You know how it is when people try and rebrand with a new nickname? It always falls flat. No, we’re not going to start calling you ‘Jeebs’ when Emily will do just fine. Same with Holborn. After several years and millions of pounds spent rebranding as ‘Midtown’, the moniker hasn’t stuck and the area between Covent Garden and The City remains resolutely ‘Hoborn’.
However, despite dropping a ‘but you can just call me Midtown’ into every other sentence, the area has plenty to recommend it. Not least in the form of restaurants.
The same people that brought us favourites like The Wolsey, Colbert and (as of April 2018) Soutaine, have a real hit on their hands with The Delauney. The restaurant sits on Aldwich and immediately evokes the atmosphere, and grandeur, of those grand European cafés that you’d expect to find in Vienna, Venice and other places beginning with the letter V. Bringing with it more theatre than many of the actual theatres which neighbour The Delaunay, the European menu is excellent and perfect post-work or pre-theatre, or both…
Where: 55 Aldwych London WC2B 4BB
Nearest station: Temple (0.4 miles)
Noble Rot is a food and drink magazine and, displaying a surprisingly multi-talented repertoire, a restaurant as well. If The Handbook ever gets our scotch egg stall off the ground, we couldn’t hope to reach the heights of Noble Rot. Setting aside the wisdom of including the word ‘rot’ in the name of a restaurant, the wine list is understandably one of the best in town, while the Franglaise menu includes greatest hits from both countries which are, obviously, carefully matched to just the right wines.
Where: 51 Lamb’s Conduit Street, Bloomsbury, WC1N 3NB
Rosewood London is one of London’s best hotels, but also contains not only a pie room (score!) but also one of the area’s finest restaurants. Welcome to The Dining Room, the brasserie is brilliant for British dining and, with its leather banquette seating, is incredibly comfortable to boot.
Where: Rosewood London, High Holborn, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Holborn (0.2 miles)
Save yourself the nine hour drive and ferry crossing, for a real taste of Provence simply jump in an Uber and head to Chancery Lane. Cigalon is an authentic taste of the South of France, rather obscurely named after the chef hero in Marcel Pagnol’s 1935 film of the same name, the restaurant occupies a former auction house and features a double height dining room topped off with a glass roof. Highlights of the Provencal menu includes Côte de Veau, sauce Mentonaise and Panisses and Pieds et Paquets, and of course a wine list heavily geared toward the region (as well as Corsica).
Where: 115 Chancery Lane, Holborn, WC2A 1PP
If you want something doing properly, speak to an expert. So if you’re after getting your steak just right, then where else would you head other than The Bull Steak Expert? Bringing the taste of South America to London, the restaurant is authentically Argentinian and a steakhouse so successful they’ve now followed a lesser-trodden path and opened a second branch in Düsseldorf.
Where: 54 Red Lion Street, Holborn, WC1R 4PD
Praise be! This gem of a restaurant sits in a converted baptist church within L’Oscar hotel and is, quite suitably, called The Baptist Grill. Which may sound a little Mary Queen of Scots but let’s run with it. The restaurant looks great, it’s dark and sumptuous and really quite beautiful. Not that it needs to be, the menu speaks for itself under exec chef Tony Fleming who famously won South Place Hotel their Michelin star for Angler.
Where: 2-6 Southampton Row, Holborn, WC1B 4AA
Margot, not the snooty one from The Good Life (sadly there isn’t yet a restaurant Barbara), but the Great Queen Street restaurant sits on the edge of what we loosely define as Holborn and serves seasonal Italian food. The restaurant was founded by two Scotts alumni, Paulo de Tarso and Nicolas Jaouën, meaning the place has serious pedigree, and that’s clear from both the cooking and the setting, which are both exquisite.
Where: 45 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5AA