Our new favourite London hang-out
Last week saw an historic gathering of power players for a day of diplomatic discussions. EU leaders discussing the terms of Brexit? Nah, I’m talking Muddy Stiletto’s national conference, obviously! With your local superblog now boasting 18 (yes flippin eighteen!) regional editions, us editors convened en masse in the smoke to um, drink quite a lot of prosecco.
Our venue for the day was The Harcourt, a chic Grade 2-listed, five-storey Georgian townhouse which is a bar, restaurant, meeting and private dining space – and is now officially our new favourite London haunt. Let us count the reasons why.
1/ Location location location: it takes less than 5 minutes to walk there from Marylebone Station and less than 15 from Paddington, so no faffing about with Tubes or buses necessary. It’s hidden away in a mini-Scandinavian district – there’s a cute Swedish church just across the street, the Swedish embassy is around the corner, and, in a previous incarnation, it was a Scandi ex-pats pub. Those influences can be found on the menu (we’ll come to that in a bit).
2/ There’s something for everyone. If you’ve got a business meeting like we did, there are various rooms available to hire to suit different moods and group sizes – we fell in love with the airy, plant-filled Garden Room, which doubles as a dining room.
Then there’s the elegant White Room upstairs, with this gorgeous chainmail chandelier.
And the neon-lit snug has a glam, sexy feel, or you can drink in the oak-panelled main bar or out on the pavement (it’s an unusually quiet road for central London).
3/ The chefs are all Finnish and this is reflected in the menu – brave sorts may like to try the reindeer, alternatively there’s plenty of pickles, rye bread and gravadlax. We’d also come back for fika, the Swedish version of coffee and cake (yeah I’ll have another cinnamon bun, ta).
The cocktail list looked amazing – we didn’t get chance to plough our way through it sadly, but again there’s a Scandi feel, with Swedish whiskies, akvavit, and lingonberries jazzing up the G&T.
It’s also worth noting that one of the capital’s best sushi restaurants is just a few doors down, underlining the cool creds of this side of Marylebone – Dinings is at number 22, although blink and you’ll miss it. Run by an ex-Nobu chef, it’s very under-the-radar.
4/ The Harcourt is also a gallery, with the walls crammed with modern artworks, all of which are available to buy. They change them every few months for new pieces, with the emphasis at the moment on street artists, including Banksy’s pal Mr Brainwash and My Dog Sighs. Meanwhile, I took a huge shine to this Piers Bourke cheeky stamp painting – anyone got a spare £8k to buy it for me?
If you get chance to pop in, let us know what you think – and, er, hopefully they’ll have replenished their prosecco stocks by the time you visit (sorry about that, we were thirsty).
The Harcourt, 32 Harcourt Street, London W1H 4XH; harcourt.com