The Connaught Bar’s Martini Trolley
Published 15 June 2011
I was invited to a gathering of bloggers at The Connaught hotel in London by Travel Onion. I had heard about the refurbishment at The Connaught and had always wanted to set foot inside, so I excited RSVPed for the event!
Plus, who could resist the offer of one of The Connaught Bar’s signature martinis from their famous martini trolley, and canapes designed by two Michelin starred chef, Hélène Darroze?
Just around the corner from Berkeley Square in Mayfair, its hard to miss The Connaught, as its been lovingly restored and refurbished and looks stunning from the outside. There’s also this new, big modern water feature (I think its a fountain, but I was told it is a water feature!) just outside the main entrance.
It was then that I realised by business casual attire of smart jeans and a tie-less shirt was probably still too casual for this place.
Inside, its as every bit as luxurious as one would expect from one of the top hotels in London. I made my way to The Connaught Bar, at the side of the hotel, which had a very relaxed atmosphere. Almost the antithesis of most hotel bars, which have cheap leather sofas and garish colours.
The Connaught Bar was spacious to provide more privacy between tables, and yet still seemed very cosy and friendly like a gentlemen’s club. There’s even a special side entrance to The Connaught Bar, which I’m told is frequently used by local residents who use this bar as their local.
It wasn’t long before the famous black lacquered martini trolley came around to our table. Carefully prepared, each martini includes home made bitters that you can add to give it a “twist”:
We ordered three different types at our table, and watched while the expert mixologist went about his business, using the best ingredients such as double frozen ice cubes and Tanqueray 10, providing a very well blended and smooth flavour.
Personally, the best one was the Cardamon martini, adding some warmth and a bit of kick at the end of each sip. The one that didn’t go so well as the vanilla – as it made the martini a bit too sweet, almost alcopop-y.
To go with our martinis, we had a selection of canapes, specially designed by two Michelin starred Hélène Darroze, who is the head chef at The Connaught. Highlights included the tempura style prawns in filo strings with curry powder, and wage beef and foie gras nigri sushi.
I could probably never afford to dine or drink at The Connaught on a regular basis (or even more than once a year!), but one can hope and it definitely is a very interesting hotel and bar, full of character that you don’t necessarily get with other top hotels who have gone the modern route and stripped all the history away from their building.