Jason Allen 18/09/23

The Old War Office Comes With A Dozen New Bars & Restaurants

So, here’s one to file under ‘quite ambitious’.

The Grade-II listed Old War Office building on Whitehall, which was sold back in 2016 for a cool £350 million, has been gloriously revamped & refurbished by the luxury hotel group Raffles. It’s set to open at the end of this month with 120 glamorous hotel rooms, 85 residential apartments, a four-storey spa and – for the rest of us mere mortals – twelve bars and restaurants inside.

Yes, twelve.

raffles london at the owo

The building itself was built on the site of a former Tudor palace – but with over 1000 rooms and 2.5 miles of corridors inside, if anything, this 1906 replacement was even more impressive. Inside, it had all manner of Edwardian bombast hurled at it – sweeping marble staircases, mosaic flooring, ornate plaster-framed domes, the works. All those period features have been painstakingly returned to their original glory by a hundreds-strong team of traditional craftspeople, and the result is really quite something.

Here’s a little taster of what to expect…


So, a third of The OWO’s nine restaurants will be headed up by the virtuoso chef Mauro Colagreco – he’s the man behind Mirazur, which has achieved the rare double crown of winning both three Michelin Stars and snatching up the No.1 spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (in 2019). Originally from Argentina, he’s the first non-French chef to ever get three Stars in France, which tells you quite a lot about his skill and ambition. And now Raffles are handing him the keys to three totally new eateries.

saison at owo london


Luckily, it sounds like they’ll cater to three different price points, starting in the middle, heading to the top, and peaking in the upper stratosphere with an intimate chef’s table experience. But Saison looks like it’ll give plenty of bang for its (relatively accessible) buck, serving up an all-day Mediterranean menu in a stunning double-height atrium.


rooftop at raffles london the owo

In a surprising and very welcome move for a luxury hotel group, the OWO rooftop won’t be sectioned off for guests – instead, they’re treating the hoi polloi to a Japanese rooftop restaurant with some insane-looking views over Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. The food here will be under the remit of the Creative Restaurant Group, a.k.a. the team behind Michelin-starred Endo at the Rotunda and Mayfair’s HUMO, and they’ll also be slinging a sake bar onto the ground floor for good measure.


Paper Moon at OWO London

Paper Moon London

Completing the restaurant line-up will be Milan’s Langosteria, a restaurant which combines first-class seafood with exceptionally warm service, and Paper Moon, the first branch of an independent restaurant (also in Milan) that’s been going since 1977. Yes, when Paper Moon first opened, Star Wars hadn’t been released. It seems that they’ve waited patiently for 45 years, and are now making their move to expand – and Nudge Members will be the first through the doors at Paper Moon London, with 50% off their food bill for their troubles.


As you’d expect from any luxury hotel in London, you’ll be able to take afternoon tea at The OWO – hosted, naturally, in a wood-panelled former library overlooking Whitehall. With a grand piano. And an outrageously ornate fireplace.

drawing room raffles london at the owo

The Drawing Room

There’s also Café Lapérouse, a Parisian import that’ll set up shop in a metallic-rooved pavilion in the hotel courtyard, shifting from a bustling café to a bar by night. That joins the Guards Bar, where – if you time it right – you could potentially watch the royal guards Trooping the Colour with a cocktail in hand, and the Spies Bar, a subterranean drinking den nestled in the OWO’s original MI5 quarters.

And given that Bond author Ian Fleming used to tread these halls as a naval intelligence assistant… they should really serve a mean martini.


NOTE: Raffles London at The OWO is set to open on 27th September 2023. You can find out more at the website right HERE, or read about the Nudge Member-exclusive soft launch at Paper Moon London here. Not a Nudge Member yet? Sign up for a free trial.

The OWO | Whitehall, SW1A 2EU

Want to stay on top of the latest news? Take a peek at these London restaurants opening soon


Whitehall, Westminster , SW1A 2EU

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