The Living Room
The Living Room (not to be confused as I did, with the now shuttered Living Well, formerly home to weekly dirty bingo) is now open inside the Windsor Arms Hotel . Without any exterior signage, the restaurant is hidden inside the posh hotel that is better known for its tea parties than as casual work/hang spot.
Formerly a steakhouse, the room quietly reopened after a full makeover this summer with the ambition of attracting a younger more vibrant crowd. Inside, the newly redone space aspires to accommodate as many functions as possible; there's a bar, patio, lounge avec work station and board games plus a formal dining room.
The decor feels a little like La Belle Ăpoque meets Debbie Travis in her Painted House years. Every possible surface is clad in animal prints, plaids or velvet, there are gilded deco ceilings, distressed furniture and upholstered poofs at every turn.
The menu is expansive - there's even a table of contents. Twenty five plus pages list off breakfast, smoothies, pub-like sharing plates, comfort foods, steak-house worthy mains, vegan options, wines, cocktails, spirits, beers, desserts. For hotel guests this likely translates into the ultimate room service dream, but whether it can compete for patronage amongst savvy locals might prove a greater challenge.
Mini Kobe Sliders ($15) are one example of the historic hotel wading into the realm of casual and fun. Dressed with BBQ sauce and sweet pickle garnish the patties are expectedly good quality, though not especially exciting.
On the other end of the spectrum, mains are more serious ranging from triple A steaks ($28 to $38) to a Moroccan Tangine ($24) featuring a chicken breast with saffron, preserved lemon and green olives over olive oil mashed potatoes. Sides (there are 11 to choose from) feature luxe entries like a lobster mash ($20) slumming it alongside hearts of palm frites ($6).
Wines range from 'reasonable' all the way up to a $14,000 (that's not a typo) bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 1er Cru Classe (I didn't catch the vintage as it was a little out of my price range). The most novel feature is the self pour taps which can be reserved for parties of four or more. While the well stocked bar features ten draught beers, the self serve taps are hooked up to Mill Street Organic and Market Pale Ale which will digitally read what you've poured and will bill you for it accordingly.
The Living Room is open daily from 7am to 2am. Reservations are recommended for the self-pour beer parties.
Photos by Jesse Milns