Approaching the hotel, the warm glow and steamed-up windows looks exceptionally inviting against the sheets of rain. The building, in which Albie takes up the ground floor, is typical of London’s twenty-tens vernacular, softened with plenty of planting, looking stylish in its Blackfriars surrounds.
Arriving through the main door we are situated in the hotel lobby. The check-in desk sits directly ahead and an elaborate feature staircase swings to the side, adorned with a large pendant light feature. A backdrop of exposed brick wall with its curated array of artwork, secures this lobby’s hip and easy-going atmosphere.
On our way to the rattan waiter station, we pass by a gorgeous dark wood and gold detailed open sideboard unit that is topped with luscious plants. Cleverly, this is a small shop for guests, selling branded tea towels, candles and other bric-a-brac. Potted plants are used throughout the space, beautifully contrasting the exposed brick and adding a pop of colour to the neutral colour palette.
We sit at an elegant terrazzo table and take in the restaurant. Two of its edges are defined by plush velvet and studded leather banquette seating, seductively creating a walkway between the restaurant and open kitchen counter. Along the back wall the banquette seat backs are held up on a reclaimed wooden sleeper. The other accommodating seating is wooden with a weaved back and seat detail.
The lighting is soft and warm. Taking centre stage is a heavily frosted glass and brass chandelier, supported by pendants hanging throughout. The artwork is illuminated by detailed downlights, and intimacy throwing soft lamps sit on the bar and open kitchen counter. The floor is a dark wood with a herringbone effect, flowing into a black and cream patterned tile in the bar, contained by a brass runner detail. The bar is dark with an expansive marble counter, strikingly backed by spirit scattered shelves. Here and at the open kitchen there are high stools, where punters sit amidst the great buzz of activity.
The menu at Albie is heavily influenced by the French and Italian Riviera, the ingredients feel fresh and light, sensually reminiscent of that wonderful holiday feelings. In keeping with its scene, the menu has a very good selection of vegetarian and plant-based options. We start with the Focaccia, with a thorough dunking of olive oil, and move on to share steak tartare and arancini balls. For our mains we choose the Albie’s burger and the spinach and ricotta ravioli.
Our only disappointment was that the food was not double the size, as it was delicious! We left feeling full and satisfied, already looking forward to returning to this attractively designed space to try out their brunch menu.