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picture of No.20, Sanctum Soho W1

Near Carnaby Street, a would-be trendy hotel dining room rather lacking in character; bills can be kept quite reasonable, though, and the location is undoubtedly handy.

The phrase ‘Soho boutique hotel’ conjures up certain expectations, so we’d have to admit we found our arrival at this small (30-room) newcomer a bit of a let-down.

We know size isn’t everything, but the scale seems more B&B than hotel. Just off the foyer – too grand a word, really – is this rather square (literally) dining room that looks a lot like many other contemporary dining rooms. There was admittedly the occasional distinguishing feature. Odd pink columns, for example. And tight, shiny chair coverings of the sort we assume you find in the better sort of S&M dungeon. There was even a slightly shaggy-looking customer, who looked as if – asked nicely – he might trash the place. Overall, however, such a touch of rock-credibility didn’t quite persuade us that our visit was any sort of walk on the wild side, or, indeed, that this place had any discernible character at all.

The lunchtime menu – all that was offered – was short and to the point. Eating alone, your reviewer consumed a seafood soup (good texture, but half an ocean’s salt thrown in too), a vegetable tart (fine) and a lemon posset with shortbread (ditto). Bread – hot buns, in fact – was unremarkable, but espresso good and strong. Overall – given a total price of just over £30, including a glass of wine – one could hardly complain.

À la carte, the menu offers a wide price range. You could dine here modestly for about the same cost as our lunch, so this could clearly make a handy West End supper destination. Choose the pricier items, however, and you could spend twice as much – if you’re in the mood to spend that sort of money, we suspect you could have rather more fun elsewhere.

Note: also open for (relatively pricey) breakfasts, which is still a bit of a Soho rarity.

20 Warwick St
020 7292 6102
From £35/head

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