Town Hall Hotel, London
18 November, 2016
An ode to Art-Deco, the Town Hall Hotel dates back to 1910 when - you guessed it - it housed the local council. Then, it stood as a proud embodiment of British craftsmanship. The building has since been painstakingly remastered (and extended onto Patriot Square) as a contemporary-luxe hotel. Today it attracts an international creative crowd as well as London cool cats - not least thanks to Lee Westcott's much-lauded restaurant, Typing Room. Uniquely channelling East London cool, the hotel is widely touted as being fundamental in putting Bethnal Green on the map as a dining destination (it was previously home to Nuno Mendes' Michelin-starred Viajante) and one of the city's most exciting neighbourhoods.
Town Hall Hotel, London
Each room has been individually designed - and it shows, with the general air being that of a (very rich) architect's house. A 'subtle yet expensive Deco style' is expertly blended to complement original Edwardian features so that rooms are minimalist but homely, with clean lines, a muted colour palette, high ceilings, sliding partitions and concealed handles. It's a fuss-free approach which is both practical and chic, with personality is injected with an antique coffee table or armchair here, sheepskin rug there.
What's for breakfast?
Breakfast is not included but head to the Corner Room on the first floor, a casual all-day dining affair serving really good coffee and offerings such as poached eggs with avocado on sourdough - as you'd expect in East London.
How about lunch and dinner?
Lunch and dinner are served in both the Corner Room and Typing Room - those after a quick bite should head to the former, but the latter is a truly unique dining experience. Located in what was the typing room of the original council building, Westcott and his team cook up a seasonal menu using locally sourced British produce. Heard that before? No doubt. But Westcott goes above and beyond, producing plate after plate of earthy delights which keep you guessing from yeasted cauliflower with raisins, capers and mint to short-rib beef, carrot, salsify and smoked bone marrow, rounded off by pumpkin, chocolate and kombucha. Opt for the seven-course tasting menu (because why not?), make sure you've got an elasticated waistband and beware rising at the end, as a combination of exquisitely paired wines and multiple plates will have you staggering back to your room lightheaded and giddy.
Is there a bar?
Certainly. Rivalling the Typing Room in innovation, Peg and Patriot is one of Hackney's hottest watering holes. Reservations are key - after all, you can't expect to just turn up and sip on fantastical creations such as 'Bangkok penicillin' (Thai aromatics, ginger, lemon) or 'Merchant of Venice' (parsley, coriander, butter, verjus, bitter, smoke). Beware playing your hand at 'roulette', in which you are treated to the bartender's choice shot of three different libations - you have been warned.
Rooms contain all the expected mod-cons, including free wi-fi and 24-hour room service, as well as unlimited mineral water and a free shuttle bus service to Bank and Liverpool Street every weekday morning. The hotel also has a spacious design-led pool, glass-walled gym and fitness centre.
Things you should know
The hotel has been featured in many films and shoots, including Atonement, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Edge of Love.
Within a short walk you can find…
East London is your oyster. If you're there at the weekend, head over towards Broadway Market and Columbia Road Flower Market followed by a canal-side walk and a well-deserved pint in one of the many boozers you'll pass en route - you'll soon see why this is known as the coolest part of the capital.