It was halfway through dinner at my first two-Michelin-starred restaurant experience at the Fischers Fritz in Berlin when I realised I was far more a ‘drinkie’ than a ‘foodie’ (assuming ‘drinkie is even a word.)
I was dining at the Fischers Fritz restaurant in the Regent Berlin, and had already been thoroughly over-excited at the arrival of my pre-dinner drink in the hotel bar. This was a Prince of Wales cocktail, a €23 Champagne cocktail which contained liberal servings of cognac and Grand Marnier, topped off with Angostura bitters and brown sugar and served rather incongruously in a silver goblet which grew almost freezing to the touch as the ice inside melted.
I was happily piling into that when I was invited into the dining room with the most wonderful phrase in the English language: ‘And you must really try our martini trolley.’
The traffic-and-commuter-saturated High Holborn usually has little to recommend it, being full of gridlocked buses and office workers doing the twice-daily rat run to and from the tube.
But an grand oasis of opulent charm and fine dining has just arrived and is well worth putting off the journey home for.
Holborn Dining Room, which opened just a few weeks ago, is located the old Pearl Assurance building, so it has all the high-ceiling’d formal grandeur of a former financial institution complete with marbled pillars.
There is something rather delightful about packing to spend the weekend in a hotel just four miles from your home.
It yields all the excitement and anticipation of a trip away without any of the angst and despair caused by realising you have to drive across London in the rush hour and then get snarled up on the Hammersmith flyover.
And the journey home! Many a relaxing weekend away has been ruined by roadworks on the M1, a lane closure on the A3, the sheer awfulness of driving through Wandsworth on a Sunday evening.
So to do away with all that unnecessary travelling seems to me to be utterly sensible.
Some would not agree. I recently had lunch with a tour operator who maintained that half the fun of a holiday is the fact you have to travel to get there, thus giving you a sense of achievement and new territories gained when you arrived at your destination.