In the vast Marylebone hotel, a luxurious but entirely uninspired new restaurant, where the prices suffer from delusions of grandeur.
Beware: it is impossible for the horrible, loud and inapproriate music to be turned down in the new dining room at this hotel near Marylebone Station. Not difficult, impossible. Well, not unless you’re going to fuse the whole system anyway. That’s what we were told. This, it seems, is a five star hotel with no grip at all on one of the basics of customer comfort.
No grip on the basics of good restaurant design either, as far as we could see: what an awful farrago of contemporary clichés. Most egregious were the high back chairs Ã la Connaught. Such chairs are not suitable for dining. Period. Perhaps ‘Fusion by Design’ – whose website suggests they do a lot of work with mid-market chains – thought: ‘they have them at the Connaught, so they must be classy’. Wrong.
The food, needless to say, lives up to its description in the press release: ‘a diverse modern-European menu to reflect the chic style of twotwentytwo’. Yep, it’s that bad. OK, not quite that bad. With one exception, it was just entirely undistinguished.
That exception, bizarrely, was the lunch dish of the day, and one that’s very easy to get wrong – fish ‘n’ chips. Not only was it good, it was good value too – £10, including a glass of Sancerre.
We’d taken comfort from such an eye-catching value proposition that prices here would be reasonable by hotel standards, but how wrong we were. With bread charged at £3, wines typically £8 a glass, and espresso an amazing £3.75 a cup, we managed to clock up a bill of over £80. This was for two, choosing frugally, and having just three glasses between us of wine on top of the one in the offer.
Nothing, apart from the fish ‘n’ chips, had begun to live up to the standards required by the sorts of prices this ghastly dining room so nonchalantly demands.