and snug with Egyptian cotton bed linen and down pillows. The bedroom had the standard flat screen television as well as a large well-stocked minibar and Nespresso and tea making machines.
The lovely, large and well equipped Italian marble bathroom came with a bath, walk-in rainforest shower and premium skincare brand REN products.
A real standout element of the hotel is the very popular Bloomsbury Street Kitchen serving delicious Mediterranean and Japanese fusion cuisine. The menu is curated by executive head chefs Neil Armstrong and Matt Downes. The restaurant is situated on the ground floor of the hotel and is accessed through the lobby or through a separate street entrance.
The location itself is light and airy and an array of potted plants and green foliage give the restaurant a greenhouse design effect. Italian glazed porcelain tiles sit alongside exposed brickwork. Mediterranean olive trees and Japanese sago palms create a soft, calm ambience. There is also an outside terrace.
The Saturday night we were there a DJ was playing vinyl to keep us entertained. Throughout the night the attentive service was fantastic and we were made to feel at home the moment we sat down. Our amiable waiter guided us through the impressive menu suggesting dishes and pairing them with wine from the very comprehensive wine list.
Dinner started with appetisers of zucchini and aubergine chips with a cool minty tzatziki followed by black pepper crusted beef carpaccio with freshly shaved truffle and creamy parmesan. The mouth-watering beef carpaccio was a delight.
We finished our starters with one of the Bloomsbury Street Kitchen’s signature dishes of Japanese flat tacos that come with either beef tenderloin with wasabi and schichimi mayo; a vegetarian offering of chargrilled avocado with lime sea salt and wasabi sour cream or (our choice) tuna sashimi with truffle ponzu mayo. The tuna sashimi was succulent washed down with a fruity, zingy Italian Cabernet Sauvignon: a Cabaletta, Tenute Fiorebelli 2016. Delicious.
We shared our main which was the centrepiece of a memorable meal: a 28-day-aged rib-eye steak with warm Gorgonzola butter with an inventive, very tasty side salad of blanched spinach and hazelnut salad with white goma dressing. There is a very impressive sake menu and we finished the night with a Junmai Ginjo served in a carafe. A lovely citrus sake with fresh aromas of apple and grape.
The Bloomsbury Street Kitchen has a six-course tasting menu as well as decent vegan and vegetarian options. The kitchen arranges Dégustation and Omakase Experiences while the bar can set up cocktail masterclasses for aspiring mixologists. English afternoon tea is served every day and the breakfast has a robust English menu as well as Mediterranean and Asian options.
For upcoming Valentine’s Day there is a set menu of sea bream carpaccio with Amalfi lemon and sweet apple, oven-baked lobster and king prawn with parmesan crème and chilli herb crust, chilli-and-lemon-roasted baby chicken bincho grill and the restaurant’s signature Valentine’s Dessert. Certainly worth coming back for.
Address: 9-13 Bloomsbury St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3QD
Phone: 020 7636 5601
Room rates – Double rooms from £250 per night