After popping up with a residency at Carousel in 2017, Gezellig has now settled in London permanently, opening inside the old Holborn Town Hall, which was most recently a Burger & Lobster. The team behind the restaurant includes Wieteke Teppema, Graham Long and James Comyn (who’ve spent time at The Ledbury, The Square and Elystan Street amongst others) and co-owner of Elystan Street Rebecca Mascarenhas, so their combined experience promises a lot.
If you’re wondering about the name, gezellig is a Dutch word that translates to “an atmosphere, which allows good times to happen”. Well the two-floor, Grade-II listed space, with counter dining, walnut tables and wingback chairs, is certainly the ideal vessel for good times.
Despite the Dutch name and Wieteke originally being from the Netherlands, the menu is more broadly modern European. There is however one nod to Holland, with the must-order bar snack of suckling pig bitterballen with a sweet mustard. Get these a glass of fizz and also the cheddar and pickled walnut gougeres, another bar snack that you can definitely file under ‘addictive’.
Aside from the separate bar snack menu, Gezellig is all about the straight up three courses – no small plates, no sides – and we actually really like that. It’s funny to think of something traditional as refreshing but considering all the ‘concepts’ and sharing dishes around London these days, sometimes it’s nice just to eat a proper dinner! So next up for us it was two excellent starters, a very pretty cured trout with a crisp deep fried oyster and pickled cucumber, and thin discs of salt baked celeriac with caramelised walnuts and a sweet ice wine vinegar.
If you have a ‘never order chicken’ rule you might want to put that aside for Gezellig, as the slow roast chicken breast with Morteau sausage farce, hispi cabbage, and gravy was a standout dish of the night – it’s a big one though so maybe go easy on the starters if you fancy this. A slightly less filling, but no less tasty option would be the halibut with fresh peas, girolles, gherkins and preserved lemon.
There’s quite a few tempting things on the pudding menu (we love that you can get a builder’s tea with a biscuit) but we narrowed it down to the apricot and chamomile tart, a beautiful thin pastry shell with a light cream and sweet apricot at the bottom. A winning finish to a great meal.
193-197 High Holborn, London WC1V 7BD