If you’ve not explored The Ned in the heart of the City then you must.
On walking in, the scale of the place is guaranteed to shock you into a silent state of awe.
The former bank has undergone the ultimate makeover in the hands of Soho House stalwart Nick Jones, in collaboration with the supremely slick New York-based hotel group, Sydell.
It is now a 252-room hotel, part members club and food emporium, boasting an impressive nine restaurants.
On a Wednesday night – with a friend from New York – I checked into Kaia, an Asian-inspired eatery on The Ned’s ground floor.
I was glad we had booked a spot as the place was packed at 8pm and we squeezed our way through to two seats at the marble-topped bar area.
Along with the buzz, I liked the menu at Kaia. It is funky but concise. I was tired but it didn’t take me too much energy to decide on what to eat.
We shared a portion of chili edamame to start. The green beans were large and juicy, with the spicy sauce making me sweat a little. Luckily there was air conditioning blasting on my legs from the counter, so that alleviated my hot flush.
For mains I went for the rainbow poke bowl, which came recommended by two people I spoke to, while my friend Sara went for the priciest dish, the £35 Wagyu sirloin steak.
To supplement the two plates, I opted for some grilled asparagus on the side to share.
It was busy and the servers were being pushed to their max. But a bit of eye-to-eye contact did the trick and the momentum maintained a pace.
Gradually the dishes emerged.
The rainbow poke bowl was a work of art, with avocados carefully crafted into flower-like swirls.
Adding to the palate of colour was a splash of yellow corn, a dash of purple caramelized onion, a sprinkle of sweet nuts and a pouring of papaya. Underneath was a sticky bed of rice. The filling dish is pretty much a bargain at £10.
The sirloin steak appeared next. I wasn’t in the mood for meat that night but Sara told me the chop of meat was delicious, her only qualm being that it was on the small side. America always wins when it comes to portion size.
On the subject of the U.S. we both mused how The Ned reminded us of Grand Central Station in Manhattan with its opulent high ceilings, warm lighting and acoustic clatter.
While we devoured our mains, we sipped on a couple of cocktails. The whisky-based Banana Boulevardier, which is like a tropical twist on an Old Fashioned, is a must-try and like most things at Kaia, it comes topped with a pretty trio of flowers.
Getting in the tropical swing of things, we rounded off the main courses with some caramelized pineapple and mochi – the only two things on the dessert list.
The light dishes were sweet but light, which perfectly hit the spot.
By around 9:30pm Kaia was a little less manic and we could breath a little easier.
It had been a top spot to catch up and Sara was definitely impressed by the glamour of the place.
We swaggered towards the polished revolving doors, taking that sense of joie de vivre with us into the night.
And for early birds Kaia also has a breakfast menu… think bowls of dragon fruit sprinkled with bee pollen washed down with a coconut matcha latte. Cornflakes never looked so bland.
Kaia is located at 27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ
To book a table visit www.thened.com or call + 44 (0)20 3828 2000