Read our expert review of the Coral Room, a Bloomsbury hotel bar that’s all about English sparkling wine and delicate cocktails
The Coral Room in a nutshell: A luxe hotel bar with an unusual wine list
Where is it? A two-minute walk from Tottenham Court Road tube station
What’s the vibe?
Tucked away on a quiet side street in a busy area of central London, some may already know the Bloomsbury Hotel for the Instagrammable décor of its foliage-bedecked restaurant, Dalloway Terrace. Its latest project is a sleek new bar, The Coral Room.
Designed by in-demand interiors man Martin Brudnizki (responsible for the likes of Scarfes Bar and the Wigmore), the bar gets its name from the panelled walls, which have been painted in a vivid, saturated reddish orange. In a smaller space the effect could have been claustrophically womb-like but thanks to the grand proportions of the double-height Edwin Lutyens-built room the end result feels fresh and contemporary.
That theme continues throughout the rest of the décor, from huge white Murano glass chandeliers and a sweeping, marble-topped art deco-style bar to artworks from trendy designer Luke Edward Hall on the walls, super-sized pot plants everywhere and low, plushly upholstered chairs and sofas.
What’s the drinks menu like?
The most distinctive aspect of the drinks offering here is the extensive list of English sparkling wines, curated by Master of Wine Anne McHale. It’s the most extensive we’ve seen, with almost 30 wines on the list ranging from Cornwall to Worcestershire, with options by the bottle and a small, ever-changing list of wines by the glass. Read our guide to English wine here.
Cocktails are organised around a country versus city theme, ranging from sultry, spicy creations like the Big Smoke (orange-chilli syrup, Ancho Reyes chilli liqueur, mezcal, chipotle and ginger ale, to more verdant concoctions like Country Fayre (Beefeater gin, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit shrub, peach purée and Peychaud bitters).
Elsewhere on the menu, there are also plenty of choices for still red and white wines, plus an impressive roster of spirits – particularly whisky.
Which drinks to order at The Coral Room?
The cocktails we tried fell on the lighter, sweeter end of the spectrum, so might disappoint those looking for something punchier. The Wiltshire Warrior was a delicate, dry and dainty blend of Sipsmith vodka and sparkling wine with lime juice, agave and melon balls. The City Slicker saw Diplomatico Reserva rum matched with cherry liqueur, agave, lemon juice, orange bitters and rosé sparkling wine. Sweet with subtle spice and fruitiness, the wine added a sprightly freshness.
You shouldn’t leave The Coral Room without sampling some of the English wines on offer. We tried a glass of Lyme Bay Winery’s Brut Reserve 2014 – a peppily effervescent vintage with deliciously crisp green apple notes that would make the perfect aperitif before dinner.
Is there any food?
The Coral Room does an all-day small-plates menu themed mostly around luxe comfort food – think lobster mac ’n ’ cheese, short rib sliders and truffle fries. We loved our spot-on, generously sized Welsh bloomer rarebit, while Dorset crab on toast used a dark rye bread that had lovely treacle notes.