Looking for restaurants in Holborn? Read our review of The Baptist grill and bar, and check out more suggestions for eating in the West End here.
The Baptist in a nutshell
British and European seasonal Josper-grilled dishes served beneath a grand octagonal dome at the ritzy L’oscar hotel in Holborn.
What’s the vibe?
Located upstairs at the far end of the decadent Baroque-style, marble-floored L’oscar hotel lobby, The Baptist’s octagonal dining room is set in a low-lit, high-ceilinged mezzanine gallery within the dome of a converted Edwardian chapel.
Simply set square wooden tables contrast with plush violet velvet tub armchairs and banquettes. Service is attentive and old-school courteous, setting the tone for a more upmarket dining experience.
What’s the food like?
The pared-back menu comes from executive chef Tony Fleming (previously of Michelin-starred City fish restaurant Angler) and the mains centre on a selection of charcoal-grilled meats: the dry-aged, grass-fed Cumbrian beef ribeye was meltingly soft, the smoky charring pairing pleasingly with a succulent marbling of fat (the accompanying sweet shallots do the trick, and the extravagant additions of mini earthy mushroom ravioli and butter-soft snails, though well executed, don’t add much).
Elsewhere on the menu, a curried lamb shepherd’s pie was mild yet deeply spiced, lifted by a light, refreshing mango chutney alongside.
The portions are generous so try not to fill up too much beforehand on the slices of warm sourdough slathered with umami-rich caramelised yeast butter.
Starters-wise, the coronation crab salad with mango and pickled lime was a deftly dressed winner; and the beautifully presented, wafer-thin octopus carpaccio boasted turbo-sweet datterini tomatoes and watermelon, though the punchy green olive dressing was a touch overpowered for the octopus itself.
And for dessert, opt for the baked chocolate mousse (light and fluffy yet darkly cocoa-rich), classically paired with intense preserved cherries and a blackberry sorbet.
If you arrive early or have some time after your meal, head downstairs to the opulent Baptist Bar – the biblically themed cocktails are delicious: Pride, a combo of jasmine-infused vodka, lime and sage sherbert, champagne and star anise, stood out with its refreshing citrus tang and light tongue-tingling fizz.
The Baptist Bar & Grill, L’oscar London, 2-6 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4AA
Words by Dominic Martin
Photographs by Paul Winch-Furness