A wine-focused restaurant project housed within the former Holborn Town Hall, with a menu inspired by the flavours of Europe and a name that comes from a Dutch word best translated as ‘an atmosphere which allows good times to happen’.
Chef Graham Long, restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas and sommeliers Wieteke Teppema and James Comyn, who claim to have been brought together by their love of good food and vino. Long, Teppema and Comyn have worked together at various stages throughout their individual careers, and together their CVs span many top London restaurants including Elystan Street, Pied à Terre and The Ledbury. They oversee Gezellig’s internal operation having initially established the concept as a pop-up at Carousel London in May 2017, while Mascarenhas, who co-owns Elystan Street with Phil Howard, oversees the business side of things.
Long has described his food as “classically based with influences from throughout Europe”. The menu certainly has a refined edge, but it also has something of a gastropub feel. There’s a selection of premium snacks available from the bar priced between £3 and £16, which include caramelised mixed nuts with cumin salt; pulled pork shoulder sausage roll with a house sauce; and veal sweetbread slider with truffle coleslaw. Starters range from £13 to £16, with mains predominately priced upwards of £25. Choices include starters of brandade ravioli with a ragù of octopus, red pepper and aïolil; and a terrine of chicken and foie gras wrapped in leek and served with a warm morel vinaigrette. Mains feature a chicken breast, slow roasted and served with Morteau sausage farce, hispi cabbage and jus gras; and poached plaice with a comté crust, soft leeks, Jersey royals and buttermilk.
Befitting its name, Gezellig offers sanctuary to those looking to escape the bustle of central London. The lighting is low, the colours are soft, and the music is the definition of ‘easy listening’ (think Crowded House and REM, with a smattering of David Bowie added for good measure). There’s a grandeur to the space – plush furnishings and high ceilings – but it’s never imposing, and has clearly been designed to appeal to those looking for somewhere to unwind after a long day at the office.
And another thing:
As you would hope, Gezellig’s wine list is extensive, and features approximately 350 bins that start from £25 for a bottle and £5 a glass. However, the onus is not on finding the perfect wine to pair with your meal – although the staff will be more than happy to make a suggestion should you so wish. Instead, Teppema and Comyn would rather diners opt simply for something they enjoy, further enforcing that sense of leisure.