The last time I ate at what is now the Telegraph Hotel, it would have been a takeaway sandwich at my desk while working as a sub-editor on Coventry’s local tabloid. How Times (and its predecessor The Citizen, ahem) have changed. The journalists moved out nine years ago, and the building at 157 Corporation Street, which was home to the city’s newspapers for more than 50 years, is now a chic hotel.

Developers CDP showed a lot of respect for the iconic building in the refit, retaining many of its original features - the reception and foyer area looks much the same as it did when members of the public could come in to place a classified advert - and there’s a range of 1950s and ’60s period furniture to reflect the paper’s glory days. You’ll also find old editions, reproduced covers and other memorabilia and artefacts dotted around the 88-room hotel, which also contains the luxurious Lord Iliffe Suite - a reimagining of the original owner’s private apartment - and a room containing Coventry City football programmes from 1970/71, the season they were designed by revered graphic artist John Elvin.

The retro-chic style continues with the hotel’s eateries, with the Forme & Chase restaurant, bar & lounge designed to recreate the glamour of the 1950s, and seasonal rooftop bar Generators featuring an industrial printworks theme. The latter specialises in cocktails and Mediterranean tapas, while the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and evening meals, all in a glazed courtyard setting that I’m fairly certain was the car park when I used to work there.

It’s an undeniably classy environment, though yet to truly find its feet - or market - judging by the paucity of diners on the Thursday evening I visited. Hotel guests are obviously a key focus (dinner-inclusive packages are a popular option) but a pre-theatre menu might be worth considering given the venue’s proximity to the Belgrade over the road. A couple more vegetarian options beyond the two fairly uninspiring main menu choices wouldn’t go amiss either.

Carnivores are rather better catered for, and I opted for one of three steak options - a perfectly rendered steak frites with watercress and radish salad and my chosen chilli & herb chimichurri sauce (at no extra cost - a rare treat). My companion opted for the harissa chicken breast that I initially fancied, not least for the kaleidoscopic tomato, pepper, olive and feta salad that accompanied it. Throw in some pitta bread and hummus and it was undoubtedly the night’s headline item.

Our starters (‘small plates’) were never likely to make the front page, although my crispy pork slice - effectively a fish finger made of pulled pork and served with intricately presented piccalilli, cauliflower and celery heart - was savoury and tasty enough to earn a byline on page two. My companion’s prawn & avocado cocktail looked the part - and was at least twice the size of my dish - but she was disappointed that the Bloody Mary mayonnaise tasted more like Thousand Island dressing.

But stop press - our desserts (‘puddings’ according to the menu) were both definitely worthy of page lead status. The crème brulée with shortbread was as good as any I’ve had, while the Biscoff cheesecake with Chantilly cream and toffee sauce was apparently “gorgeous but a bit rich” - and also all gone before I could conduct my own taste-test. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the restaurant had saved the best till last, but it was a lot like ignoring the main news and flicking straight to the back page to check the sport.

In terms of overall editorial comment, the scoop on the Telegraph Hotel is mostly positive - it’s a terrific addition to Coventry’s accommodation offering, and with a bit of time and some menu finessing I can see it becoming a diners’ favourite, too...

Reviewed by Steve Adams.

The Telegraph Hotel is sited at 157 Corporation Street, Coventry, CV1 1GU Tel: 02475 262885