16-22 Great Russell Street, London, XGL WC1B 3NN dallowayterrace.com
Even on an absurdly wet and windy summer’s day, Nick finds Dalloway Terrace puts a sunny smile on his face.
A restaurant that’s part of The Bloomsbury Hotel, it’ s a real find in this corner of London. Lots of outdoor space on stepped terraces where no traffic intrudes and a smart covered area for when the sun don’t shine.
Which, after days of unremitting heat, is what it isn’t doing when I turn up for lunch. There’s a fierce gale blowing down Tottenham Court Road and it’s raining cats and dogs.
So what with my trousers soaked from ankle to knee, and my best umbrella irrevocably blown inside out, I am not a happy man when I arrive for lunch. And I only walked from Soho Square.
Pushing through the curtain from the rain swept outer terrace to the covered area, I cheer up immediately. It’s warm and dry and an absolute Interflora of flowers and various blooms. And it is still’outside’ enough to feel fresh and welcoming.
It’s particularly nice right now as it’s the season of’Dalloway Summer Estate’ in partnership with Ramsbury, maker of single-estate spirits Ramsbury Gin & Vodka with the floral displays created by Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart using wild flowers found on the estate and including silk daisies, cosmos, larkspur, delphiniums and bits of foliage
The Wiltshire Snapper cocktail, incorporating Ramsbury Single Estate Gin was one of the best cocktails I’ve had this year. It was a variant on a Bloody Mary, so it had a stick of celery ready to poke me in the eye, but the flavours were far more complex.
Having got that down me, and feeling a whole lot better, it was time to take a proper look at the menu. Along with eating some good London Fields sourdough and a really fantastic Guinness bread, which was malty and nutty.
The breads were let down a bit by the butter which gave every impression of having already melted once that day, been rechilled, and then allowed to melt again. I don’t like rock-hard butter, but this was far too soft and looked like it had split. Great bread though.
Rain or not, it still felt like summer so I wanted a cold starter. Cauliflower’tabbouleh’ fitted the bill, cauliflower granulated and mixed with generous amounts of preserved lemon, pomegranate seeds and herbs. A little bit’wet’ but nothing to worry about.
Thai Summer Rolls translucently packed full of veg and with a ginger and sesame dipping sauce proved a bit of a handful for F; he had to move fast as after the first bite the rolls wanted to unravel. He reported good fresh flavours and plenty of crunch against the slippery wrap.
There’s plenty of good stuff on the menu, which aims to please and not show off. Small plates and large plates all with the aroma of hotel about them; dishes to satisfy visitors from anywhere and that always means burgers and steaks.
But I had salmon, simply grilled with a herb butter and one of those lemons in muslin catch the pips. I always like to see those. It’s old school but nice. Perfect salmon, still moist in the centre, it’s all too easy to overdo salmon and turn it into tinned.
With some crispy truffled fries and squeaky green beans with shallots and a dressed heart of a Little Gem lettuce, it was a ray of sunshine.
And in fact the sun now began to struggle back out, beams flitted across the terrace accenting the foliage and providing warmth.
F shared the veg and he had fish too; sole meuniere nicely tanned brown from its encounter with the buttery pan. Again, this was elegantly simple food, just what he wanted for lunch. He praised the fish highly, his wife is Japanese and fish is taken very seriously at his home.
And we drank a good Asturian white, all the rage now doncha know, before downing a seriously excellent vanilla crÃƒÂ¨me brulee with raspberries and almonds, and an equally good summer pavlova.
We went back into Tottenham Court Road with that feeling you get at Gatwick when you return from a summer holiday to find skies so grey you can almost see your tan fading.
But for a short while in Dalloway Terrace it was summer in London and the blue skies are now coming back and it is going to be an even lovelier place to lunch or dine.
Dalloway’s Summer Estate will be open until mid-September between 08:00am and 11:00pm with reservations available up to two weeks in advance. No reservations are available for Dalloway Terrace’s patio or The Coral Garden Ã¢â‚¬â€œ tables are allocated on a first come basis.