The Seven Dials area is the epicentre of everything exciting and enthralling London has to offer. From the central point of Seven Dials, marked by the Seven Dials sundial pillar, the seven streets originate and reach out into the heart of London. Each street is a different selection of independent shops, boutiques, independent eateries, fresh produce stores and much more. In short, each street is a wonderful journey.
One thing that struck me about the area, the last time I visited, was the completely immersing feel of heritage and history, as you walk through the Seven Dials. This feeling is generated by the vast selection of independent stores and retailers, which still have that authentic London feel. Particular highlights in the area include the Monmouth Coffee House and Neal`s Yard Dairy.
The former, the Monmouth coffee house, begun roasting and retailing coffee in 1978 and built a sampling room for their customers to try their coffees before buying beans. The coffee is a real delight; they make single cone filter coffee and espresso based drinks. The coffees are made using organic Jersey whole milk from Jeff Bowles in Somerset and their organic whole cane sugar comes from Assukkar, Costa Rica. The coffee house is a must for anyone who visits the area – it`s handmade and dedicated touch is a real antidote to mass produced coffee chains.
The Latter, Neal`s Yard Dairy, is a quintessentially British Cheese and Farm produce store. Commenting on the store, Neal`s Yard say: `We buy cheese from about seventy cheesemakers on farms around Britain and Ireland and we sell the cheese in our two shops in London and to shops and restaurants all over the world.` Neal`s yard is a treat for the eyes and the senses, as you are confronted with the world of cheese. You won`t find any cathedral city or babybel here, as all the cheese is sourced from independent cheesemakers across the UK.
If you return to the centre of the Seven Dials area you will find a beautiful 4 star boutique hotel – The Mercer Street Hotel. A part of the fabulous Radisson Edwardian hotel chain, the hotel has recently renovated and is the perfect place to stay when visiting the area.
The suites are especially stunning affairs, and as they have recently been renovated, they are also designed with a fabulously contemporary décor. The suite we tried also had a large lounge area and decent bathroom. Additionally, the bed was particularly comfortable and has to be one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in – I didn`t want to wake up!
The rooms have all the mod cons, for example: they contain a large plasma tv, apple tv, iPod connectivity, King sized bed (more than) big enough for two. The room is finished off by a separate dressing room for the ladies – which includes a SMEG fridge and walk in wardrobe area, and a Nespresso machine for those caffeine fiends amongst us.
The hotel itself is furnished with an astonishingly beautiful décor, a décor which is carried from the bedroom, all the way to the hotel restaurant. The Dial Bar and Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as offering a relaxing and suave setting to drink in the evening.
At the Dial Bar restaurant, I was lucky enough to sample the Scallops, wrapped in Parma ham, with a pea puree. The scallops were succulent and sweet, therefore making them a perfect accompaniment to the smoked taste of the Parma ham. The leek puree complimented the sweetness of the scallops and made the dish delectable (£11.00).
In terms of mains, the a particular recommendation would go to the pan fried rump of salt marsh lamb, garlic mash, roast Mediterranean vegetables and rosemary sauce. Also, the pan roasted breast of Creedy Carver duck, baked fig, malloreddus pasta, red wine sauce, was delightful.
I would certainly stay at The Mercer Street hotel again; it was the perfect place to stay when enjoying the area and, even if I wasn`t staying, I would certainly recommend the Dial Bar and Restaurant. My visit to the hotel was an exciting and satisfying experience, and is one which I would love to replicate in the future.
Part 2 of the Seven Dial Series will feature a run-down of must-visit independent retailers in the area and also, a spot-light review of Peter Gordon` acclaimed Kopapa restaurant.
Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
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