Holborn Dining Room – London, WC1

For the past two years now, I have been somewhat irked about how obsessed the nation has or is with the reality TV programme Love Island.

Why?

I mean, yes, I too watch my fair share of junk (well, in all honesty I watch a lot of people’s fair share of junk) but I simply can’t begin to understand the obsession.  I’ve heard conversations going on that will actually be admittance of not going on holiday because they will ‘miss an ep’ or plan an evening nay their daily lives around when they can watch the latest episode (which is every night all summer FYI).

The most annoying bit of this whole ‘ailment’ the country now seems to have, is quite frankly the general layout and rules of the show.   They are ridiculous.

To my extremely limited knowledge this is how it is. A group of men and women (who are all either catalogue models, topless models, underwear models, swimwear models, model aeroplanes…) are sent to an island for a number of weeks where they have to fall in love with someone and then prove their love as a couple to others on the show and the viewers.  The couple that ‘seem’ the most in love win the show.  That’s it.  Seriously, that’s the show.

I understand the need for good viewing and exaggerated plot twists and drama but let me ask one question here.  Surely if you are guaranteed to win (I assume money) on just showing that you are madly into someone and ‘in love’ with them wouldn’t you just fake it to make it and ITV can just change the programme genre name to Unreality TV?  I mean people genuinely believe the relationships are real.  Its madness.

This got me thinking about dinner on Saturday night at Holborn Dining Room.  Located within the huge Parisian style ‘a la Saint Honore’ Rosewood Hotel, the Holborn Dining Room is run by Executive Chef Calum Franklin aka The Pie Man (which as you can imagine means he’s famous for his infamous pies and pastries).

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Jimmy, one of our male friends & I headed out on a balmy Saturday night to see what all the pie fuss was about.

We arrived at the very brasserie style restaurant where we were ushered to our table sharpish.  The hostess was slightly curly lipped about the fact that we were supposed to be only two guests but were now three but she accommodated us graciously. As it was a warm evening we asked if we could have a drink outside in the courtyard before dinner, the hostess agreed and said she’d keep a table for us.

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Out we went to a wooden beamed patio abundant with foliage.  Almost try hard in it’s aesthetic but it did the ‘indoor outdoor’ job I guess.  Sadly though, the courtyard itself is not very well placed as the hotel allow guest cars to park adjacent which just makes the set up uncomfortable and a bit unnerving.

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However, we commenced with our drinks and the non-alcoholic cocktails were notably fabulous.  I had a long-glassed earl grey infused citrus drink on ice.  Delicious and refreshing.  (Jimmy had something else delish I cant remember).

Having drunk our drinks and had some of the crunchy nuts and silky olives (both extremely important) we asked for our table back inside as we noted they only serve a recapped version of the full menu outside and for the full showdown, you need to eat inside.

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Panic attack.  Apparently, WE were not clear with what we wanted to do and so the indoor staff gave our table away.  ‘Well that’s fine’ we said casually ‘we don’t mind sitting at another table’.  Apparently, that wasn’t fine either as WE also arrived with an additional guest (you’d think they’d want more business) and it’s not convenient for the restaurant. So basically, we were almost forced to eat outside even though we had checked this out and booked.

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A little irritating to say the least.  However, a nice lady came up and apologised and let us eat the full menu outside.

I annoyingly was still recovering from a sick bug on my return from Indonesia so I couldn’t get as stuck in as I wanted and incidentally I went completely vegetarian that evening.

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I started with the courgette and ricotta salad which was exactly as it said.  Light fluffy ricotta (not too much of it which is key) and crunchy vibrant courgettes.

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Jimmy had grilled octopus with chorizo and aioli which was soft, sumptuous, tender, salty, spicy, just dreamy.

Our pal had pea soup which was light, fresh, zingy and actually a great order for a summers evening.  However, they only served it hot (error in my view.  They should have asked if ‘sir would like it served hot or chilled’ like they did at Odette’s in Primrose Hill)

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For main course, I had harissa spiced chickpea and courgette fritters on a sea of Romseco with almonds. It was exactly what I felt like.  It was warming, it was light, it was textured and it wasn’t too complicated for my fragile tummy.  I liked it a lot.

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Jimmy went for the curried mutton pie which he said was ‘a thing of wonder.  It looked beautiful the pastry was perfectly crispy. The filling of curried mutton (mutton being a highly underrated meat) was warming, gently spiced with a delicious gravy.  It was comforting.  A perfect pie’.

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Our pal went for the Potato, Conte & caramelised onion pie with Parsley sauce which he said, and I quote ‘This pie is completely naughty”.  It was oozy, luxurious, cheesy and a total treat.

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I passed on pudding as did our pal.  Jimmy went for watermelon sorbet and hazelnut ice cream.  He asked for them to be served in separate bowels, for obvious reasons.  He loved them both.  The ice cream was creamy and sorbet was a perfect palette cleanser to end on.

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The food was delicious and the pies looked and tasted exquisite and Calum Franklin is without a doubt a pie wizard.  Having taught himself the nature of pie making via YouTube videos and reading books you can definitely see he’s a natural born genius just from the incredibly intricate pastry casing itself let alone the fillings.

So, I mean, yes, I liked the Holborn Dining Room.  Did I like it as much as Britain likes Love Island? No, but then again, I’m a TOWIE kinda gal.

Rating (0-5) ***

http://www.holborndiningroom.com/

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