The immediate area around Heathrow Airport is not glitzy or particularly glamorous, in fact it’s like most major city airports, full of industrial units and hotels. Bath Road runs along the north of the Airport and it’s home to more than 50% of the area’s hotels. Whilst not the prettiest, it’s one of the handiest places to stay if you have flights arriving or departing at an unearthly or inconvenient hour at Heathrow. So now I’ve given you a bit of geography, the reason for the post is that I’ve been invited to the Radisson Blu where they’ve revamped their restaurant and bar and have given it a new name. The Oceanic takes its name from the first terminal opened at Heathrow to deal with long-haul flight departures and for those who don’t remember, it’s Terminal 3.
The food here is inspired by America so you can expect chowders, hot dogs, steaks, lobster, burgers, wings, Reuben sandwiches pretty much anything you’d see on any decent menu across the pond. I’m told the breakfast is something else – French toast with cured back bacon, bananas and maple syrup, waffles with cured back bacon, peaches and maple syrup and the US breakfast staple steak with your choice of eggs – but I’m not invited to spend the night, so I take the staff’s word for it.
They’ve also experimented with hard shakes – milkshakes with alcohol – but buyer beware, these things are lethal. They look pretty, taste amazing, but they also allow your legs to relax which is unhelpful if you have to walk anywhere. The two guys in charge of the bar will talk you through the menu with great knowledge, all you need to do is pull up a seat. The non-alcoholic shakes are a treat for visiting kids and the chocolate and peanut butter and strawberry and vanilla shakes are made from fresh, quality ingredients.
When you enter the bar the first thing you see is a large circular island bar and an impressive glass installation, all anemones and glass bubble beads, dangling precariously above your head. Plush turquoise fabrics and comfortable seating compliment the dark wood and brass-railed interior. The decor could have gone one of two ways and thankfully the Hotel bosses decided sea theme.
Their cocktail menu reflects the decades, serving cocktail classics such as the Mint Julep (1800s), Clover Club (1900), Air Mail (1940) and bringing their repertoire right up to date with the Cosmo and these are the two barmen who you’ll no doubt encounter.
The ‘hard’ shakes are impressive and do not scrimp on quality alcohol. We were given the opportunity to make our own and here’s the Rum and Oreo Crumble which consists of Bacardi 8 year old rum, vanilla ice-cream, crushed Oreo cookies, ginger syrup and a dash of Guinness.
My favourite was the Lemon Cheesecake containing milk, Limoncello, a little cream cheese and a digestive and tasted just like a liquid slice of a thick and creamy desert. As if that wasn’t enough, we were let loose in the bar to create some of the classics.
More than a little merry (my photos get worse) we’re treated to sample the restaurant menu. It’s incredibly busy for a Tuesday night and it becomes clear that not all diners are Hotel guests. I later discover that residents from other airport hotels on the same road come for dinner here and it’s a popular destination for locals both in the week and at weekends.
A tasting trio of starters arrive – corn chowder, sticky ribs and a Maryland crab cake. All of which I’d recommend on a larger scale.
I order a fillet steak £28 (served with homemade fries and a choice of garlic butter, béarnaise sauce, Café de Paris sauce, peppercorn sauce, Roquefort sauce or Oceanic mustard and bourbon cream sauce) and it’s cooked perfectly, the large tomato that dominates the plate, sadly isn’t and remains hard in the centre. The Chef’s salad (£3.50) which I asked for instead of the fries was large for a side dish, although I found no lettuce in the bowl, but it was tasty nonetheless.
For dessert, a trio tasting plate of custard pie with salted caramel ice cream, flour-less chocolate cake and a white chocolate cheesecake and tasted as good as they look here.
If you’ve got a few hours to kill before a day or early evening flight and fancy a place to chill out that’s not the Airport, then this isn’t a bad choice at all. The Hotel is served by quite a few buses and if you mention you’re going to the Hotel the ride is free. The Resort Hoppa is a charged service. If time isn’t on your side, Heathrow taxis are plentiful.
All day dining – 6.30am to 11pm
For those who live closer to the Airport and want somewhere a little classy and less clubby to spend a Friday or Saturday night, you can have dinner at the Restaurant and have a dance after when their resident DJ starts spinning discs from 10pm.
And, if you want someone else to cook your Christmas Dinner, let the Hotel do it for you. On Saturday 25th December, they’re putting on a fabulous menu which includes a cold buffet and Chef’s Carvery, dessert includes Christmas Pudding and a selection of gateaux, all for a rather reasonable £56.00 per person.
Here’s what’s on offer at the Oceanic and to make sure you don’t miss out, you can sign up for regular offers.
Parking available on site.