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.
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…
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