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Edwardian Grafton Hotel - London
It’s the location of The Grafton that is part of its
appeal. Many hotels boast “good transport links” but The Grafton could
hardly have a better position. Some guests at the hotel might be
fortunate enough to have a suite with a view over an iconic London
Underground station. Warren Street tube is right next door and there is
a veritable fleet of red buses on the doorstep to enable the tourist to
travel like a local.
The Grafton is close to the theatres of the West End, as well as
museums, the vibrant Camden Market and thousands of shops for clothes,
shoes and every other element of sartorial elegance. This neighbourhood
of London offers a base from which to explore near and far.
The Grafton has the ambiance of a small boutique hotel even though it
has 330 rooms and suites. It’s been sympathetically refurbished to
retain many of the original features of the oldest part of the hotel,
that dates back to the start of the 20th century. It won’t take the
visitor long to notice the ornate ceiling mouldings, the occasional
pillar and a striking staircase in the lobby. There are still the dark
wood and leaded glass hall doors on the upper floors, as well as some
The owners have not been content to just freshen the paint. They have
made a striking design statement with lavish use of tasteful Asian art
in all its guises. One is welcomed by a couple of black woolly llamas
with magnificent golden heads. The dining room has a wall swimming with
gold and silver fish, and every hallway has frames filled with
jewellery and carvings. There is a lot of Asian objets d’art but its
display is subtle.
The Grafton is a 4-star hotel that is full of amenity. It
appeals to business travellers – each room has a practical array of
sockets and even provision of 110 volts for US appliances. There is a
well-equipped business centre with computers and printers for those
travelling light. There are 14 meeting rooms for groups of varying
sizes and demands, and this is an ideal hotel for conferences and
events, able to accommodate up to 110 people.
The Aston Bar and Restaurant was our wintery evening refuge and it’s
impressive with the largest pewter (or is it zinc?) bar in London. The
counter is original and tactile and reminds you why people turn to
drink. It’s an event just to pull up a high stool and lean on that
silver-grey metal and sip a signature Martini. Be transported back to
the buzzing 1930s when this spot was the HQ for the Aston Martin Club.
This is smart casual dining, in surroundings that
encourage lingering. Mirrors, columns, vibrant upholstery, textured
walls; high ceilings combine to create a light and airy dining room
that reflects both contemporary and original opulence.
The restaurant offers a seasonal British-inspired menu. There are
twists on old favourites but lots of unadulterated traditional fare
that will appeal to local and tourist alike.
Kidderton Ash goat’s cheese panna cotta, with apple and walnut salad
and beetroot dressing was my guest’s choice of starter. A delightful
presentation of creamy mild and slightly tangy cheese complemented by
that beetroot dressing which gave both colour and sweetness. It seems
to be the ingredient of the moment and finds its way into both savoury
and sweet preparations in some of the best restaurants just now.
Roast butternut squash, Jerusalem artichoke and red pepper salad, with
chestnuts, toasted pumpkin seeds and a honey dressing was my light
starter. The squash and artichoke were both tender and flavoursome and
it’s good to see Jerusalem artichokes showcasing in something other
than soup. Well-balanced dressing and crunch from nuts make this a
My guest is a man who is developing a taste for offal.
It’s becoming more popular in restaurants as prices of regular meat
cuts increase, and we are driven to at least sample some of those
almost-forgotten frugal dishes of yesteryear. Grilled calves liver with
thyme and onion purée, mashed potatoes, and grilled back bacon
was my guest’s choice and it honestly was delicious. I am not often
drawn to liver but calves liver doesn’t have any of the oft off-putting
pungency of other livers from older and more mature animals. This was a
hearty old-fashioned dish and a must-try for those who want to taste
liver for the first time. If you eat meat then surely you will agree
that we should be eating and enjoying every cut from nose to tail.
I don’t usually choose steak but this was a special Rib-eye steak (aged
for 28 days) from Northern Ireland, served with grilled vine tomatoes,
chips and peppercorn sauce. A simple piece of meat with unfussy garnish
is comfort food and a treat. That hanging does develop flavour and the
meat was meltingly tender. The chips were chunky and just the sort to
eat sans cutlery.
Baked thin apple tart and toffee sauce was the flaky, light and
deliciously decadent dessert. One must always be drawn to a pud that
requires 20 minutes’ notice. Every individual tart is cooked to order
and these are moreish. It’s that classic combination of hot fruit and
cold ice cream that adds to the pleasure; and remember that The Grafton
does have a Gym!
Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel is full of character and plenty of
facilities. The location makes this popular lodgings for family fun as
well as business. The newly refurbished rooms are comfortable with a
very individual charm that one would not expect from a chain hotel.
There are plenty of restaurants in the area but The Aston can face that
competition with confidence.
Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel
130 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 5AY
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7388 4131
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7387 7394
Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel here