If you’re a fan of Gloria you’ll love Hello Darling, as here you enter a kaleidoscope of taste, texture and colour at this theatrical hospitality experience.
New to the 2019 dining-out scene as of May this year, Hello Darling (HD) is a playful restaurant and cocktail bar tucked beside The Old Vic theatre at Waterloo. Set designers and owners Darling and Edge have dressed the space from head to toe with rich eclectic décor straight from the stage. Having spotted Hello Darling’s eye-catching shopfront on “everyone’s” Instagram we booked in a visit at the weekend.
As we were led to our table it was a feast for our eyes, and it was only the friendly welcome from HD’s staff that could have distracted us in that moment from the surrounding explosion of sound, colour and smell.
The 80-cover restaurant, based on the ground floor of the four-story town house, offers a wide selection of dining options.
We were lucky enough to be seated in the private mezzanine booth, which was the perfect balance between restaurant dining and a private dining room and the ideal spot for overseeing the activities below, without straying from our own company and conversations.
Nestled under a painted starry sky, it was hard to decide whether we were watching the show or part of it - perhaps the life-sized stage curtain diving the room added to this?
Here to sample a refreshing new seasonal menu (from their resident chef Phil Smith as of Tuesday that week) the pressure was on to choose between mouth-watering options from HD’s sharing menu.
Thankfully, we were prompted to overcome our indecisiveness by the staff who proudly described the dishes, which ranged from a selection of small plates, toasts, mains and even a pre-theatre menu. We settled for one of everything (almost).
Taking a moment to look down and soak up the atmosphere, Hello Darling’s restaurant area holds a collection of grand dining tables, lounge furniture, timber chairs and velvet banquette dining options, each hand painted in vibrant colours and laden with multiple cushions.
No two seats are the same. Taking centre stage is the botanical bar, decked with plants, glassware and side lights- it’s easy to see that this is the hub for staff and a contact point.
..And, there’s more…!
Hello House party — on the upper floors above the restaurant you will find Darling House, a private hire venue with 7 themed rooms split across two floors.
Darling and Edge have delightfully let their imagination run wild when addressing these spaces. From the loo that is covered in a thousand shells to the Decca inspired kitchen. If you’re looking to have a party a world away from the city, without actually having to leave, go no further!
Entering through a door hidden behind a huge Stephen Doherty painting of a lady steering a bird, you can explore the floors above the restaurant. Following the notion of ‘a house’ each of the seven rooms identifies itself with your favourite entertaining spaces. Individually decorated and dressed to a theme inspired by theatre props, guests can party in the kitchen, loo, twin room, master bedroom, library and lounge as well as the cushion filled Victorian bathroom.
These rooms are a curated collection of sort-out and restored items. The treasure is the lavender chandelier, which was bought in pieces from Marolles flea market in Belgium and has now been restored to its former glory and stately reigns over the staircase.
Every piece that makes up Darling House has a story behind it; for example the exposed coverless books that fill the library shelves once starred in a Dickens production, the larger than life tigers head that erupts from the sitting room wall (once entirely white, hung above a mantel piece and used as a hat stand) now dominates its space, providing an excellent talking point! The house is certainly geared up for a party, you’ll find a ‘press for a magnum of prosecco’ doorbell on the lemon grove landing and a cocktail kiosk on the floor below, as well as sound systems in every room.
Hello Darling, is a real must for any creatives or foodies as every inch oozes charisma. From the made to order cocktail cider twist, to the extra-large helping of baked white chocolate and passionfruit cheesecake ( …shared between 3 ) Hello Darling was a dream. A perfect spot to dine out pre-theatre or catch up with friends. With at least 50 different seating options you could easily go back that many times for the spectacle alone. There is definitely no end of reasons for us to go back.
Keep an eye on HD’s Instagram, occasionally the house is open to all — grab a drink and head upstairs to explore for yourselves!