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Cocktails & Cupcakes at the Equus Bar

Published 20 October 2012

Steeped in history and with a location to die for, The Royal Horseguards Hotel is a must for anyone wanting to spend a luxurious night or two nestled in the heart of London.

The Royal Horseguards Hotel overlooks the Thames and sits quietly behind Whitehall Gardens in what is undoubtedly one of London’s most prestigious places, home to governmental departments and ministries. As soon as you walk through the front door, you know you’re going to be looked after at The Royal Horseguards. Both the staff and the interior are welcoming; this hotel is elegant and stylish from the get-go.

During the evening I spent there with the other guests, the main attraction was most definitely the Equus Bar: even if you’re not looking for a place to stay overnight, the bar is wonderful bit of London glamour within the hotel itself. We were treated to a special Cocktail & Cake Liquid Afternoon Tea menu, put together by head pastry chef Joanne Todd. It comprised a selection of unique treats conceived and made by the chefs themselves, and cocktails concocted by the (very!) lovely Adrian.

The canapés that I tried were delicious; my favourite being the Scottish smoked salmon on rye bread – a nice twist on the classic salmon starter. The parma ham with cheese, rocket and sun-dried tomato was pretty delectable as well.

The sweet treats came in a gorgeous array of colours and shapes – you know you’re in the presence of good quality food when it looks like a work of art, and these were no exception. Probably the most memorable was the beautifully pink and airy Strawberry Daiquiri macaroon, though a special mention should probably go to the cupcakes with violet-flavoured buttercream icing and passionfruit tapioca:

The cocktails we had were just as colourful as the desserts; as good cocktails ought to be. The Equus Bar offers classic cocktails as well as its own signature mixes: we were given two gin-based drinks to try, though I definitely preferred the velvety, apricot-infused Sir Mansfield-Cumming. The gin kick keeps it from tasting too sickly-sweet, and the glace cherry adds a lively drop of colour.

We were also given a brief tour of the hotel to take in the outside terrace and One Twenty One Two – the hotel’s restaurant. The building is also home to the National Liberal club, a place that exuded Victorian-style elegance but had a bit of a Freemason feel to it!

As well as its regular rooms, The Royal Horseguards has a selection of signature suits, and private dining spaces to host corporate events or wedding receptions. It’s a five-star hotel for good reason. Royal Horseguards is lavish and exclusive – but while I may be singing its praises, it is certainly not cheap. To give you an idea, the minimum price for an overnight stay is about £175. You can be sure, however, that you will be getting every inch of what you pay for.

At the end of October the Equus Bar will be rolling out their themed Hallowe’en Tea, which will be available from the 22nd October – 4th November. It’s also worth looking out for special events and menus running over the Christmas and New Year period. As for myself, if I’m ever in Whitehall again, I might just drop by to visit the Equus Bar and treat myself to more of their exquisite cocktails.