The Ned, London
After hearing so much about the Ned, the pair of us decided to head over and dine at one of its nine restaurants. Formerly the old Midland Bank of London in the 1920s, the Soho House Group turned this stunning, historical building into this vibrant and exciting new hotel space while retaining a lot of its original classic features.
Upon entering the building, we were overwhelmed by the size and splendour of the old converted banking hall. The huge ground floor space is completely open and has high ceilings supported by numerous African Emerald green Verdite columns and marble floors, all of which are original features. They have even painted their wall speakers in a green marble pattern so they blend in with the Verdite columns. In the centre of the space is an island where a band plays live music in the evenings. It was not instantly clear where our designated restaurant was located, because a total of eight restaurants, which could seat 850 people, make up the ground floor space with no obvious high partition or signs, but this also encouraged us to explore and walk around. All restaurants were harmonically connected by sharing the building’s original marble features, and incorporating classical joinery details and vintage upholstery from the 1920’s and 1930’s, but each restaurant’s design was also inspired by the type of food they served.
We settled at the Malibu kitchen, which was one of the smaller and more hidden away restaurants, but that also made it more cosy and intimate. The Malibu kitchen restaurant is situated by big windows, and had an open kitchen at one end and an attractive cocktail bar at the other. We entered past a beautifully crafted host station and took our seat at one of the booths. The booths, which run along the window and along the low level wooden panelling on the other side, feature very decorative varnished wooden divider and classic diamond patterned glazing, classic joinery details from the 30s, buttoned and studded leather upholstery and attractive marble table tops. In the middle long run of the restaurant sits a long sharing table made of a white marble top and a chunky decorative wooden base and stylish round metal brace. The stools are a combination of timber and brass frame, and a geometric fabric upholstered seat. The potted plants and small table lamps at the cocktail bar add a hint of freshness and charm to the space. The flower and dark blue tiles compliment the space very well and somehow reminded us of being at the seaside.
Malibu kitchen is inspired by Californian food, but has also taken inspiration from Spanish, Mexican, and Oriental cuisines. Opened for breakfast through to dinner, the restaurant specialises in healthy food featuring cured fish, meats, with a lot of vegetarian and superfood salad options. We ordered the Padron peppers, young coconut salad, red snapper ceviche and sea bream taco to share. All dishes were beautifully presented in attractive serve ware, and had amazing colours, textures and flavours. It was just the kind of food perfect for a mid week lunch- light, delicious and refreshing, and getting us ready for the rest of the day!
After lunch, we proceeded to Millie’s Lounge for a drink. Quite a different feel to Malibu kitchen, Millie’s Lounge’s design is largely inspired by traditional British brasseries, featuring a large marble central bar, carpeted floor, big footprint upholstered armchairs and traditional table lamps. The pink fluted banquettes created a feminine air, but the space also felt very ‘grown up’. The comfortable seats and jazz music in the background provide great atmosphere for having an informal business lunch or enjoying a few cocktails. We both agreed the bloody mary was one of the best we had.
Since we arrived at the Ned at lunch time during mid week, the place was buzzing with people, predominately local businessmen taking lunch and business discussions, which in itself created a certain atmosphere. By the time we have finished eating, the hall had transformed into a different space with less than half of the restaurants seats filled, and new comers arriving for an after lunch drink. The jazz music switched over with people’s taking to become the most dominant sound in the space. It was truly interesting to see how