I am a massive fan of converted spaces, especially ones decked in history. On Tooley street, used to be a Tudor inspired red brick building, which was home to St Olave’s grammar establishment for boys from 1835 to 1968. It has now become a luxurious hotel and the first venture abroad by the prestigious LaLit group. Some of the aspects of the design have been restored but it is amazing to see how a hotel has taken its place.
I attended an influencers evening at this gorgeous venue and as I walked through the grounds to the entrance of the hotel, I was greeted with that traditional indian style “Namaskar,” a gesture which I loved. First impressions are very important to me and I instantly felt welcome and relaxed as I walked through the doors.
The event started off in the balcony overlooking the Baluchi restaurant, which used to be the assembly hall at the school. Decked with gorgeous interiors such as art handpicked by the owner, blue chandeliers and intricate designs on the furniture and fittings, I took a moment to just marvel at the beauty of the room (with a glass of bubbly of course).
We nibbled on some stunning canapés whilst we awaited all the guests to arrive before embarking on a hotel tour. Pictured below are goats cheese and beetroot canapés.
I love the theme running through the hotel where everything is linked to the building’s history. The rooms are called classrooms, which I adored, and the bar areas are called The Teacher’s Room and the Headmaster’s Room. There are 70 rooms in total and the views from the hotel are rather epic – you can see The Shard as well as The Thames.
The rooms have a fabulous design and are ultra modern with Japanese toilets with swanky functions. Some of the rooms have drool worthy tubs and they all have fantastic interiors, bringing that indian touch. I would certainly love to wake up with a view of the Shard!
After our tour, as it was a brilliantly sunny day in London, we headed to the outside terrace for some more bubbly and there was a superb view of the Shard from here too.
The terrace is so gorgeous and definitely a little oasis away from the busy financial services buzz of London Bridge. I know I will be back for a Mojito or two on a summery day.
My favourite part of the terrace was the statue of Lord Ganesha, an indian god who is my personal favourite. It has great meaning to the owner of the hotel too and I noticed statues dotted around some of the rooms and spaces of the hotel.
Once the final guest arrived we headed indoors to our gorgeous table, excited to try the summer tasting menu at the in-house Pan-Indian restaurant called Baluchi. The food is split into categories themed by the building’s past. Term 1 signifies starters, whilst Mid Term stands for mains. I loved this novel touch as it is such a clever way to link the present and the past of the gorgeous building.
I was intrigued by the Pan-Indian menu and first to arrive was the Amuse Bouche which was a Tamatar ka Shorba – a broth made from delicately spiced tomato, as well as dhokla to accompany it, which is a steamed chick pea cake. Utterly delicious.
Next up was Barwan Zucchini with Mushroom Ki Gaulati. The Mushroom Ki Gaulati melted in my mouth whilst I loved the contrasting crispy Barwan Zucchini. The fresh flavours impressed me.
Tandoori Salmon arrived with theatrical flair and I loved the aroma of barbeque that appealed to the senses as soon as the lid was lifted.
I am not a massive salmon fan generally so this wasn’t my favourite dish from the menu but it seemed to be a popular one amongst the seafood lovers on the table.
Mid meal we had the most gorgeous palate cleanser – a Fennel and Pineapple Sorbet, whose flavours took me straight back to my childhood in Kenya, where we used to get an ice lolly with a similar flavour. It was a superb dish and so beautifully presented.
My favourite savoury dish was the Zafrani malai murg, which is chicken flavoured with saffron. It was delectable and the flavours complimented each other so much.
The cashew crumble that lined the plate was also extremely addictive! The presentation was beautiful.
Baghara Baingan was my favourite vegetarian savoury dish, and again was plated as a work of art.
The aubergine was filled with soft spicy paneer and a side chutney which had a little kick but was just so tasty. I loved both the presentation and execution of this dish.
To accompany our dishes we had a selection of breads. They were soft, fluffy and just how I like them. The flavours ranged from fig and date to garlic.
For every dish on the tasting menu we also had a paired wine and I loved this aspect as I have been to very few wine pairings with indian food and it worked so well.
Now the star of the meal – dessert, or in keeping with the theme, Term Break or School holidays! Bhapa Doi, served with Passion fruit gel, pistachio, rose petals and cardamom flavoured Indian shortbread biscuits as well as Paan ki kulfi, which is Indian ice cream flavoured with betel leaves and nuts.
The latter was my favourite from the two as in our household we normally finish meals with Paan whenever we have gatherings. The kulfi was so delicious and just the right amount of flavour as Paan can be very strong in taste.
The service at the restaurant was amazing and the Great Hall, the location of the restaurant is stunning and very grand!
I loved the summer tasting menu and will definitely be back to try the Indian High Chai, which also sounds fantastic. For more information about Baluchi visit their website here.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Baluchi. All views and photos are my own.
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