After months of dining à deux at the kitchen table, it might have felt disarmingly surreal to be clinking glasses with friends inside an actual restaurant, in a room of people not in my bubble. But it is difficult not to be at total ease in 108 Brasserie, with its lively atmosphere, warm lighting, teal walls and plush furnishings – not to mention the attentive and affable service.
Set inside the charming Marylebone Hotel in one of London’s most fashionable areas, abuzz with independent shops, bookshops and a weekly market, there’s plenty of reason to book in for a night or two (if you do, go for a Terrace suite, which come with a Scandi-style outdoor space with a working fireplace and a retractable roof). Each of the rooms are bright and uncluttered, with spectacular city views, neutral colour schemes and indulgent Malin + Goetz products in the marble bathrooms.
An evening at the Marylebone Hotel is best begun with 108 Brasserie’s signature Italicus Spritz, a delicate but potent blend of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, prosecco, elderflower and orange; accompanied by a smorgasbord of starters. We chose the buffalo milk burrata, the steak tartare and, at the wise recommendation of our waiter, some delicious corn tostadas with shredded smoked chicken and satay sauce. The modern menu places emphasis on fresh and nutritious dishes with seasonal produce at their core, while taking influence from around the globe.
The blackened miso cod is a dish to return for – order it with a side of fries for an additional treat; though you’ll want to make your way through the menu first, with juicy steaks and risotto primavera to tempt you. As desserts go, the skillet brownie is a real champion, but is very generously portioned and probably best shared between two.
On balmier nights, the Brasserie has a foliage-adorned terrace, which proves the perfect place from which to enjoy the traquility of British summertime. But, on the occasion of a torrential downpour, the interiors, designed by Alexander Waterworth, are chic and inviting, with rich red leather and burnt orange upholstery contrasting with antique mirrors and nickel accents.
Having spent more time at home than we’re accustomed to in the past year, the Marylebone Hotel and its Brasserie 108 provides a welcome but familiar break, with all the comforts you could ask for.