Looking for a restaurant in Holborn? Read our review of Gezellig, and check out more suggestions for eating in the West End here.
Gezellig in a nutshell: Polished modern European plates in Holborn from an experienced trio.
Head chef Graham Long is in charge at the pass, while fellow founders Wieteke Teppema and James Comyn take care of the wine and front of house respectively. The trio met while working at high-end outfits such as The Ledbury, The Square, Elystan Street and Pied à Terre.
What’s the vibe?
Housed in what was once Holborn’s town hall, the imposing proportions and high ceilings, moss-green walls and brown quilted leather banquettes give Gezellig an upmarket private members’ club feel, while a huge Insta-friendly feature wall of modern prints adds a contemporary edge.
What’s the food like at Gezellig?
Expect precise cooking and a subtle approach to flavours. A pretty plate of seared mackerel fillet is winningly matched with delicately earthy white beetroot, though the delectable-sounding aged beef fat and bone marrow mentioned in the menu’s description are a shade too subtle on the plate. A simple salad of sweet, meaty wedges of beef heart tomato with pickled artichoke, rye crumbs and hearty shavings of garlicky Belper Knolle hits the spot – the sweet tomato and salty cheese contrasting perfectly.
On to mains, though chicken breast is often a risky order in restaurants (all too often served dry, bland and overcooked), Gezellig serves a juicily tender, beautifully flavoured one. The secret? A morteau sausage forcemeat stuffed under the skin while it roasts so that it infuses the breast with meaty flavour. Simply matched with soft Hispi cabbage and a bronzed mound of crisp matchstick potatoes – its elevated, elegant comfort food. Seared, delicate red mullet, its skin moreishly crispy, comes with a host of complementary playmates, including a finely made slice of courgette tart, caramelised onion purée, a punchy bouillabaisse ketchup and fragrant whole basil leaves. It’s Provençal summer on a plate. Dessert is confidently simple – a pretty, zesty apricot tart topped with a scoop of delicately floral chamomile ice cream.
And the drinks?
The bar has a playful touch with cocktails (we tried one made with silky fig-leaf-infused scotch, while the lengthy, mostly Old-World wine list leans towards the spendy end of the spectrum (though there’s plenty available by the glass). We enjoyed a minerally, subtly saline chardonnay and stony chenin blanc.
olive tip: Don’t miss the restaurant’s moreish take on the classic Dutch snack bitterballen, here made with suckling pig.