The London hotel scene seems to be having a bit of a moment of late, what with the launch of The Stratford in east London, The Hoxton’s latest spot in Southwark due to open in a couple of weeks and of course, The Standard – the group’s first hotel outside the US, located smack bang in front of the St Pancras Hotel in Kings Cross. We were big fans of The Standard in New York, so we went along with pretty high expectations.
Right now there are two restaurants on the ground floor – Isla & Double Standard, with a third due to open on the 10th & top floor from Michelin-starred, Bristol-based chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias who will be making his debut in London.
Both Isla and Double Standard are headed up by executive chef Adam Rawson with the latter being billed as their ‘pub/diner’ hybrid where you’ll find a more relaxed menu centred around burgers, sliders and mac & cheese, served late, alongside the weekly ‘pub’ quiz. There’s also a big outside section – well worth remembering if you’re in the area on a sunny day!
We went along to check out Isla – and it’s one hella sexy space. Integrated within the lobby and library (where a hip librarian has kitted out the shelves with an adult-friendly selection of books), Isla also gently spills out to the garden terrace where you can just about hear kids playing in the school playground next door if you time your visit right. The décor is all red shiny tables, textured walls, inviting fireplaces and underlying punk aesthetic with a distinctly 60’s vibe throughout.
If Double Standard is all about comfort food, Isla is altogether lighter, brighter and more refined, instead focusing on coastal cuisine, with ingredients primarily sourced from around the British isles. You’ll leave happy and full but not stuffed to the gills. The menu is split into three sections – sea, soil and land – in roughly that order of importance. We started with a couple of plates from the snack section – five shiny silver pickled anchovies, swimming in a good glug of extra virgin olive oil and papas arrugadas – the little salt-baked potatoes from the Canary Islands – which come in a vibrant green splodge of mojo verde. The latter of which would also make a good side dish.
Moving onto more substantial dishes (all of them are designed to share though FYI), the bright pink sea trout served with big chunks of yellow and red beetroot in a mild horseradish sauce. ‘From the soil’ we tucked into burrata – not sure a cow would agree with that, unless there’s a burrata tree I’m yet to discover – which had been studded with pickled courgette and sprigs of dill and a large broccoli half, coated in a yoghurt, almond and mustard marinade. For dessert, a pimped up version of strawberries & cream with the addition of lime leaf and bee pollen sated our sweet tooth.
To go with this elegant menu a fabulous selection of minimal intervention wines are available – including lots of lovely drops from Britain as well as a cocktail menu. We’d recommend the long & refreshing ‘Anejo Fizz’, a blend of Diplomático Mantuano rum, lime, maraschino cherry and grapefruit soda over ice.
With so much set to happen over the coming months, The Standard is defiantly one to keep an eye on.