July 25, 2011

Shake the Base – Cocktails at the Waldorf Astoria Syon Park

By In Cocktails, Tasting Reports
cocktail_2 atthe waldorf astoria syon parkFourteen Fucking Quid for a cocktail?! Sorry for the swearing; I generally dislike such language in blog posts (sorry Old Parn) but on this occasion I think it rather justified.

I don’t mind splashing out once in a while; I’ve been known to indulge at the champagne bar at St. Pancaras and overdo things somewhat at Bob Bob Ricard but there does have to be a modicum of value involved. Charging fourteen pounds for a little drink seems overly excessive. Not that, on this occasion, I actually handed over the cash for this was an evening at the Waldorf Astoria Syon park supposedly to showcase the hotels wonders.
The bar – Peacock Alley – can call on the hotel’s substantial herb garden, it is the size of my living room for goodness sake, with its abundance of produce; like the three types of mint which were muddled to perfection in a mojito.

The barman indulged us in a little demonstration – using a base liquid he conjured up an array of cocktails that were so diversely different in taste it was almost magic. “Shake the base” he kept saying, “Shake the base”. This – shaken – base mix comprising mainly Cointreau and Grand Marnier had, as an addition, champagne or lightly oaked chardonnay, red wine or Provencal rosé or Port added, to magically create totally unique flavour profiles. These were described as so new they were unnamed and not yet listed on the cocktail menu.
Pictured first is the opening drink, a Green Peacock, based on Midori Melon and Cucumber. The half-drunk glass at the bottom is the base mix with Champagne added and just below, the same base, but shaken with red wine, producing an interesting sangria type drink. Being a bubble-lover the champagne version was perhaps my favourite, the Chardonnay version a close second. They both had such differing and wonderful aromatics and layers of flavour.

cocktail 1 atthe waldorf astoria syon park
cocktail 3 at the waldorf astoria syon park

Do I mention the reasons why the rest of the visit is not included in this post? Why we failed to see inside the greenhouse eatery (we really should have eaten in there), which was reached via an expanse of weed strewn mud, why we failed to experience the ‘joys’ of the bird-song filled walkway, saw up-close a room, why the sommelier wasn’t present, why for a tasting menu of nine courses there were only two wines and why we only received six dishes (of minute size) of the promised nine, why the dishes were served in crockery so annoyingly small and awkward that they tipped over, why the table service was shoddy in the extreme, why I had to ask for the mojito cocktail glasses to be removed two thirds of the way through the meal, why the first course and (superb) side bread was brought out to us while standing in the wasteland when hands were fully occupied holding freezing mojito’s…

The cocktails, though were stellar, until I asked the price…

cocktail 4 at the waldorf astoria syon park

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Top :: Comments

  1. Greg Baker July 25, 2011

    Interesting, this Waldorf Astoria is but a 5 minute walk from home, but I’ve yet to visit. I’ve heard of some bad experiences at afternoon tea and lunch, am mindful to delay my visit further after this!
    Such a shame it’s not up to scratch, but they clearly have not invested in any decent staff training yet!

  2. Jeanne @ CookSister! July 25, 2011

    Nice pics – considering the lighting conditions! That chardonnay cocktail was my utter, total favourite but yes, the cocktails in general were superb (on somebody else’s tab!). The meal was… odd. You’ll see my opinions in my post on Wed…

  3. wine_scribbler July 25, 2011

    For a five star the staff – while lovely, smiling, helpful people – just haven’t had the training. But there were other issues that set the evening apart from what was expected. I am sure others who were there will have their own opinions

  4. Ritchie July 26, 2011

    Wonderful pictures Andy!

  5. wine_scribbler July 26, 2011

    yeh, not bad 😉


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