Lanes of London, Park Lane
Emerging from Marble Arch Station, you are immediately greeted by the elegant white brick of the Marriott Hotel. Flags wave majestically over the entrance as city strollers, the odd one in a top hat, enter or pass by the art deco building. Continue briefly on, turn the corner and you arrive at the Marriott’s restaurant: Lanes of London.
Boasting a flag, like the hotel, there is also an ornate tiled mosaic, grandly announcing the establishment. Enter and eyes are immediately drawn to a warm, classical bar where you are effortlessly greeted, seated and offered an apéritif in the comfortable lounge. The golden, mirrored fireplace, harbouring dozens of glowing candles, eases you into the surrounding luxury. On a Wednesday the clientele is a mix of business and pleasure; intimate couples, business partners and corporate groups indulge in a few cocktails before going through to the dining room.
The concept is to bring street food from prominent London lanes onto one menu. Oh boy, does this take some careful navigation! But never fear: we’ve traversed the lanes, so you don’t have to. Ask yourself: are you an edgy Edgware Lass or a boisterous Brick Lane boy? Maybe you go for traditional dining: fish starter, meat for main. Pick a side, and stick to it, or you’re gonna get lost in the multicultural maze.
Hitting Brick Lane: start with Samosa Chat, served with chickpeas, yoghurt and bursts of fresh pomegranate. Next, the Butter Chicken is a knock out and paired perfectly with the Fattoush salad – a brief excursion to Edgware Road is allowed. If you’re feeling fish then kick things off with soft shell crab, served tempura style on a bed of crisp fennel salad, and move on to a classic steak and chips.
For dessert, meet at the crossroads and share a light Pimms Trifle: summer is on the way!
Meet at the bar before sinking into the indulgent brown leather armchairs next to the inviting fireplace. The set up is classical with a contemporary edge, so embrace the scene with a sophisticated cocktail which smacks of the city: the “West London Gimlet”, with house-made beetroot cordial, ticks the box nicely. Lanes demands decadence, so opt for one more drink before entering the dining room. “Daisy from the Market” (Sloe gin, red wine, spices) comes in a dainty corked bottle and is perfect for sharing and boozy bonding. Match the stylish ambiance with some lofty chat on art, transcendentalism and, naturally, sex.
After dinner, you won’t want to be going far, so move back into the relaxing lounge area for coffee and a Rittenhouse rye. Choose a leather banquette this time and snuggle up close.
You’re setting the bar high if you make Lanes a first date destination. Menu is rather disorientating but a great talking point.
3. A classy, celebratory supper; save this one for a special occasion.