Where have you been hiding? | Andaz Hotel | 40 Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 7QN
We must have walked past The Andaz Hotel hundreds of times and we didn’t know it was there. Even when we were looking for it the task wasn’t any easier. We passed it twice, even Google maps was starting to wonder what we were playing at. I decided that the Andaz Hotel hotel must have a cloaking device or maybe use some sort of Jedi mind trick to keep out the undesirables (not that we’re undesirable!)
The reason for this determination to find Andaz’s Catch Champagne Bar & Lounge was because it was the starting point for the Zomato foodie meet-up. The evening had been arranged to showcase some of what the hotel and three of its seven restaurants and bars have to offer. We only joined Zomato about six weeks ago and I must confess that I’ve become addicted. In a nutshell Zomato is half restaurant info/review resource (with 1,000s of London restaurants listed) and half social network page for food lovers. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – click here to get the big picture.
The Andaz Hotel (part of the Hyatt Group) is a five star hotel in the city, slap bang next to Liverpool Street Station yet right on the edge of vibrant east London. This hotel has history, it was once the Great Eastern Hotel, one of London’s original railway hotels. From the outside the ground floor of this stunning redbrick Victorian building, which dates back to 1884, looks more like a row of bars than a 267 room hotel. But don’t let the age fool you, inside isn’t tired or dated, it’s actually very cool and contemporary. There isn’t a formal lobby as such, you are welcomed by an Andaz host and shown to the lounge to enjoy free refreshments while the check-in comes to you via an iPad – how very civilised.
Obviously this isn’t going to be a full review of the hotel and its restaurants (we would have to stay/dine here to give you that) just more a teaser of what’s to be had. What we did see, eat and drink was great, as was the attention to detail. Some of the hotel’s open spaces are incredible, the Andaz even has its own spa-esque scent that is spritzed around the building.
Here’s a brief rundown of the three restaurants that we visited… There’s also authentic Japanese cuisine available from Miyako and a traditional English pub called The George (great for watching sports events).
Catch Champagne Bar & Lounge:
First stop was the Catch Champagne Bar & Lounge. Well just the lounge part to be precise, a huge room with giant mirrors and an open ‘table bar’ that encourages an informal bond between bar staff and customers. Here we were treated to a glass or two of bubbles and a refreshing Raspberry Bellini and a selection of charcuterie. We tried Salami Finocchiona, a regional speciality of central Italy, matured Coppa stagionata, Castelspeck a slighty smoked ham flavoured with garlic, pepper, juniper berries, nutmeg and aromatic herbs (by far my favourite) and a delightful Mortadella Bologna, a large Italian sausage made of finely ground heat-cured pork.
The lounge was fairly quiet when we arrived, but then again it was only 6.30. We were told that it can get quite lively with the actual Champagne Bar quickly becoming London’s new venue to meet and ‘party the night away’ (their words, not ours).
If the Champagne Lounge was a little on the quiet side then Eastway already had a real buzz about the place. The hotel has based this restaurant on a New York style brassiere, albeit a refined version (not like the ones we visited in NYC). This time we huddled excitedly around the ‘Interactive Cocktails Station’ for a Caipirinha making demonstration. Once we were shown the basics it was up to us to experiment with the lychees and mixed berries with, especially in my case, very interesting results.
My attention briefly switched to the Sharing Platters. First out were the mini burgers (should really be called sliders, but hey), my favourite was the Fish burger with cucumber & tartar sauce, crisp batter and flaky white fish. We didn’t try the Chicken burger with tomato relish and the Beef burger with bacon and onion relish were a little on the over-cooked side (but then again we love our burgers rare).
Unfortunately we missed the 28 days aged rib eye with peppercorn sauce and the Lebanese Mezze but by then I was back making the cocktails. Inside this balding, middle-aged man is a young, trendy, bearded mixologist just bursting to get out!
1901 Restaurant and Wine Bar:
Last stop was 1901 and the very grand hall that’s home the The Andaz’s fine dining, in surroundings like this it couldn’t be anything but fine. This stunning grade listed room has an eventful past, its been a train station ticket hall and a ballroom. And during WWII, the beautiful domed stain glassed skylight was covered in the hotel bedroom’s mattresses to protect it from the bombing raids.
We were lucky enough to sit at a long, high table that overlooked the entire room, with another of their open bars taking centre stage. Here we munched through a large platter of brilliantly sourced artisan cheeses. My top two being the Innes Log from Staffordshire, unpasteurised goat’s milk, with a creamy yet tangy and nutty taste and the Montgomery’s Cheddar from Somerset, unpasteurised cow’s milk, grainy, sweet, rich and fruity – a top Cheddar! This was followed by a taster trio of beautifully presented mini deserts, the standout being the Lemon tart with blueberry and honeycomb. All washed down with a VERY drinkable red and a measure of port.
We thanked our hosts from the hotel and the lovely Kritika from Zomato and tried to make our way home. It seemed just as difficult to get out as it was to get in. Maybe it’s just like the hotel California? You can check in anytime you want, but you can never leave… To be honest I don’t think we’d want too.
Nearest station: Liverpool Street (3 mins walk)
*We were guests of Andaz, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.