The beautiful Vintry and Mercer hotel has a beautiful sense of place that is obvious from the moment you step over the threshold. With foundations laid on (the fantastically named) Garlick Hill, this newly opened Small Luxury Hotel is full of moments where the local London history permeates. Disclaimer: We were guests of Vintry and Mercer, but all wistful story scraps, allusions to local history and words are very much mine and mine alone.
Located in the historic Vintry Ward, the hotel is inspired by the rich cultural influences of the historic area – where the Vintry Guild traded wines and the Mercer Guild traded in fine fabrics. I adored the references scattered through the hotel to these historic trades, from an evolving menu of wines to bespoke fabrics and old trading maps throughout the 92 individually decorated rooms, hallways and dining spaces. Often hotels struggle with the dance between being a beige box that you sleep in and tourist overload, but here it’s perfectly balanced.
The reception is a calm, lush forest of fern fronds designed to pull guests out of the city outside, leading to the twisting twirling staircase lights as you make your way through the building.
“Our inspiration comes from the historic trading guilds of the area. Vintry was the centre for London wine merchants; Mercer was for noble textile sellers who specialised in fine silks and damasks. In the narrow streets near our hotel, this history perseveres.”
Don’t miss the beautiful artworks made from local maps – new and old…
…the Guilds livery slipped onto the cushion covers as an ode to the ancient freemen of the city and custom maps that wallpaper the lushly appointed rooms.
I’ve got my own unusual connections to the City and Guilds nearby – from herding sheep across London Bridge (an ancient right of the freemen of the city) to attending all kinds of their quirky traditions like the Pancake races, so this put an extra smile on my face as we wandered through.
We slipped downstairs to the ‘do not disturb’ bar, a 1920s speakeasy with an excellent array of gorgeously presented custom cocktails, before our planned feast in the Vintry Kitchen.
This flavour of trade and history continues throughout: “Vintry Kitchen is an Asian tapas eatery on the ground floor, with a menu that pulses with fresh, bold Asian flavours from morning to night. Wine is central to our approach — close to the hotel, merchant sailors landing from Bordeaux used to store their wines.”
I was never a fan of Tapas (long-time readers will definitely know this) but I’m coming around to the idea – especially with an array this delicious to taste. Wagyu Tartare with slivers of truffle that should be overboard indulgent but isn’t – I found myself sneaking an extra forkful or two, pork katsu cutlets, sweet miso glazed aubergine and Padron peppers with miso and sesame were all devoured.
We also adored the Sando – a Wagyu katsu covered in a Tonkatsu sauce, mustard and white cabbage, not to mention the selection of bao buns; tempura shitake & tomato miso, chicken kariage & kimchi and teriyaki beef, crispy shallots & mustard mayonnaise. The memory of these are making my mouth watering (slightly dangerous when your fingers are keyboard dancing at the same time.)
The Vintry Kitchen has quite an urbane, sleek feel paired with the large wine barrels lining the gantry, which are tapped and used every day.
We also tried a range of their small plates – from the Queen scallops to their baked mushrooms en papilotte lavished with ginger, garlic & soy…
… not to mention the sweet and spicy fried peanut chicken with pickled daikon and the delectable teriyaki Sea Trout, pink quinoa, pomegranate & cucumber.
This is where the small plates/tapas style deftly comes into it’s own – though you need to go with good friends so that you can barter for those last delicious morsels of your favourite bites.
Rounding out our Asian feast were a few delicious desserts – a Vietnamese coffee mousse that I definitely will be going back for, a Matcha opera cake with berry sorbet that I know my Match mad mates will adore…
…and these beautiful goldfish that will no doubt set Instagram alight.
Will I be back to the Vintry and Mercer Hotel? Definitely. Before we’d even left the table, we were scheming about a working lunch visit for another Sando/Mousse. There’s also a lovely roof terrace that I can see us enjoying post-work cocktails on overlooking St James Church and St Pauls Cathedral.
Do you like Tapas or do you prefer your own dedicated dish?
Ps. feel free to add your posts about staycations and local gems to our Travel Linkup this month! Cick the link below to see what everyone is sharing!
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