Checking into Marylebone’s The Grazing Goat, I find myself recalling the words of Ingvar Kamprad, Swede behind flatpack giant IKEA. He once asserted: “IKEA people do not drive flashy cars or stay at luxury hotels.” Instead of his firm’s assembly line, assemble-at-home resin and ply, here I can actually smell the cosseting aroma of seasoned tulipwood panels…
Hung upon rather than screwed down to these are a range of quirky prints including diagrams of tropical fish. Fortunately, barring a little witty taxidermy, goat references are rare. Why the name? Bleaters grazed in the grounds to provide milk tolerable by the first Lady Portman, allegedly allergic to cow’s milk. What local sourcing.
A handsome stack, its interior was caringly rebuilt to gradually develop patina. It is the fourth property from minds behind quality locals in prime estate, The Pantechnicon, The Orange and The Thomas Cubitt.
Above and insulated from two storeys of bars are eight tailored bedrooms. Evocative of Hazlitt’s or the Rookery, these are characterised by more wood, outsized sleigh beds, characterful bathrooms (with very efficient plumbing) and smart sash windows (double glazed).
My room is ‘H’, right at the top, attractively shaped under mild pitch and cooled by a tornado from a vintage-style fan. Although I’m sufficiently hungry to attack the robust Great British menu with the discernment of a goat, a minor fire stalls the kitchen. The minutiae are explained over a rather ironic-seeming Fire Starter cocktail, fusing ginger, chilli and rum. No flames nor injuries occur, just more steam and smoke than normal service. Ah well, I ‘kid’; at least The Grazing Goat will not become The Blazing Goat.
Fortunately the team is able to offer a breakfast of thick, hot toast with excellent jams and marmalade, rousing Illy coffee, regularly refreshed, and amply squeezed bitsy orange juice. Providing entertainment, and somehow in sync with mellow music, is the group of three ladies and one gent, rapt in review of hundreds of dress designs scooped from big bags.
The Grazing Goat may not suit inelaborate fanatics of the IKEA experience. (Indeed, I’ve no idea where they’d park their carefully unflashy transport.) But with prices comparable to four- and five-star hotel representatives from international chains within metres, their bars buzzing with worker bees breaking out of hi-tech hives of conference rooms, I would easily prefer the Sunday feeling of The Grazing Goat any day.
The Grazing Goat, New Quebec St, Marylebone, London. W1H 7RQ. Rooms from £195. Tel. 020 7724 7243. Website.