The Waeska bar in the Mandrake Hotel

    Fitzrovia is raising the bar

    23 August 2018

    Fitzrovia is no longer just the quiet, Bloomsbury-era support act to its showier neighbours, Mayfair and Soho. With a spate of fabulous new openings over the past year, (and the new Ottolenghi en route), it’s making a play to be one of London’s premier destinations in its own right.


    Dinner is served at Señor Ceviche

    Strazzanti at Seventeen O Seven

    For this summer only, if you go to Fitzrovia on Sundays, you’re in for a tasty surprise… Strazzanti, the brunch and bakery pop-up, is in residence at Seventeen O Seven in Warren Street, bringing its Italian family recipes to a new audience. Started by three London-born sisters with Sicilian and Neapolitan parentage; Emilia, Nina and Sofia Strazzanti, the premise is simple: good Italian cooking, done well and sourced responsibly. The recipes, though infused with Emilia’s extensive experience in Michelin-starred kitchens across Europe, are greatly inspired by the sisters’ own family, such as Nonna’s eggs, done three ways (variations of lightly poached eggs, with a rich tomato sauce and pecorino or ricotta cheese, aubergine or sausage). There are also the signature Strazzanti cakes that have been circulating London, not least at their last two collaborations with Bar Termini and House Peroni. The greatest of these? Let’s just say: on the seventh day, the Lord created Strazzanti’s pistachio croissants.

    Señor Ceviche

    This restaurant opened in Charlotte Street earlier this year and it’s perhaps a cooler, sleeker sibling to its older sister in Carnaby Street. With a raucous pisco bar, the Fitzrovia outpost serves up some serious Latin party vibes to go with your ceviche and cocktails. It’s the perfect spot for after work drinks or a weekend party. However, the Peruvian menu here (as delicious as ever) shouldn’t be an afterthought. Exclusive to Charlotte Street is its ‘Brunch Banquet’ which gives you a choice of para picar (tapas-style servings), BBQ and more, as well as free-flowing peach Bellinis. Try the grilled scallops and the slow-cooked crispy pork belly and the…actually it’s all great. Go, get drunk and fat before midday. You won’t regret it.


    Go green at Mr Fogg’s

    Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals

    Hospitality tycoons, Inception Group, sure like a gimmick. They are the brains behind Fulham’s Margaret Thatcher-themed club; Maggies, the Blitz-London bar Cahoots and the various iterations of Silvio Berlusconi-referencing Italian bar, Bunga Bunga. They are also behind the Mr Fogg franchise; inspired by Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg character, and which currently boasts three offshoots across Mayfair, Covent Garden and Soho. Its fourth has just opened in Newman Street, Fitzrovia, with a cocktail bar for the adventurous drinker the main attraction. Drinks and light bites will be infused with exotic botanicals and plants. Expect this to be as eccentric a take on Victoriana as its previous Fogg incarnations, but with added flowers.


    Inside Mortimer House

    Mortimer House

    The brainchild of the hospitality wunderkind Guy Ivesha, Mortimer House, a stunningly-restored Art Deco townhouse in Mortimer Street, is the coolest office you’ll ever work in. Taking the flexible-working revolution and running with it, this multi-purpose destination boasts multiple floors of office space – both open plan and individual, sumptuous meeting rooms, a rather snazzy gym, some seriously cool lounge bar areas and, open to the public, an astonishing ground floor restaurant. Membership here gets you full use of the six-floor venue, as well as to their series of specially curated talks and events. Facilities include PA services and room service menus for individual offices, and even meditation sessions for those having a particularly stressful working day. Pack your laptop, take a seat, prepare to never leave.

    The AllBright  

    This women-only members club is inspired by a quote by Madeline Albright, America’s first female Secretary of State: ‘There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.’ It is, accordingly, a space that aims to foster a sense of female community; of women supporting other women. Founded by Debbie Wosskow OBE and Anna Jones, the former CEO of Hearst magazines, the club acts as both a workspace and support network for women, and puts on regular talks, seminars and networking events. The five-floor townhouse in Rathbone Place has a sleek, urban yet homely feel, and includes a café, cocktail bar, library, lounge and exhibition space.


    In the Frame

    Frame Fitzrovia

    This cult gym is millennial crack; with its Beyoncé dance classes and walls that look like the opening credits of Saved by the Bell. In the last few years it has massively expanded and now includes seven London venues. Once of its most recent is Frame Fitzrovia; its biggest site to date, with five studios. These include a twelve-bed reformer Pilates studio, a 30-capacity, fully-loaded fitness room, a dance and barre studio and, yes, a giant disco ball.


    Jurema terrace and bar

    The Mandrake Hotel

    Behind an unassuming door in Newman Street, you’ll find a whole new world. Opened in September of last year, The Mandrake has thrown down the gauntlet to London’s boutique hotel scene, proving that a huge imagination and a healthy dollop of stylish eccentricity can go a long way. This 30-room hotel boasts not one but three brilliant bars. Waeska bar, all iridescent shades and bizarre taxidermy, serves up cocktails infused with botanicals, while the classic, pared-back Serge bar accompanies the majestic restaurant Serge et la Phoque. Then there is Jurema bar, open only to hotel guests, which is nestled amid The Mandrake’s inner courtyard-cum-jungle. Jasmine and passion flowers cascade down this narrow but lush sanctum, complete with a wooden shack-style bar and a greenhouse, handily introduced for rainy days. The rooms themselves are simple but elegant, while room service is exemplary and well-priced. Order a club sandwich, then lie back and pretend that Oxford Street is not, in fact, a three-minute walk away.