We’ve got the perfect place for you next time you are meeting somebody in Victoria or Pimlico for breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or a bite to eat in the evening.
Tapas 37 at The Eccleston Square Hotel serves a French inspired tapas menu which was created in collaboration of the Parisian owners of the hotel, Olivia and James Byrne, and Head Chef Matt Laville, who trained at Arzak in San Sebastian and worked with Gorden Ramsey at Claridge’s and Maze for seven years.
We were recently invited to meet Olivia and Matt and play guinea pigs in that we were asked to be among the first to taste some of the new items on the Spring menu. We were also given a sneak peek at one of the hotel rooms, but more about that later.
The tapas menu caters for everybody, with plenty of vegetarian (how does crispy stuffed courgette flower with truffle honey or charred asparagus with beurre noisette ice cream & toasted brioche crumbs grab you?), fish (how about Bouillabaisse, Gruyère & aïoli or St Jacques and haddock gratin?) and meat choices (deconstructed Boeuf Bourguignon or stuffed quail with prune purée anybody?). These are just a taster of the tapas available and there are also mini tartines (for example goats cheese & sun-dried tomatoes or lobster Thermidor), croquettes (the chilli cheese and shrimp ones come highly recommended) and several side dishes.
This is my kind of menu as I love grazing, sharing and trying out new food, especially when it is so expertly prepared and beautifully presented as it is here. And with prices varying between £3.50 and £9.50 per dish there is plenty of opportunity to do just that whilst sipping a glass of wine or one of the seriously delicious sounding cocktails. Leave room for some gorgeous desserts, for example mango cheese cake and rhubarb millefeuille. The tapas menu is available from 12 noon until 22.30h.
Tapas 37 also offers traditional English Cream Tea or why not splurge out on the Afternoon Tea à la Parisenne with finger sandwiches, homemade patisseries and scones. These are both available between 14.00h and 18.00h.
Breakfast is served Mondays to Saturdays from 7.00h to 11.00h and on Sundays from 8.00h to 11.00h, weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11.00h to 15.00h.
So where can you find The Eccleston Square Hotel? It is just 5 minutes’ walk from Victoria Rail Station on the south side of the elegant Eccleston Square and close to Buckingham Palace and the Tate Britain. Built in 1835, the building was once home to a young Princess Victoria and Lord Louis Mountbatten and Winston Churchill, who lived only a couple of doors away, regularly popped in for a chat. Over the years the handsome Grade II listed Georgian townhouse saw a change in occupants and fortunes until it ended up as the dilapidated, low-cost hotel, ‘The Elizabeth’. Luckily the house’s fortunes changed yet again when Olivia Byrne, who was only 22 at the time, and her younger brother James bought numbers 36 and 37 Eccleston Square in 2010, and with the help of a £6.5 million investment it was completely transformed and opened just one year later as the 5 star high-tech boutique hotel it is today.
The 39 bedrooms, with either garden or city views, are on the small side but packed full of every technological and holistic comfort you could wish for, so you might never want to leave them (which would be a shame, because you have the beauty, culture and excitement of London on your doorstep). Take the beds – reputedly the world’s best – Swedish-made Hästens electrically adjustable beds, with massage feature and the finest Italian sheeting and luxury non-allergenic bedding. By your bed side your own iPad2, on the wall a 46’’ Panasonic VIERA Neo Plasma Full HD 3D screen with 3D Blu-ray player and plenty of TV and movie channels to choose from (there is also a 3D Blu-ray & DVD library at the hotel). A Nespresso machine with complimentary capsules and free Evian water, a Bayliss Pro hair dryer, USB chargers, European and US sockets, underfloor water heating, filtered air, free super fast high-speed wi-fi, a personal safe, iron & board.
The marble bathroom with smart glass walls that turns opaque at a touch of a switch, a rain fall shower, a heated mirror with a ‘hidden’’ TV, fluffy bathrobes , towels and slippers, toiletry and aromatherapy products from L’Occitane and night time floor lighting.
The mini bar is well stocked and you’ll be glad to know that The Eccleston Square Hotel is a ‘Fair Price’ hotel, so no astronomical charges for bar of chocolate and bag of nuts.
And that is not all. When you check in, you are given a ‘handy’ (German speakers are at an advantage here and know what I am talking about!). You are given your own mobile smart phone with unlimited mobile internet & free local and international calls to selected countries throughout your stay. How cool is that? You can forget about roaming charges, new SIM cards and sky-high phone bills.
And The Eccelston Square Hotel has one more trump up its sleeve: whilst staying there you have access to the private gardens at the heart of the square, normally just accessible to residents. Here you can take a breather from it all, or, if you are feeling energetic, play a game of tennis. And I let you in on a secret: in the summer months, if you buy a picnic basket from the hotel – remember the wonderful food I told you about earlier – you don’t even have to be a hotel guest to get into the garden for a relaxing afternoon in the middle of London away from all the hustle and bustle.