I’m sure you’ll agree, London transport can send you over the edge sometimes. So when it took me more than two hours, yes TWO hours to get from my apartment in Brixton, to Polo Bar at The Westbury Hotel in Mayfair, it’s fair to say I wasn’t in the best of moods.
It was the lead up to Chelsea Flower Show and there were gas works going on in Sloane Square. Had I known this, I most definitely wouldn’t have taken the bus all the way to the West End. I would have hopped on the tube, of course.
But I had a bit of time and fancied popping into Selfridges. I’d have a half hour or so to window shop and then plenty of time to have a relaxed walk from there to the luxurious The Westbury Hotel in Mayfair. But oh no – the buses were on diversion and I was in a gridlock in the middle of Chelsea. My 7 o’clock date with my friend Laura and a couple of Polo Bar signature cocktails were looking increasingly unlikely.
But to cut a very long story short, I made it! After a mad dash along the Chelsea Embankment (in heels) in the pouring rain, and a sprint to the tube at Pimlico, I made it through the shiny doors and into this relaxing cocktail lounge on New Bond Street.
After I’d got my rant over about my two hour journey and wiped my rain-fuzzy hair off my face, I realised this was a lovely place.
For starters, the manager, Elias, was incredibly cheery and a delight to meet. He took us through Polo Bar’s signature cocktails and advised we started with some of their newest tipples, all based on homemade infused gins.
Of course, we obliged, and after deliberating over some delectable sounding varieties (from blackberry and hibiscus tea to fennel and star anise) I opted for the deliciously sounding cinnamon, clove and vanilla infusion, served with classic tonic.
The lovely thing about Polo Bar’s lovely gin infusions is they’re presented very elegantly. The waiter brings over a little glass pot containing the gin and a capsule of the infusion, which he or she then pours into your glass. You then add the tonic to taste.
It was absolutely delicious. The creamy vanilla pod mellowed down the spice from the cinnamon and clove, but allowed it to be just about present enough to add a warming tingle on the tongue.
My friend Laura had the rose infused gin which was sprinkled with dried rose petals. And at first, I couldn’t ignore its likening to my mum’s pot pourri. But it was certainly fragrant and a novel and refreshing way to enjoy an otherwise sometimes over-familiar spirit.
If you visit Polo Bar, DO try the bar bites. The smoked salmon cones (filled with London salmon, creme fraiche, aquitaine caviar and chives) and the goats cheese cones (filled with basil pesto, goats cheese mousse, pear chutney and pink peppercorn) were an absolute delight. But the panko crusted king prawns with sweet chilli dip were out of this world. These prawns are the kinds of nibbles you can eat and eat and eat and still want more. They were that good.
Things began to get even more exciting when we realised Polo Bar served a gold (yes GOLD) infused short cocktail.
If you don’t get this for the bling factor, get it for the most fantastic punchy, fruity flavour.
Like lychee? You’ll love the Mayfair Gold. It’s gin-based, mixed with elderflower, lychee and hundreds of pieces of gold. Oh, and if you spotted this on instagram, you’ll see the lovely staff also provide you with a miniature version. So if your guest doesn’t order it, they won’t get cocktail envy because they can sip on yours.
Transport woes, running in the rain and frizzy hair had by now, become a distant memory. With its incredibly charming staff, classic but luxe surroundings and ever so pretty drinks, my mood had transformed. That’s the power of a really good cocktail lounge….
…and being able to end the night with chocolate gateau cones and a really nice cup of tea. (Because I’m not that rock ‘n’ roll).
Until next time x
Thank you to Polo Bar for hosting Oh So London as part of this review. All views are my own. By the way, Polo Bar is teaming up with OneOcean Club in Barcelona this summer. Their pop up bar will be there for a week from 26 August so if you’re in Barcelona then, do pay them a visit.
The Westbury Hotel, Bond Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2YF