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A secret garden in the centre of London

When we were able to get tickets for The Cursed Child for just two weeks after our wedding, we decided to have a mini-moon in London. Choosing where to stay in the capital is always a little daunting, as there’s just so much choice, but I knew we’d made the right decision about The Bloomsbury  as soon as we arrived.

The hotel is stylish and chic, with a pleasing mixture of olde-worlde glamour and modern finishing touches. The hotel’s location couldn’t be improved upon; it takes under a minute to reach Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, and is within easy walking distance of Covent Garden and Shaftesbury Avenue, too.

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Amidst all of the hustle and bustle that such a vibrant, central location brings, The Bloomsbury’s much-loved restaurant, Dalloway Terrace is a real haven. The restaurant is styled as a charming secret garden, oozing elegance and tranquillity. Part of the restaurant is covered, while the terrace is more open, making it a year-round hideaway for those exploring London’s literary capital. The heaters ensure that everyone stays toasty warm whatever the weather, while the openness of the restaurant means that it’s lovely and bright. Plants crawl up the walls and adorn the stylish marble-topped tables, and stylish Nordic blankets are draped artfully over the backs of chairs.

We visited the Dalloway Terrace a few times during our stay at The Bloomsbury, for brunch, a pre-theatre dinner and to check out The Juicery, which offers a fabulous approach to keeping healthy through a range of delectable juices and smoothies. After a few days of over-indulgence, we were certainly in need of something to soothe, and the blueberry coconut smoothie, with blueberries, almond milk, cinnamon, Medjool dates, coconut oil and maca powder, was the perfect choice. The Dalloway team have worked together with experts in nutrition, health and fitness to create signature recipes to suit any demand, whether you’re looking to detox or energise, rehydrate or look radiant (aren’t we all?).

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The brunch offering draws in quite a crowd, and as the sunlight dapples the terrace and Bloody Marys and Mimosas are sipped, it’s easy to see why – brunch at the Dalloway is the perfect way to kick-start a relaxing weekend. My husband tucked into French toast, which can be enjoyed with seasonal berries and crème fraîche or maple syrup and perfectly crispy bacon. I was sorely tempted by the Dorset crab on toast, but in the end plumped for a serrano ham croque monsieur. The service was exemplary, and the atmosphere utterly charming.

The Bloomsbury is superbly placed for lots of theatres, so it makes a great base for those visiting the capital for shows. The Cursed Child is showing at the Palace Theatre, which is only a five-minute walk from the hotel. The Dominion Theatre, currently home to the power ballad-powerhouse The Bodyguard is just around the corner, as is the London Palladium. Catch Guys and Dolls at the Phoenix Theatre, Stomp at Ambassadors or Aladdin at Prince Edward Theatre, all within minutes of The Bloomsbury – the options are endless.

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Before heading out to a show, we enjoyed a superb pre-theatre dinner at Dalloway Terrace, along with some cocktails from the sophisticated list. For me, it’s all about Champagne cocktails so I started with the Mrs Dalloway, which features Champagne, Courvoisier, sugar and bitters, then moved on to sample the Lady Bedford – a blend of Champagne, calvados, sugar and rhubarb bitters. My Bourbon-loving husband couldn’t resist the Honeycomb Old Fashioned, a concoction he’s since tried to recreate at home. In the evening the atmosphere in the restaurant is decidedly romantic thanks to the twinkling lights and secluded feel.

To start, we shared the bread selection, which features Guinness bread, a firm favourite of the Doyle hotel group, alongside soda bread and sourdough. My husband chose the Tuesday special main course of Keralan coconut chicken curry, which was aromatic, packed full of flavour and beautifully presented. My main course of lamb cutlets with mint Béarnaise and broccoli champ was stunning. The meat was tender yet hearty, and the mint Béarnaise the perfect accompaniment – it was easily the best meal of our London stay, and we certainly sampled widely. We shared a decadent dessert of Valrhona and pecan nut slice with salted caramel ice cream – heaven – and additional scoops of honeycomb and chocolate ice cream and blackcurrant sorbet.

The food was wonderful, as was the attentive service, but it’s the setting that really makes the Dalloway Terrace an unforgettable spot. Whether you’re visiting for a classy breakfast or brunch, a celebratory lunch or a sumptuous three-course dinner, Dalloway Terrace at The Bloomsbury is an excellent choice – you can even pop in for a selection of small plates and a glass of wine in the afternoon to refuel, perfect after a day spent shopping and sightseeing.

Hannah Burton

Hannah Burton

Hannah is a keen foodie with a passion for travel, books and history. She regularly creeps out the office with her weird crushes (Mr Tumnis and Thomas Cromwell, among others) and is a lover of fun facts, punnery and quizzes.

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