Since The Ned opened earlier this year, I have seen a never-ending stream of images of this hotel flowing through my social media, and now I understand why.
There aren’t many places like The Ned. Or at least, I haven’t been to many places like it. It seems somewhat old-fashioned to me to have a doorman greet you at a hotel entrance… or perhaps (and the most likely reason) I just don’t stay in fancy enough hotels for it to be the norm.
Walking through The Ned is like taking a step back into a bygone era. With its checked floor tiles against the dark chestnut wooden bars & soaring high ceilings, no detail is left without consideration. As you enter the decadent foyer, the deep green marble columns dominate your vision and peels you out of the banalities of the every day. You are brought into a dimension where it seems like something great is about to happen. Suddenly your life is condensed into a montage filled with laughter and endless cocktails, against a backdrop of hazy summers and 1920’s jazz. These feelings are of course assisted by the musician playing the grand piano that takes up the centre of the ground floor entrance.
We chose to eat at Malibu Kitchen which is described on the website as bringing Californian food to the City. Never one to say no to eating out at “healthy” places, our table was booked for 1pm.
We started with the avocado dip with crudités and taro chips. As much as I love avocado toast, I almost loathe ordering it when I eat out as I can never justify the price. But for this occasion, I sucked it up just to try the taro chips – and I’m so glad that I did. The thin and lightly salted chips complemented the creamy & citrus-y dip perfectly.
For our mains we shared the “Brick” chicken, ahi tuna poke bowl and the Forbidden Rice Bowl. Somewhat apprehensive to order chicken whenever I eat out (something I always think I can cook so easily at home), this was probably my favourite dish. The skin of the chicken was crispy and flavoursome, and the spicy yogurt was the perfect accompaniment.
Poke bowls have been a pretty popular dish in the last few years, and it’s no surprise that a Californian inspired menu would feature its own. Whilst not being the best I have ever tasted, I appreciated the inclusion of this dish on the menu. Plus the fresh red chili gave it a good kick.
Lastly came the Forbidden Rice Bowl with, yep, more avocado (3/4 of our dishes featured avocado, if you hadn’t noticed). We probably could have done without this one, but the name sold me. Forbidden? Nope, I have to have it! Whilst this paled in comparison to the chicken, it’s still one I would order again if I was going to have a meat free day.
The staff are welcoming and friendly enough that I would happily visit again to relax, soak up the ambiance and try out more food & smoothies, but only as an afterthought.
Sitting in The Ned is a world away from what I am used to, which is probably why the enjoyment factor was so high. Because ultimately, don’t we all want a place that helps us escape our little realities for a while, a place that feels like our problems can be solved with a good cappuccino, a place that helps time seem like it will last a little longer?
27 Poultry, London