I’ve been pronouncing Gezellig a bit like the long-limbed African antelope, but I’ve got it all wrong, laughs smiley sommelier Wieteke Teppema. It’s actually “heh-SELL-ick”, a Dutch word that is perhaps best translated as: ‘an atmosphere which allows good times to happen’. And, though I’ve only just walked in, it feels a fitting moniker.
Formerly Holborn Town Hall, the Grade-II listed space has been sensitively refurbished, retaining lots of original features. It’s all olive green walls, walnut wood and double height ceilings, but a mezzanine bar suspended over the dining room prevents the space from feeling cavernous. And a quirky collection of art referencing wine and pop art makes for an interesting talking point.
I’m late, and my lunch companion, unable to wait a minute longer, has pre-ordered a selection of bar snacks. We tuck into flaky sausage rolls filled with succulent pulled pork and served with chef Graham Long’s (formerly of L’Autre Pied and Elystan Street) own take on brown sauce, light as a feather cheddar and walnut gougeres, and suckling pig bitterballen with sweet mustard. The latter are the only Dutch dish on the menu– akin to croquettes they are utterly delicious.
We’ve been anticipating this opening since the team popped up at Carousel in 2017, and early indications suggest that it’s been worth the wait. We’re guided by the friendly front of house team when it comes to choosing from the modern European menu, and nothing disappoints. For me, a starter of grilled courgettes, broad beans, ewe’s curd and mint is followed by pecorino gnocchi with peas, girolles and wild garlic. Both are perfectly presented, beautifully balanced dishes. A taste of summer on a plate. The gnocchi is garnished with shavings of piquant Belper Knolle cheese, which is divine.
Cosy and convivial, we’re bowled over by Gezellig. It is dangerously close to Fabric HQ, so we’ll certainly be back, next time for a boozy dinner to test Wieteke’s constantly evolving wine list.
Holborn Hall, 193197 High Holborn, WC1V (020 3004 0004; gezellig.co.uk)