The Mandarin Oriental is a flash hotel. It houses flash restaurants, is visited by flash guests and has probably got some pretty flash room service going on. It is also home to the Mandarin Bar, which is, obviously, one hell of a flash bar.
The Mandarin Bar is what all bars should be, dark and moody with a cocktail list that never ends. The website says it’s ‘unbelievably cool’ which is mildly annoying, but even more so when they’re right. It really is that cool.
The List: It’s a book it really is. It’s bound in leather for crying out loud. I’d estimate this ‘list’ comprised around ten pages of cocktails. Not only that, the drinks this magical book of wonderment speaks of are unusual as can be, with a huge range of combinations to try. Each has a handy picture of the shape of glass it’s served in beside it, which is probably useful for those macho types who don’t want to end up touting around an embarrassing lady drink.
After much deliberation we went for the usual fruity little number, (strawberry to be precise) and the weird choice; one which sounded like a good cure for a cold, which included lemon, chilli and ginger. As you can see I can’t remember the name of either drink…
The drinks arrived made me wow out loud. Look at them. They are the supermodels of the cocktail world. They belong on a catwalk, not in a bar being guzzled by the likes of me. Yet they are more than merely decorative. The strawberry concoction tasted of fresh fruit and sweetness with an alcoholic kick that merely hinted at the strength of the drink. These are the danger drinks, you know the ones. They taste of fizzypop and juice and sweeties, yet before you know it you’re on the floor in a heap wondering where it all went wrong. But before that happens, they are wonderful.
The Verdict: Best. Cocktails. Ever. And they needed to be as they were upwards of £15 per drink (+ service).