What happens when you a cross luxury hoteliers the Soho hotel group (Purveyors of Soho House etc) and US boutique Nomad hotels with a luxury food hall, one even Harrods would be envious of? The answer is London’s newest, latest, coolest, most superlative worthy hangout, the Ned.
Do you know the story? A former bank has transformed into the Ned, named for Edward ‘Ned’ Lutyens who designed the whole place, turning this Grade I listed property into somewhat of a showstopper of a hotel/ foodie paradise.The result is jawdropping. I defy you to enter and not immediately reach for your phone to take a shot. You just won’t be able to. I immediately want to invent a million reasons to find a seat on any of the numerous comfy seats/ restaurants in the vast ground floor hall and basically never leave.
Over the years, my hotel style has somewhat changed. I started off thinking of a hotel as nothing more than a place to rest my head after a hard day touristing but these days, as laziness and 2 children have set in, I’m much more likely to choose a hotel that I can enjoy and explore just as much as my destination of choice.
Be warned though, if you were to choose the Ned as somewhere to lay your head in London, you probably won’t clap eyes on much else London has to offer. And you’ll have to share that gorgeous dining floor, although there are a few options exclusively for the use of hotel guests, which us mere mortals can’t access.
You’re also able to be a member here but I imagine that the list for this is somewhat beyond my reach so I stick to doing what I do best and that is going for lunch. My destination is Kaia, Asian-Pacific themed and home to the instagrammable Poke bowl. Breakfast and coffees are available on the go at the Kaia to go Bar and from lunch onwards, there’s a full menu with traditional tables as well as long communal counter seating that dominates one whole end of the restaurant We opt for a few dishes to share and the rainbow hued Poke bowl is a must order so we opt for the Ahi Tuna Poke bowl as well as some Crunchy Wasabi prawns, Black Miso Cod and some honey soy asparagus.
The wasabi prawns are fabulous, lightly battered and crunchy, encasing a perfectly cooked prawn inside, which works so well with the wasabi dip. While the Miso cod was perfectly fine, it was the Poke bowl that was really my favourite.
You’re encouraged to liberally mix up the bowl so to get all the ingredients in every mouthful and given the location we’re in, I found the £12 price tag to be really not too bad at all. It’s best eaten hot though and since we were dipping and diving into a few of our options, the rice was getting a little bit cold and claggy towards the end.
The disappointment was in the asparagus, the stems were very thick and woody and the sauce had no discernible flavour of anything in particular. A shame really as when done well, asparagus can be so beautiful but this was really not good.Greed and the enjoyment of my surrounds meant that I pushed to order dessert and since I’m a big fan of Mochi, I was eyeing up the Mochi platter to share. These aren’t anything like the high street sushi chain versions and I highly recommend, a glutinous rice exterior concealing an icy cold shell of wonderfully flavoured ice cream. Since the Matcha trend has largely passed me by, I ignored this in favour of the fruity mango and fragrant Black Sesame and loved both! At the Ned, even a trip to the ladies is something special. Descending down the stairs to the safe deposit boxes, you feel very James Bond as you encounter the spa entrance and the ladies bathrooms are possibly the prettiest I have ever seen. It’s safe to say that just one short trip to the Ned later, i am fairly smitten. At last call, I’ve already told everyone I’ve spoken to about the lovely lunch I had and scouring the other restaurants to determine where it is I have to go next. Dinner next time though, and I’m definitely stopping for cocktails first.
And maybe one day, when I have no interest in exploring anything London has to offer, I’ll come and stay at the Ned.. and never leave.