Do you know what a middle eight is? It’s likely your favourite bit of that karaoke song you always wheel out at Christmas. You know, the fun talky bit that reels you back in after you’ve screeched through the chorus three times already.

The gospel choir in ‘Suspicious Minds’? A middle eight. David Bowie becoming fascinated by fascinations in ‘Changes’? A middle eight. And now, also a fabulous hotel smack in the middle of Holborn. You might’ve guessed it’s music-themed, sitting where Kingsway Hall once stood: an 18th Century recording and gig venue. Ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out…

We began proceedings with the largest plate of carpaccio we’ve ever seen: wafer-thin Shorthorn beef served with pickled mushrooms, potato crisps and truffle aioli.

For Primi, we loved Linguine alle Vongole with Paloudes clams, parsley, garlic and white wine. For Secondi, it had to be the Branzino for two – a beautifully cooked whole baked sea bass with clams, mussels and nduja. Pizzas are huge and made fresh on site, and the dessert menu’s anything but boring. Save room for grilled peach, mascarpone & rum zabaione.

Shiva Hotels wanted to draw a young, vibey crowd to superbly located Middle Eight, pulling out all the stops with a stunning bronze bar and in-house DJ.

It’s the first thing you see when you walk in, sycamore leaves forming a metal canopy across the ceiling, connected to tree trunk-like columns. It rather feels like walking into a grown up forest disco, where everyone’s hell bent on making sure you have a nice time.

Just beyond is the Sycamore Italian restaurant, its low lighting and booth seating made for intimate catch ups. We started our visit there, drawn by the hand-rolled pasta and impressive wine list.

Upstairs, there’s a mega fancy gym to explore, plus the Balcony chill out area, stuffed with an incredible selection of music and London-themed literature. Buzzing to see our digs we headed to the basement, of all places. Making use of every inch of space, turns out it’s a genius idea.

Rivers suite is bigger than most London flats, complete with a garden-like area below a skylight, sectioned off with glass doors. They’ve done a great job of making it feel like you’re not underground, though you very much are.

You can expect a full cocktail bar set up, complete with posh glassware and a shaker. These are best enjoyed lolling by the fireplace in your very own living room, Sonus speakers blaring. Pore over the excellent books scattered about, or invite friends back for a round of Articulate, which is also provided.

The beds? Oh, enormous and cloud-like. Televisions dutifully spring up on command, and they’re Chromecast compatible. Covent Garden buzzes right outside, but suddenly going out seems irrelevant.

Boca Terry bathrobes begged to be slipped on (made from recycled bottles, we need to know how they make them so soft). Taking a rainfall shower and testing out the Anatome products, yep, we could quickly confirm: this is the suite life, indeed.

INFO: Middleeight.com


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