A newly opened alfresco dining space on the back terrace of the The Bloomsbury is just two minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Tottenham Court Rd Tube station and takes its name in honour of Virginia Woolf’s classic novel, Mrs Dalloway.
Along with EM Foster, John Maynard and other esteemed writers and intellectuals from her ‘Bloomsbury Set’, Woolf regularly hung-out in this area of London in the 1910’s and 20’s to ponder on life’s meanings. I’m pretty sure if they were meeting today, the literary glitterati would have approved of Dalloway Terrace’s glorious periodic atmosphere, not too mention it’s rather bohemian all day dining opportunities.
This being Spring, eating alfresco in London is a potentially risky experience. Fear not – despite this being a slightly soggy evening we’re still eating outside and we’re warm, dry and cosy. The patio heaters are placed just at the right height to keep the air warm, without burning your face off. There are blankets if it gets too cold and the large amounts of greenery and fairy lights together with the secluded nature of Dalloway Terrace really do whisk you away to another time and place.
There’s a breakfast menu for early starters (see above), or for the time-rich a leisurely traditional afternoon tea. Meanwhile the concise small plates menu is well thought out and beautifully executed, if not a tad conservative. ‘Grilled tiger prawns harissa aioli & lime‘ sits next to the more traditional ‘London Meantime beer battered Sea bass & chips mushy peas‘.
Head Chef, Paul O’Brien gets creative with daily specials, for example Friday’s ‘Pan-seared grey mullet fennel & herbs‘ leaps from the page, but today is Thursday so I order ‘Wild wood pigeon en croûte, with wild mushrooms and black truffle‘.
First though is my starter of ‘Crispy pig cheeks, mustard crème fraîche, apple & raisin chutney‘, it’s a wonderful prelude, delicate like pulled pork and coated with a light crunch. The zingy apple and raisin chutney combines fabulously with the house cocktail, a ‘Fizzy Rascal’ (Champagne, angostura bitters and dunked sugar cube). The main course pigeon is gamey and hearty with flavour, fine fodder to stimulate the creative side of your taste buds.
My dining partner’s ‘Seared tuna, soy & ginger dressing, pickled radish‘ is delicate and a deep red in the middle. His main course of ‘Hand-dived seared scallops spinach, chanterelles & teriyaki dressing‘ is light enough for us to consider a trio of desserts to finish – Bloomsbury Bakewell tart with pistachio ice cream, Crème brûlée and Valrhona dark chocolate fondant. Adding tea flavours to desserts is a popular combination for me and I’ve seen it done brilliantly before at House of Ho, this time it lives under the Crème brûlée sugar crust.
After dinner we head downstairs for a cocktail in the gorgeous wood-panelled bar rooms another throwback to a more refined era in London. Great food, fantastic environment, my tip is to experience this hidden gem and soak in the good vibrations Dalloway Terrace exudes before a new ‘Bloomsbury Set’ descend.
Dalloway Terrace open daily 7–10:30pm
16-22 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3NN
020 7347 1221