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City slickers

PUBLISHED: 11:07 29 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:07 29 July 2014

EXG AUG 14 TRAVEL

EXG AUG 14 TRAVEL

Archant

Looking for a London stopover to make a trip to the capital a little extra special? Katherine Davies thinks she's found the answer

London’s bright lights are always an attraction, whether to see a show, see the sights or enjoy a day’s shopping, so finding the perfect hotel to make that trip into town extra special can make all the difference.

South Place Hotel could be just the ticket. After just a five-minute walk from a very busy Liverpool Street Station, my travelling companion and I were greeted with an efficient check in, offered drinks on arrival and settled into the swanky seating area by reception as if we were a million miles away from the stresses of the day.

We were shown to our room, a spacious, über cool setting, where fresh lemon and limes were available for a gin or vodka and tonic sun-downer before dinner. The lighting, music and television were all LED controlled, and the state-of-the-art Bang & Olufson television even played through a speaker system into the bathroom, an impressive if not totally essential feature. Much more useful was a box of tips and interesting places to visit close by which even included a map for a 5k run, perfect for burning off calories from the evening before ahead of tucking into a sumptuous breakfast or brunch.

And it is important to enjoy the restaurants guilt free, because the food really is a specialty of this hotel. Dinner was served in the hotel’s Angler restaurant on the 7th floor. It is an elegant, beautifully-lit, Michelin-starred restaurant which boasts an impressive menu and a wine list to match. The sommelier was on-hand to suggest suitable wines to accompany our choices and advised us of a fabulous rose. The executive chef, Tony Fleming, is known for his picture perfect dishes featuring the finest seafood from across the British Isles. We chose starters of langoustine and lobster cocktail with baby gem lettuce and brown shrimps, alongside sautéed langoustines, slow-cooked lamb breast and asparagus puree. Both were beautiful on the eye and delicious. This was followed by steamed wild sea bass with crab crushed pink fir potatoes and a sauce vierge, and for my guest the fillet of halibut with pea and crab tortellini, aubergine caviar and tomato fondue. A stunning chocolate fondant and a classic panna cotta gave a sweet finish to our meal, which was completed with handmade petit fours and coffee. The presentation, taste and overall dining experience was superb. My only quibble being the over zealous topping up of my glass with sparkling water.

The hotel boasts two restaurants, the second being 3 South Place. It offers a more casual dining experience and hosted us for breakfast. Once again, the welcome was warm and the atmosphere was attentive without being intrusive. Staff were efficient and helpful, offering advice when asked and ensuring that we had everything we needed.

These are qualities you would expect to find in any hotel, but for those of us fortunate enough to stay away reasonably regularly, we know that it just isn’t the case. So when hotels get it right, it is important we tell them, perhaps even more so than when they get it wrong.

Breakfast was a treat of freshly-squeezed orange juice, delicious coffee with warm milk, granola to die for, exquisite eggs Benedict and smoked salmon. The waiting staff told us they often service breakfast in the week to workers in the City, popping in for breakfast before work or for brunch later in the day. It is easy to see why the hotel welcomes a long list of regulars.

Things to know

The Angler restaurant is open for dinner on a Friday and Saturday evening, 3 South Place restaurant is open every day for dinner until late. It is also open early for breakfast and serves a brunch from noon to 4pm. At the weekend, bottomless Bloody Mary’s and bellinis are only £15 from the two-course brunch menu.

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