The Hari Hotel and Il Pampero Restaurant, Belgravia

The Hari Hotel has arrived in Belgravia and it is wonderful. This stylish new accommodation option is the perfect place to rest your head after a long day of shopping on Sloane Avenue, or to pop into for aperitivo in the Italian eatery, Il Pampero.

The Hari Hotel

The hotel is found on the corner of Chesham Place, a short walk from Hyde Park Corner, Victoria and Sloane Square tube stations, but tucked away from the noise and tourism of these popular areas. It was previously the Thompson Hotel before a recent renovation transformed it into the sophisticated Hari Hotel, named after the owner’s father. Inside, the building has a welcoming warmth and lovely feeling of luxury, with lavish velvet sofas and plenty of intriguing artwork adorning the walls.

The Hari HotelThe Hari HotelThe Hari Hotel

I was very at home in the Studio Suite, a cosy but spacious room with enviable views over the townhouses of Belgravia. The decor is simple and chic with a hint of eccentricity… I loved creative touches like the animal-skin rug and the sheer curtains concealing extra sections of the room. The huge bed was blissfully comfortable, and the small writing desk was a pleasant place to work. Thoughtful amenities like a Nespresso machine and inspiring book collection give guests little reason to leave the room.

The Hari Hotel

Our bathroom had serious wow-factor, with floor to ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the streets below. The glamorous bathroom was clad in white marble with a powerful walk in shower and stocked with pear-scented toiletries from Noble Isle.

The Hari HotelThe Hari HotelThe Hari Hotel

The resident restaurant, Il Pampero, is definitely not an afterthought with a menu of classic Italian dishes and drinks. After a round of immaculately-made cocktails we picked a couple of the pasta recipes on offer (both recommended by the waiter). Pappardelle All’Astice was plated in a majestic style, wonderful homemade strands of pasta with chunks of soft and creamy native lobster and sweet cherry tomatoes. Priced at £32 a plate, it seemed a little on the expensive side even if the ingredients were luxurious. I tried the rather more simple, but utterly delicious, Tagliolini Cacio E Pepe, homemade tagliolini with creamy cream and black pepper, mixed in a pecorino wheel at the table.

There were plenty of other tempting choices on the menu, but thanks to the generous pasta portion sizes we were too full to eat anything else, aside from a dessert to share, of course! The Il Pampero Tiramisu promised to be special, and it was certainly a unique take on the famous pudding. Layers of thick cream and sponge were covered in strong espresso, an intense but tasty take on the classic tiramisu.

The Hari Hotel

The next morning, our breakfast was a delight, with an array of treats served in the room. Don’t miss the ‘Hari Specials’… dishes like Nutella stuffed french toast with caramelised banana will put a smile on your face and get you through the morning. I also loved the tropical fruit salad which looked pretty enough to be on a Michelin-starred menu.

The Hari Hotel is an asset to the area, offering stylish visitors a beautiful place to stay, with delicious food and faultless service.

More information and book a room at The Hari Hotel here.

Bon Vivant, Bloomsbury

When the sun shines in Bloomsbury it is a glorious area of London to wander round, popping into boutiques like The School of Life and having coffee at the hip cafe, Store Street Espresso. Bon Vivant, a renamed and reimagined restaurant in Bloomsbury is likely to be a popular spot for lunch as the weather gets warmer.

Bon Vivant

This French bistro is relaxed and informal, especially at lunchtime when I visited. Velvet chairs and black marble tables give the restaurant a stylish look. The menu consists of French classic dishes like steak frites and moules a la creme. For a lighter lunch guests can choose to have daily changing tartines or quiche.

Bon VivantBon Vivant

A pleasant outside terrace area evokes a feeling of Parisian al fresco dining. Escalope de Poulet was a comforting dish, tender chicken breast in a crispy breaded coating served with wild mushrooms and a white wine sauce. Simple but tasty cooking. The Bavette steak was surprisingly chewy, even for this cut of meat, sitting on a bed of rich truffle creamed spinach and topped with delicious confit garlic shallots.

The sides were plentiful, wonderfully buttery and fresh green beans and addictive skinny fries were better than the rather bland ratatouille.

Bon VivantBon Vivant

The desserts were more creative that I expected. Deconstructed “Snickers” Cheese Cake had some nice components: I loved the caramel ice-cream with candied peanuts, but found the peanut butter cheese cake too rich and cloying with the rest of the dessert. Fondant au chocolat was cooked to the perfect consistency, with a satisfyingly gooey centre, served with a toffee sauce and hazelnut ice-cream. I was pleased to find this pudding wasn’t too sweet, and the chocolate balanced nicely with the nutty ice-cream.

Bon Vivant is a lovely restaurant with an accessible menu and a lovely terrace. If you find yourself in Bloomsbury it makes a nice lunch destination.

More information and book a table at Bon Vivant here.

Firedog, Fitzrovia

Firedog is the newest food destination in Fitzrovia. This trendy Aegean-inspired bar and restaurant serves modern Turkish and Greek street food meze, cooked in a grill fuelled by olive wood chips.

Firedog

Located just off Oxford Street, Firedog is convenient for those needing sustenance before a day of shopping or sightseeing. Inside, the restaurant has been decorated with punk motifs and neon lighting… it is not ideal for the breakfast instagrammer, but has an interesting atmosphere.

firedog

The brunch classics that Londoners have come to expect across the city are not to be found anywhere on the menu at Firedog, which I found wonderfully refreshing. Instead of the usual flat white and orange juice, we opted for the speciality siphon coffee and a mandarin juice. Both drinks were delicious and different. The coffee (served without milk) was subtle and delicate with floral notes and a smooth flavour. It was very easy to drink, but apparently has three times the amount of caffeine than your average cappuccino. The mandarin juice was a sweet and exotic alternative to orange, that I would love to see stocked more in supermarkets.

Firedog

For breakfast / brunch / lunch there is an a la carte menu to peruse, but I urge you to opt for the ‘Firedog Breakfast Meze’ which is served until 4pm, for a minimum of two people (£18 pp). The Firedog signature spread is a mix of traditional mezes and specials inspired by Su’dan Alacati, and includes both hot and cold dishes, sweet and savoury.

It wasn’t long before miniature plates and bowls began arriving at our table. My favourites were the aromatic Sujuk Turkish sausages served with smoky charred spring onions, the grilled halloumi, and the house chilli eggs (a middle eastern take on scrambled eggs). From the sweet selection I loved the Lemon curd with clotted cream and organic honeycomb, and the candied pumpkins with hung yoghurt. It was lovely to sample such an eclectic range of dishes and to feel so immersed in another food culture.

If this is how Firedog ‘do brunch’ I’d love to see what they serve up for dinner.

More information and book a table here.