THOROUGHLY MODERN MAN: Dominique Ansel Bakery comes to London

Slowly rotating 135m above the River Thames, trapped in a small capsule with only a select number of food influencers and a gluttonous number of pastries, may seem like an unusual place for breakfast. This extraordinary setting, however, was perfectly suited to celebrate the launch of Dominique Ansel Bakery London, the first European venue opened by the chef responsible for the Cronut craze, numerous other foodie inventions, and the most popular bakery in New York.

Whilst Dominique Ansel is particularly famous for creating the Cronut, the delicious croissant-donut hybrid that has caused his New York venue to have hour long queues every morning, it is but one of a host of creative sweets being served in his bakeries. A particular favourite of the chef’s (and mine) is the DKA, or ‘Dominique’s Kouign Amann’, which is a sort of caramelized croissant, with a flaky interior surrounding by a crunchy shell. He is not resting on his laurels either, constantly innovating, changing the menu, and updating the flavours (the Cronut changes every month and has individual flavours for each city location). It is because of this that visits to one of Dominique’s bakeries are so unique and worth the morning commute.

I thoroughly recommend heading down to Elizabeth Street in Belgravia as soon as you can to see what Dominique has in store for you, just be prepared to wait in line!

More information about the new Dominique Ansel Bakery in London here.

Photographed and written by a Thoroughly Modern Man, Gabriel Kenny-Ryder.

Marriott County Hall, Southbank

Marriott County Hall has an enviable location on the edge of Southbank, overlooking the Thames and many of London’s most famous landmarks. Housed in a beautifully restored historic building which boasts impressive architecture and polished marble floors, County Hall is reminiscent of a sophisticated bygone era.

Our room was spacious but quite dated in design, decorated in browns and beiges with simple furnishings. It felt a bit like visiting a great aunt but this is all part of the vintage appeal. A lovely gift had been left for me, a box of treats including spiced pear chutney, cider mustard and strawberry jam, a statement of the hotel’s proud British heritage. The ultra-comfortable king sized bed provided a peaceful night’s sleep. The bathroom was large and functional with a lovely deep bath and Aromatherapy Essentials toiletries.

The hotel has various gym and spa facilities as well as an indoor 25 metre pool, a rare asset for a central London hotel, and definitely a selling point. There are also eleven dedicated meeting rooms, perfect for fulfilling business needs.

The restaurant, Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar is perhaps the nicest part of the hotel; with impressive views and a stylish contemporary look, it feels like it has been updated more recently than the rest of the hotel. We enjoyed a typically English meal, garlicky grilled prawns followed by the finest dry-aged Aberdeen Angus steaks. There is a huge range of steaks on offer to satisfy even the most fussy of meat fans. Various bone-in and bone-out options are available including a gigantic 1kg ‘Bull’s Head’ which I was amazed to see a small woman tackle alone on a nearby table. Our more modest fillet and sirloin steaks had a lovely depth of flavour and were cooked exactly to our specification. Truffle and Old Winchester chips are an indulgent side. The delicious Spanish wine accompanied the meat well.

Breakfast is also served in Gillray’s and looked lovely especially in the morning light. Big baskets of fruit, cereal, bread and pastries were laid out at the bar. There is an a la carte menu but we found the continental options more than adequate.

With Big Ben, the Thames and the London Eye on your doorstep, Marriott County Hall is ideal for those wishing to have  the London experience.

More information and book a stay here.