Quaglino’s is the definition of Mayfair swagger. Walking into the venue is like stepping foot straight into a scene from The Great Gatsby.
It’s no secret that Quaglino’s has a reputation for being cool. Celebrity guests, politicians and royals have all enjoyed visiting over the years and its recent refurb in 2014 saw a casual Prince Harry enjoy himself at the restaurant.
With that in mind, I strut down the stairs into the Quaglino’s lair and make my way to the bar.
The Q bar, which is circular, falls one line short of being in the shape of a’Q’ and lies at the bottom level of Quaglino’s a few tables away from a stage.
As a take a seat at one of the high chairs I’m tempted to order a martini, Ã¢â‚¬Å“shaken, not stirredÃ¢â‚¬Â to amuse myself.
One glimpse into the new Q bar menu and I’m reminded of my own personal record collection – Queen, Pink Floyd and Daft Punk to name a few. Bar manager and head mixologist, Federico Pasian is behind the curation of the 10 bottled cocktails.
With each taking inspiration from a classic cocktail, decisions are tricky. Colourful artworks grace the fronts of each bottle and guests are given the option to buy a single cocktail or the whole bottle.
Each page presents a song-themed-cocktail each with oddly accurate correlating ingredients.
The Sex Machine is a fusion of Johnnie Walker Black, Ruby Port, Fernet Branca and chocolate and cherry. James Brown himself would be screaming after a few of these. It sounded a bit too sexy for me.
I decide to order Queen’s Somebody To Love cocktail which I’m told by the barman is the perfect aperitif. Waiting for the first drink to appear takes no time at all as the cocktails are pre-made and bottled.
As unconventional as pre-made bottled cocktails sound, my first drink is perfectly fresh and crisp. The bar tender adds a dash of soda to my mix and voila!
The Q bar is perfectly lined up to the stage at Quaglino’s, and as I decide on my second cocktail, a man starts to set up microphone stands for the evening performance. Quaglino’s are famous for their live music so it’s no wonder the new menu takes inspiration from such musical greats.
Speaking of musical greats, my next cocktail is the London Collins inspired by The Clash’s London Calling.
A blend of Tanqueray gin, dry vermouth, Chinotto Liquor, Kalamansi, peach, vanilla and lastly Camomile tea. Nothing screams anarchy more than a calming tea blend right?
All together the cocktail comes together with a fruity and floral finish and comes served in a lovely 1920s cocktail glass.
Taking the last sips of my punk-rock cocktail my stomach rumbles and food comes to mind.
The founder of Quaglino’s is Italian so I’m happy to find arancini, truffley treats, feta-stuffed peppers and other nibbly bits on the menu.
The bar snacks are developed by Executive chef, Nuno Goncalves and give guests a chance to sample the food of Quaglino’s without distracting from the cocktails.
There are sharing plates of charcuterie and cheese but I stick to the hot snacks along with some buttery nocellara olives.
The arancini came in small and powerful bite-sized balls, each bit cheese-heavy and indulgent. I continued the cheese theme by following with some parmesan and truffle fries which came with truffle mayonnaise.
Liberal shavings of black truffle not only sat at the top of the fries but sat wedged deep into the dish. Sometimes it’s the small details that make the biggest difference.
Overall I leave Quaglino’s perfectly satisfied and excited to revisit the Q Bar. It’s certainly an odd concept to have a cocktail poured from the bottle but there’s certainly no fault in the taste. Even better, they come much faster.