Of champagne, cheeses, charcuterie, and Freemasons.

May 15, 2015
Catch Champagne Bar & Lounge, Andaz Liverpool Street

Not your typical East London pub crawl. On Wednesday evening I joined a select group of London foodies and Zomato’s top reviewers for an intimate gastronomical journey  a tour of 5* boutique hotel Andaz Liverpool Street

Opened as the Great Eastern Hotel in 1884 and one of London’s original railway hotels, the Andaz is housed in a beautiful Victorian building designed by the architects of Houses of Parliament. Smoky revolving doors beckoned me to glide through into the Andaz, where I found myself in a space transformed into a 21th century masterpiece whose stunning marriage of traditional and contemporary features hid an opulent jewel — a grandiose Freemason temple. That evening, I ate and drank my way around The Andaz, puffing up a food-coma-induced-sweat through a labyrinth of sweeping traditional stairs that led to seven fabulous restaurants and bars. I noshed at three — Catch Champagne Bar & Lounge for charcuterie and champagne, Eastway Brasserie for tapas and a cocktail masterclass, and a nightcap with dessert wines paired with cheese and sweets in 1901 Restaurant  former grand ballroom of the Andaz's 17th century incarnation the Great Eastern Hotel. 

Catch Champagne Bar & Lounge, Andaz Liverpool Street

My evening began at Catch Champagne Bar & Lounge; where surrounding arched stairways, pale panelled walls, and stained glass overlooked a spread created especially for us foodies — a Chelsea Flower Show 'garden' centrepiece where flowers, charcuterie boards of meats and canapés, and ice-cold bottles of Laurent-Perrier champagne blossomed from the grass. Now that's my idea of being one of natureCatch Champagne Bar & Lounge is one for those who love the imbibing of the vine, with an extensive list of over 70 Champagnes and specialty Bellinis. Conviviality is the name of the game  — 'mixing & matching' is encouraged in more ways than one; with a communal table for socialising, a diverse menu of sharing platters served from the bar’s centrepiece vintage Berkel slicer and on signature charcuterie boards. Sure to coax a conversation out even the shyest of wallflowers, if chronic meekness prevails, just pretend to be deaf to the world except for the live lounge music.







Satisfied that the bubbles had achieved their desired giddying effect, we were ushered to see the nearly-forgotten secret of The Andaz —the masonic lodge; a once-secret Freemason's Temple. Not that we needed any help by way of intoxication, as the temple itself was a sight spectacular to behold...

The most opulent Freemason's Temple in London, discovered in the bowels of The Andaz Liverpool Street.
Press photo
The most opulent Freemason's Temple in London, discovered in the bowels of The Andaz Liverpool Street.

The most opulent Freemason's Temple in London, discovered in the bowels of The Andaz Liverpool Street.

All I could think of was The Stonecutters...



The Freemasons are know to be an elusive bunch, and their legendary discretion would've lead to the loss of this treasure to the annals of history and knowledge of an elite few, if not for its accidental discovery during refurbishment to the hotel. Noticing a discrepancy in blueprints, engineers removed a wall to find, Indiana Jones-style, a wood-paneled antechamber and a studded double door that opened up to a vast and incredibly refined masonic temple. Built in 1912, this Masonic temple is possibly one of London's most grandiose with; twelve different types of marble *screams* used in the floor, columns, and walls, hand-carved mahogany thrones, and a blue and gold dome bearing a five-pointed blazed star and zodiac signs, a checkerboard floor and discreet esoteric insignias. And how much would hiring out this opulent, historical space set one back? Not that much, just on the lower end of a four figure sum! Well, if it's good enough for Lady Gaga, it's good enough for me...

Sufficiently impressed, our next stop was Eastway Brasserie for burgers and cocktails.

Eastway Brasserie at Andaz Liverpool Street, London.

Cocktail masterclass at Eastway Brasserie at Andaz Liverpool Street, London.

Guests were treated to a cocktail masterclass (which I could only enjoy with my eyes, as I have allergic reactions if more than one kind of alcohol passes my lips — although the bar whipped up a cracking lychee cocktail for me!) and nibbles from the Meats From The Grill menu — the showcase of Eastway’s signature style.


Cocktail masterclass at Eastway Brasserie at Andaz Liverpool Street, London.









We nipped over to 1901 Restaurant for a nightcap of dessert wine, cheese, and pudding.

Press photo

1901 Restaurant of The Andaz Liverpool Street London, once the former ballroom of The 1884 Great Eastern Hotel

1901 Restaurant of The Andaz Liverpool Street London, once the former ballroom of The 1884 Great Eastern Hotel

1901 Restaurant of The Andaz Liverpool Street London, once the former ballroom of The 1884 Great Eastern Hotel

Beneath the magnificent stained glass dome (which survived both World Wars bar for one tiny sliver of glass, which was replaced with a striking red piece as testament to its endurance) of what was once the Great Eastern Hotel’s original ballroom, an astonishing Grade II listed room. Against wine and cheese cellar backdrop to the restaurant, we nibbled on a fine selection of cheeses and sipped dessert wine (again, I merely sniffed and stuck to water...damn allergies) before finishing with a delicious and most importantly photogenic (bloggers, duh) tray of desserts.

1901 Restaurant hosts wine and cheese tasting evenings with professional sommeliers and cheese specialists on hand for educational (hehe) purposes. For the sweet-toothed, traditional English afternoon tea can also be taken in from Monday to Saturday, from 3pm onward. Do it, and be sure to ask for more of the mango puddings.




Please excuse the quality of my pictures, the incandescent ambience of The Andaz made for tricky photography!


T'was a First Class evening indeed, and a gastronomical journey befitting of The Andaz's origins as one of London's original railway hotels. The Andaz promises an authentic and intimate experience of East London with their motto 'To Arrive a Visitor and Depart A Local', connecting the urban explorer with the eclectic offerings of Shoreditch thanks to its immediate proximity to Liverpool Street station. Myself, I am a Shoreditch girl through and through having lived in this colourful neighbourhood for close to five years, but even this weary veteran found a renewed delight in an unassuming part of her neighbourhood — this was only the second Freemason's building I've visited, and certainly the first Masonic temple which I never realised was right under my nose! I also learnt that there is a luxurious way to do the 'East London bar and restaurant crawl', with seven distinctly different restaurants and bars within the redbrick walls of The Andaz. Thank you Zomato for the invitation, and thank you Andaz for your hospitality — I will be back soon, keep the Masonic thrones warm for me! x


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26 comments:

  1. This looks like the perfect evening! I love that you were treated to more than one of the restaurants. The food looks divine and I loved the spread on the champagne and charcuterie table - such a nice touch to make it Chelsea themed. And hey, where there's ice cold champagne, cocktails and good food? There really is a good night!


    Lauren xx | The Lifestyle Diaries

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  2. OMG what a night of decadence! It's lovely to see new things in your local area!
    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

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  3. Zomato meetups are so good the world over! I love getting together with fellow foodies to discover new places - and these look amazing!


    Polly xx









    Follow Your Sunshine

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  4. Polly, they really are - I haven't been to a Zomato meetup I didn't enjoy!

    Have a wonderful weekend, lovely! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  5. Isn't it just Angie? I feel like you when you became 'The Luxury Ambassador for Victoria' (which should totally be your legit title, btw!)

    Enjoy your weekend my love and say hello to Mr. S for me! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  6. Lauren it really was a lovely evening. ONE restaurant tour? PAH! Try three, then we'll talk! ;)

    Have an amazing weekend you lovely lady! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  7. This looks so, so good and I'm very jealous you got to try three restaurants in the same evening! I've not been to the Andaz in a while now and this has given me good reason to return!

    Kam xo
    A Married Couple & Their Travels

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  8. Haha, my immediate thought was that Simpsons episode too. "Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star?"
    This looks awesome, beautiful pics as usual.

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  9. Kam, you should - maybe do a food and wine tour at The Andaz this weekend? x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  10. DANIELLEEE THE SONG IS STUCK IN MY HEAD NOW!

    We do...WEEEE DOOOOOOOOO!!!!

    Happy weekend my love! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  11. Catherine LuxMay 15, 2015

    Oooh it's so good to hear you can do a classy East London crawl - we'll have to do one soon!! Also love the Masonic lodge, some of the members of my family were/are freemasons, and despite the secrecy they do some really amazing charity work!

    C x | Lux Life

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  12. I am SO doing the secret Stonecutter's handshake the next time I come round to yours ;)

    ALSO GET YOUR LUSCIOUS BUTT OVER TO DUCK & WAFFLE ASAP PLZ OMG I MISS YOU ♥ ♥ ♥

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  13. Catherine LuxMay 15, 2015

    LET'S GO TO DUCK & WAFFLE TONIGHT AFTER MONTEZUMA!!! I can drive us there from Kensington!


    C x

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  14. Cake & WhiskyMay 15, 2015

    Stunning, especially the glass dome!


    Sandra
    http://cakeandwhisky.wordpress.com

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  15. Isn't it just, Sandra? Have a wonderful weekend! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  16. I was invited but couldn't make it, at least we will meet at the picnic! I've reviewed Andaz before and as I'd heard about the Masonic temple, I asked them to open it for us - love your photos of it.

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

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  17. MichèleMay 15, 2015

    yummy how good this all looks

    www.thefashionfraction.com

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  18. Mehreen AMay 15, 2015

    Lovely post Jasiminne :) Cocktail masterclasses are such great fun and the venue looks so grand x


    Mehreen A | wrapyourlipsaroundthis.com

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  19. Mehreen, it really is grand - the perfect place to host a party! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  20. It tasted as good as it looked, Michele ;) x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  21. Ah can't believe I missed the chance to finally meet you! I'm looking forward to the Bloggers Picnic! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  22. Wow that Masonic temple looks amazing! What an awesome London find. I love the sound of wine and cheese tasting evening too, off to investigate them now!! xx

    Jasmin Charlotte

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  23. Beautiful photos – the food looks amazing! Will have to take a trip there soon.


    Sophie | reindeerandbear.com

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  24. You must, Sophie, I think you'll love it! x

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