Staying at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, I felt fascinated by the hotel’s Art Deco past and the glamorous design of the roaring twenties that has been weaved into the hotel in its current revitalised state. But I also discovered that the hotel was perfect for having a fantastic night out in London, without ever having to leave its luxurious confines.
The night begins in sultry cocktail bar Smith & Whistle, a bar that breaks the usual mould of bland hotel bars. Based on a fictional story, Detective Inspector Smith would meet his nemesis, criminal William Whistle for a clandestine meetings in order to trade information. The narrative informs both the design of the hotel and the cocktail menu and the space feels a little like a gentleman’s club.
With a gorgeous art deco monochrome floor, beautiful bronze furnishings and a striking copper frieze at the end, the design is really impressive. But I particularly liked the bowler hats and umbrellas hung up by the door, perhaps left there by the fictional Inspector Smith and Mr Whistle!
With the menu on a notepad, alluding to the fictional inspector, the food options also stick to the theme with classic British sharing plates under the headings of ‘Wanted’ and broken down into ‘On the Run’, ‘In the Clink’ and ‘Partner in Crime.’ My sister was meeting me for cocktails, and as we both had dinner plans we decided to save the nibbles menu for another time and move straight on to drinks.
Both Smith and Whistle liked their drinks strong and serious so every measures are poured at 35 ml as standard.
My sister went for a William Whistle with Martin Millers Westbourne Gin, Lillet Blanc and grape fruit bitters.
One thing I love about Christmas drinks is hot cocktails so I opted for a hot toddy with cognac, Jameson Whiskey, lemon, honey, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and hot water. Served in a cute tea-pot!
As our first drinks packed quite a punch, we moved on to light champagne cocktails and one of each of our favourites. A Kir Royal for Jen and a fresh peach bellini for me. Having got the night started, Jen left to continue her plans and I was joined by Mr S for dinner.
Across the hallway from Smith & Whistle is the hotel’s new restaurant Italian, Mercante.
Mercante is unlike the rest of the Art Deco hotel and instead sunny yellow booths and banquettes bring a feeling of Italian warmth to the restaurant. (FYI I took the interior pictures of the bar and restaurant earlier in the day hence the light and why they’re empty).
You can enter the restaurant directly from Piccadilly and at the front are gorgeous ceramic tiles, black and white photographs and a meat slicer giving the feeling of a modern version of an Italian farmhouse kitchen.
A big map of Italy is indicative of the cuisine of the restaurant and Head Chef Davide D’ignazio was inspired by different parts of Italy to create his seasonal menu.
From the sunny terrace front, the restaurant extends to a much larger dining room and lots of space for the hotel guests to enjoy breakfast too.
Based on a concept of sharing small plates, we went ahead and ordered a glass of prosecco each and a selection of nibbles. Cured meats and parmesan are cut freshly in the restaurant itself and are totally delicious on fresh Italian bread.
Good old-fashioned meatballs in tomato sauce were great as a hearty nibble.
And I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, you can never go wrong with hot melted cheese on bread!
Though tasty, I found the batter on the calamari a little too thick and heavy.
But it’s the pasta that’s the absolute star of the show. Tasty thick strands of pappardelle coated in a light covering of vignarola or vegatable sauce with hearty pieces of lamb.
And even better linguine with mussels and nudja added spice to the sauce. Both are available in a small or large portion so it can be incorporated into the meal whether you just what to try it or if you want a big hug from a bowl of pasta.
I was pretty full by now…sharing plates just have that habit of catching up on you but we were still keen to try one of the main courses. Intrigued by the rabbit cacciatora with yellow heritage carrots, we shared this delicious and not too heavy dish as our final savoury option. And harnessing my powers as an ever hungry food blogger, we went ahead and ordered dessert.
Fortunately my Amalfi lemon pot was very light, though the same can’t be said for Mr S’s Caprese cake with ricotta ice cream, though both were utterly delicious and very complimentary. Thankfully feeling full on Italian carbs and tipsy on cocktails and prosecco, we didn’t have far to go and headed back to the gorgeous Park View Suite to bed.
Breakfast the next morning is back in Mercante and is quite frankly one of the best breakfast spreads that I’ve ever seen.
Every type of bread or pastry that you could possibly imagine…
Cured meat, smoked fish and a huge selection of fruit and cereals.
But you can also order from the à la carte menu and as the restaurant has an egg station you can basically order eggs in every way shape and form!
Or just go for a full English! Not only was the breakfast amazing but I’m definitely returning to Mercante for the prosecco brunch which is incredible value for money at three courses for £20 and bottomless prosecco for £15.
My time at Sheraton Grand London Park Lane was soon coming to the end but I headed off to take a browse around the nearby boutiques of Shepherd’s Market before having a quick manicure at Brows and Nails. We loved our staycation at the hotel and though sadly, I won’t be moving into the Park View Suite, I’ll certainly be returning to this beautiful hotel with its fantastic drinking and dining options.
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Sheraton Grand London Park Lane
I was a guest of Sheraton Grand London Park Lane and food and drink were complimentary for the duration of my stay