Cocktails. The perfect end to an endless week. I was chomping at the bit to get out of the office on Friday - not because I've fallen out of love with work (I still find my job rather intriguing) but because I was so looking forwards to ending up at the Gilbert Scott Bar in the St. Pancras Hotel.
The design is a bit divisive - you either love it or hate it. A vast Gothic fantasy, it towers over Euston Road like a ghostly character from an Edward Gorey book. It's an eccentric building, imposing and cathedral-like on the outside but with a richly decorated interior, an appropriately decadent backdrop for elegantly pickling your liver. The building was recently zhushed up in a multi-squillion (ok that could be an exaggeration) redevelopment, reopening a few months ago. I may now be biased, but I do think the Gilbert Scott Bar is the jewel in the crown.
Fantastic thing #1: The bar food is provided by chef Marcus Wareing, who runs the adjacent restaurant. We were heading off for dinner elsewhere but nibbled on deliciously fresh and crisp Southwold fried whitebait, served with a chunky, spiced ketchup.
Fantastic thing #2: The decor is out of this world. There's a 1930s vibe layered over the original Victorian grandeur. The lighting is low, the bar staff are handsome, and the expensive zhushing has been subtle but effective. I was very taken by the giant gilded bells that hang from on high as light features.
Fantastic thing #3: (And most importantly), the cocktails are utterly delicious. This is possibly the best way to spend a spare tenner in London if you are in need of some TLC.
We tried a Doctor Kermann (lillet, Amer Picon, Appleton 8 yrs, Ricard, quinine and grapefruit) which was tart and perfect for bringing me back to life after a long day. But my favourite was the Sea Buckthorn Shrub (Bacardi superior, sea buckthorn, mint, lime, yellow Chartreuse and blackberry) - a creamy, luxurious blend of citrussy flavours, alternating between sharp, aromatic and a deceptive smoothness. I say deceptive because we were very jolly when we left.
The cocktail menu changes regularly so these may not be around for long so catch them while you can...