Hard Shakes at the Oceanic, Radisson Blu:
There were a few moment when I regretted saying yes to the invitation from Radisson Blu to their new Oceanic Bar at the Heathrow Airport Hotel. I’d been on a rather fabulous but packed press trip all round Oxford, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire – and I was exhausted. I got home and dropped off the various brochures, samples and bags of flour (more of that later) that I’d picked up along the way and had to turn round and make my way out to Heathrow. At the airport I couldn’t find the taxi rank, or even the hotel hoppa bus. Of course I don’t use either normally and I have to say they are NOT well signed coming from central London!
In the end I found my way to the taxi rank and in 5 minutes I was at Radisson Blu. And, feeling a whole lot better very quickly. Sitting on a bar stool at the Oceanic bar and sipping a champagne cocktail, suddenly the world felt alright. And of course that’s the point of an airport hotel. To provide an environment so that no matter how stressed your journey has been to get there or how hectic the schedule is for the day ahead, you forget and relax. The bar is a large area, with very comfy seating, tv screens and enough space not to feel crowded or overwhelming. I’m useless at taking shots of interiors and slightly hesitant too, since I am generally there when the place is busy, so instead I’m using the hotel’s own photo here just to give you an idea of how relaxing the place is.
We were there to learn how to make ‘Hard Milkshakes’. American style milkshakes with a good slug of something naughty to give the drink a kick. The one above is the Rum and Oreo Cookie Crumble: Bacardi 8 yr old rum, vanilla ice-cream, crushed Oreo cookies, ginger syrup and a splash of guinness for luck.
My favourite was the Lemon cheesecake, which had a mixture of milk, limoncello and a digestive biscuit all wizzed up with some ice-cream to make a lush, lemony drink. Then on to try our hand at some American classic cocktails including the famous Vodka Martini, in our case a ‘dirty’ one, with a little olive brine.
The menu at the Oceanic bar is predominantly seafood and steaks. But cooked simply and well, that’s no bad thing for an airport hotel where people are likely to be travelling the next day and might want to avoid rich food. We started with a selection of their American style starter, including a creamy corn chowder and melting ribs. My main course was grilled lobster which came with salad and fries and was exactly what I wanted – easy, unfussy, healthy food (ok don’t look at the sauces!)
Across the table, the seafood linguine looked tasty and fresh, while steaks were well executed.
A selection of desserts were all great…but then what girl doesn’t like chocolate, cheesecake and ice-cream!
Finally, since we all need to know how to do this especially now that Skyfall is out…here’s the one cocktail everyone should be able to make!
How to make a Vodka Martini
1oz dry vermouth
½ oz olive brine (if you want a dirty martini!).
Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker half filled with cracked ice. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with an olive and serve.
It’s worth a visit if you need to stay around Heathrow or if you want to meet people who are flying into the airport and just have a few hours to kill.
Radisson Blu Edwardian,
140 Bath Road, Hayes,
Middlesex UB3 5AW