Test Drives

nedmusicLive music on the ground floor of The Ned

You'd have had to be living entirely off the grid over the past month or so not to have heard of The Ned. This new City playground burst onto the scene with a huge party in April where British royalty rubbed shoulders with rappers and champagne flowed all night and through into the wee small hours. If you want to see our spectacular photobombing of Tinie Tempah on the night, check out the party pics in the Standard.

Part hotel, part upmarket food hall, part members club this was a new alliance between Soho House and US hotel company the Sydell Group (Nomad hotels). It took the food hall concept that New York's really running with at the moment, took it up a notch or two and embedded it into a Grade I listed former bank headquarters just across the road from the Bank of England.

There are 10 restaurants and bars at The Ned (or will be when all are open), ranging from the members-only Vault bar in the basement to the huge ground floor food hall and up to the members' bar and restaurant by the pool on the roof.

We were on a mission to try as many of them as possible during an overnight stay.

 

2pm - Drinks on the roof

It was 26 degrees in central London. Luckily for us, we're in a hotel with a rooftop equipped with an outdoor pool, restaurant and two bars (open only to hotel guests and members). And while just turning up and hoping to get a table is pretty stupid (there are 36 people on the waiting list when we asked) there's usually a corner somewhere where you can grab a chair and sit in the sun with a chilled glass of wine. Which is precisely what we do for a bit.

A quick tip: you can book the rooftop restaurant - so if you're staying on a glorious day, make sure you do this early to avoid a wait as everyone heads upstairs for some sun. 

 

3pm - a drink at the Nickel Bar

While waiting for our room to be ready we pop along for a quick sharpener at the main bar on the ground floor. We're struck by how decent the prices are for this part of town - £5.50 for a pint of Brooklyn Lager doesn't seem too bad at all.

 

3.30pm - checking into the room

roomMore pillows please... One of the very luxurious rooms at The Ned.

There are four rooms on each corner of The Ned like ours on the second floor with dual aspect views over the city and - crucially - no-one above you or beside you. Classified as a Large Room - this had a separate lounge area and a huge bathroom. It's quite a thing and - as with the rest of the building - attention to detail is everywhere and no expense has been spared. 

cocktailsWhere to start..?

But let's get to the really important stuff - the minibar. Or should we say the maxibar? Because this room had perhaps the best drinks offering we've seen in a hotel bedroom to date, beating even the Grand Pigalle. On the sideboard, we had a drinks tray with cut class tumblers, single malt whisky, Cotswolds gin Our/London vodka and even a spray for delivering the right amount of vermouth for a decent martini.

Inside the mini bar itself were still more goodies - pre-mix bottles of Old Fashioned, Martini and Negroni cocktails (all at £20), watermelon water, Sandows cold brew as well as the usual beer, Champagne and a lovely pale Rose.

None of this boded well for our hangovers the next day.

 

4.30 pm - Afternoon snacks at Millie's

millies eggsScotch eggs at Millie's

Ahead of checking in, we arrive a little early on Saturday for some snackage at Millie's. This is open 24 hours serving up British food. Conscious of all the food we were going to be eating, we plumped for and a couple of scotch eggs (£5 a pop) and a really decent starter of potted shrimps with Melba toast (£10) - served, blessedly, without the usual rock hard, straight from the fridge plug of butter so many establishments do.

 

6pm - a dip in the basement pool

basementpoolThe beautiful vault pool at The Ned

There is a pool on the roof (more of that in a bit) but if you need to swim a few lengths before dinner, you'll need to head to floor -2 and have a dip in the basement pool. Obviously we needed a tiny bit of exercise before continuing to work through what the hotel has to offer. There's an impressive hamam, treatment rooms, sauna and steam room down here too. 

 

7pm - down to the basement Vault Bar

cocktails vaultCocktails in the vault

Kicking the evening proper off, we head to the Vault Bar (on floor -1). This is a three room bar for members and hotel guests only, in the bowels of the building. As the name suggests it's actually carved out of the bank's old vault (itself used as inspiration for the vaults in the Bond movie Goldfinger). Cocktails here were good, but not mindblowing and we think we'd have been better coming here later when there's a DJ and more of a buzz.

Of course, we were visiting on the hottest day of the year so far, so really everyone wanted to be up on the rooftop.

 

8pm - dinner at Cecconi's

cecconispizzaPizzette with courgette flowers, pecorino and asparagus

We've never been to the original Mayfair Cecconi's, so this new City outpost of the swanky Italian chain seemed like a good place for our main meal of the evening. The menu is classic Italian and there's an absolutely massive, marble-clad wood fired oven for the pizzette.

We range our way through an exemplary dinner, highlights being a generous serving of wonderful rosy pink vitello tonnato (£10) and the seasonal pizzette of courgette flowers with pecorino and asparagus (£10).

cecconis ravioliCrab ravioli

For the mains, crab ravioli (£21) was just pipped to the pasta crown by the plin agnoletti (pasta stuffed with chicken and rabbit) and served with a simple butter and sage sauce (£16).
You're in safe hands here with GM Mariano, who you may remember from Cafe Monico - the service was super-friendly and totally on the mark.

 

9.30pm - dessert at Malibu Kitchen

malibu pavlovaElderberry pavlova with grapefruit curd and pomegranate

For dessert we were on the move again, heading to the section next door to Cecconi's for dessert at Malibu Kitchen. This, as the name suggests, serves up Cali-style food. But there's real substance to the food here - it's definitely not just for the vegan, rawfood brigade. That said, our raw chocolate cake with caramel crunch cream which we'd never normally order is actually really good and a lot lighter than a chocolate dessert would be. But our favourite turns out to be the elderberry pavlova stuffed with moreish grapefruit curd - they certainly taste a lot more delicious than we'd perhaps expected. All desserts here are £7.

And that was it for the first day - apart from a final raid of the minibar and rest before starting up again at...

 

8am - The gym 

Obviously, after the night before, a trip to the gym was an absolute necessity. As with everything else at The Ned, little expense is spared. The main section of the gym is large enough, but there are two further rooms for spinning and three mini boxing rings too. 

 

9am - Breakfast at Malibu Kitchen

malibu omeletteOpen faced omelette with spinach, kale, comte and prosciutto

In the morning, it's a return visit to the Cali-style Malibu Kitchen, for a slightly more healthy breakfast option (but you can go for a Full English at Millie's). Here, the real winner was the open faced omelette with spinach, kale, comte and a LOT of prosciutto. This MAY have been one of the less healthy options on offer, we'll admit.

 

11am - into the Rooftop pool

poolRooftop pool with a view at The Ned

A trip to The Ned in good weather without a dip in the pool isn't complete. Sunday morning seems to be a better time to stake out a spot by the pool and we're straight in the water for the obligatory selfie with St Paul's in the background. By the time we force ourselves out it's time for a quick coffee at the rooftop bar although everyone else is starting early - there's lots of champagne being ordered by the beautiful set.

 

1pm - lunch at Zobler's

zobers turkeyTurkey Club with maple bacon, dijonnaise and salad on challah toast

Ostensibly we've checked out at this point, but there is still time for one more meal. This time we head to Zobler's, the New York style deli.

Here you order and pay at the till and then your food gets delivered to your table or seat up at the counter. Hefty sandwiches are the deal here and of the two we try, the star of the show is the Turkey Club with maple bacon, dijonnaise and salad on challah toast (£10). This is food to soak up a hangover of any magnitude and it's just the thing to send us on our way.

 

But even that's not it! Here's what we missed...

kaiaPoke at Kaia (from the launch night)

As the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed, there were a few places we didn't get to during our stay.

If you're on Instagram, the restaurant you'll probably be most aware of is Kaia - the Asian-Pacific spot (which also has a takeaway section). Serving superbly photogenic rainbow poke bowls and chops off the robata grill, the menu here was devised in conjunction with Instagram star Clerkenwell Boy. We had dinner here the night of the Ned opening and can attest that the poke bowls (a steal at a tenner) and honey and soy basted lamb cutlets (£12) are the dishes to go for.

We also didn't manage to try the Lutyens Grill - a steakhouse for members and hotel guests only. We did pop in to see the dining room, however. Situated in the former bank manager's panelled offices, this is a quieter haven and would be a great spot to do a bit of business if you prefer to be away from the fray.

And finally, still to open when we visited was the Parisian style cafe Cafe Sou.

 

Overall thoughts

We're pretty smitten with The Ned. It's quite an extraordinary endeavour and if we had the dosh to splurge on membership we'd be on it like a shot (if they'd have us). 

But if you're not in the market for a membership this is a fine (and fun) place to head to for a stay or just to soak up the atmosphere on the ground floor. Stay overnight you can - if you take it easier than us - and have a great time trying the place out. Or stay for 48 hours and really give it a real going over.  

 

What: The Ned hotel

Where: 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ

More information: Visit The Ned website.

Hot Dinners were invited to the Ned. Prices are correct at the time or writing. 

 

 

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