Since its launch last year, the buzz around NoMad London‘s Instagram-famous restaurant shows no sign of slowing. But does it live up to the hype?
Restaurant of the Week: The NoMad Restaurant
You can’t help but feel like a someone when arriving at NoMad London, one of the capital’s most talked about post-pandemic hotel launches. This is, in part, due to the grand location: it sits beside the neoclassical Royal Opera House, just around the corner from the Covent Garden piazza. And, of course, the jaw-dropping interiors help: dark and sultry, with a cool New York aesthetic.
But there’s also the intriguing history: the Grade II listed building once housed the 19th century Bow Magistrates Court, which held a stream of famous faces within its cells – Oscar Wilde, the Kray twins and Emmeline Pankhurst were all tried there. Even Vivienne Westwood spent a night in its cells for a Breach of Peace case back in the ‘70s.
Fast forward a few decades, and the building was transformed into a hotel by Andrew Zobler’s Sydell Group – the first London outpost for the NoMad brand, following launches in New York, LA and Las Vegas. US design studio Roman and Williams, renowned for its sumptuous interiors, was brought in to create the look, channeling the hotel’s American roots while bringing a new UK edge to the table. The result? An aesthete’s dreamland, of which every inch could be snapped for social feeds – think rich velvets, vintage chandeliers and dramatic artworks lining the walls.
The centrepiece, though, is the main restaurant: a three-storey, glass-roofed atrium complete with cascading Art Noveau-style lanterns, freestanding trees and foliage draped round Edwardian columns. Soak up the view from the lobby before heading down the mahogany-clad circular staircase to begin your evening with an aperitif at The NoMad Bar, a moody space with maximalist accents. There’s an extensive cocktail menu featuring all sorts of unique concoctions, which bartenders are on hand to help navigate (on a warm evening the refreshing ‘Stranger Things’ was just what the doctor ordered: a gin-based drink mixed with St Germain, green apple and Swedish aquavit).
Next, take your seat in the adjacent dining room, where executive chef Ashley Abodeely helms a suitably stylish food menu, and wine director Bella Babbit has curated an extensive list of both classics and interesting new varieties, with a special focus on English wine.
Some NoMad signatures remain, like the roast chicken for two, a decadent dish stuffed with foie gras and black truffle, and the suckling pig, which comes with mustard greens. But there are also lots of new dishes. Lavish ingredients feature throughout: the ‘Snacks’ section includes oysters with frozen watermelon, and caviar with griddled potato bread, while among the starters sits a lobster tagliatelle cooked in lemon and butter. There’s also a seafood platter piled high with oysters, mussels, scallop ceviche and more.
Mains are a similarly luxurious affair, with dishes on offer including Herdwick loin of lamb, pan-roasted pollock with Swiss chard, and a sharing Hereford beef rib-eye. And whatever you order, be sure to add a side of the perfectly crispy potato rosti – one of the best we’ve tried.
By this point, you’ll be fit to burst, but then come the oh-so-pretty desserts. Our highlight is the chocolate cremeux with passion fruit ice-cream and coconut, but the raspberry sorbet is also a safe bet for something on the lighter side. If you simply can’t manage, there are a selection of digestifs to choose from, including a whisky-based drink infused with wasabi and white chocolate.
THE FINAL WORD
With its velvet booths and dim lighting this restaurant screams date night – but it’s also beautiful during the day, when the soaring glass ceiling floods natural light into the space and well-heeled diners pop in for brunch. Keen to see it in all its guises? You’ll have no choice but to book a night in one of the glorious Art Deco-inspired bedrooms, which continue the hedonistic theme with king-size beds and freestanding baths, with some even overlooking the Royal Opera House. A someone indeed.
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