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Occupying the dramatic marble lobby of what was once a palatial hotel (built 1887 in the grand Italianate style), Boyds certainly has the wow factor. The space around its substantial central island bar – there’s also a handsome Victorian-style ‘kitchen’ counter to one side – is given over to cocktailing and snacking. Although the decor (high tables, Starck-like ‘ghost’ chairs and 1960s-style upholstery) doesn’t quite live up to the majestic surroundings, this largely unsung old girl is a good-to-know spot for get-togethers off Trafalgar Square. Order Espresso or Porn Star Martini from a drinks list that offers a dozen wines by the glass and in flights, and bubbles from £8 a flute. For snacks, cheese and Trealy Farm meat boards are reasonable at just under £20 – as are small plates at £5 for the likes of smoked salmon tartare with mango, avocado and chilli; or beef and bone-marrow faggots in Bordelaise sauce.
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