Rich and I have reached that strange point in our expat lives where we don’t have a ‘base’ to come back to in the city where we used to live. Our family have all shipped out overseas or made their nest in the Great British countryside. Our friends are all shacked up with partners, or have recently purchased their first home, which inevitably means they are living in a flat with no spare bedrooms due to exorbitant property prices. As a result, every time we fly into London, we aren’t sure where we’re going to stay.
Or we weren’t, until we discovered a gem of a solution, right in the heart of the city.
The Montcalm at The Brewery, London City is a rather unique boutique hotel, nestled between Barbican and Moorgate stations. The Grade II listed building dates back to 1750, and is the former site of Whitbred & Co, Britain’s first mass production brewery. Following a thorough renovation in 2011, architectural detailing such as the steel girders and vaulted brick ceilings were retained and restored, and contemporary detailing was added, leaving behind a heritage building which is full of character.
The rooms are exactly what you would expect from a five star hotel in the heart of London: fully equipped with all the mod cons, yet rather snug.
However, if you are lucky enough to be celebrating a special occasion as we were last September, then they may be generous and upgrade you to a slightly roomier suite.
Either way, you will find a kind gift of some home-brewed, smooth and malty beer on your bedside table to welcome you home.
The staff are attentive and kind, the beds are comfortable and cosy, but my favourite thing about this hotel is the food. For this hotel is connected by twisty, sneaky back passages to not one, but two traditionally British gastronomic delights – the chic dining space of The Chiswell Street Dining Rooms, and the dark and cosy bustling gastro pub, The Jugged Hare.
Of the two, The Jugged Hare is our favourite. With two stays at the Montcalm under our belts now, we have visited the restaurant a grand total of four times to guzzle our way through their menu. The restaurant concept is traditionally shot, British game with a contemporary twist (very reflective of the architectural surroundings!). It’s the kind of menu that leaves you perplexed because you could literally order every damned thing.
From the tasty handmade sausages
To the sumptuous cold meats: venison carpaccio and game terrine.
The juicy cuts of various gamey meats.
Those tasty homemade burgers in a soft brioche roll.
The innovative salads and sides with a twist.
And the top notch wine and champagne menu.
Two happy customers.
So we may not have a ‘home’ in London any more. But this place will certainly do as a replacement.
The Montcalm at The Brewery, London City: 52 Chiswell Street, London EC1Y 4SA
My rating: *****