Seeking sanctuary at the Sofitel London St James
Located a short walk from Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, in the dignified environs of centuries-old clubs and aristocratic institutions, the Coco Chanel inspired bar at the Sofitel London St James provides the perfect retreat from the bustle of the west end’s shopping and theatre districts.
This beautiful “snug” offers original vintage and signature cocktails, exclusive Champagnes or wines and an all-day bar menu served in a haven of 1920s elegance. Drop by this winter, and you have the chance to sample (at least) one of the unique cocktails from the “Once upon a time” menu created by the talented team of expert bartenders.
Taking inspiration from favourite fairy tales, legends and stories the team have produced magic potions which delight, amaze and entertain.
Served in a crystal goblet, Santine’s Dilemma is an indulgent mix of gin, rose syrup, plum bitters, lemon juice, grapes shrub topped with an amazing bitter foam which comes complete with an edible diamond and rose petal. In appearance, it’s irresistibly tempting and it tastes of liquid velvet. Both sweet and sour it perfectly captures the tensions between love and luxury experienced by the heroine of the Moulin Rouge.
For a glimpse of wonderland try the Crazy Tea Time, a subtle combination of herbal and citrus flavours. Taking Poire Williams eau de vie as a base alcohol, earthy, sweet Mastiha liqueur from Greece is combined with Maraschino liqueur, dry vermouth, sugar syrup, lemon juice and butterfly-pea flower tea. In a trick worthy of a magic show, the drink is transformed in front of your eyes from blue to purple and served in an illuminated glass tea-cup. This truly original drink held its own when paired with an excellent steak tartare, chosen from the St James Bar menu of delicious small plates, for a high-end take on High Tea.
Pure theatre is on offer if you order an Enchanted Rose. The drink itself is a delicious balance of sour and flower: vodka infused with red berries, framboise eau de vie fortified with white tea syrup, St Germain liqueur, bitters and rose water. But the presentation! Taking its cue from Beauty and the Beast the drink is served in a small rose-bowl shaped glass and presented under a smoke-filled glass dome complete with a red rose.
The collection was created by the bar team back in November and the decorative bar menu acknowledges both the creator and his inspiration. There are seven cocktails in the collection, all priced at £16.00. This is a cocktail experience like no other and the Sofitel management should be congratulated for putting their trust in this talented team and allowing their combined imagination to roam. I wonder where it will take them next?
Jenny was a guest of the St James Bar at the Sofitel London St James.