Less OOT than the opulent Oscar Wilde Bar (formerly the Grill Room), the refurbished Hotel Café Royal’s second lounge/bar draws inspiration from the hotel’s famous ‘cocktail book’ (dating from 1937): £14 buys pisco sour and pink lady among a cast of ‘timeless’ classics, while the selection entitled ‘something new’ might feature picante d’orient (Fifty Pounds gin, ginger and figs with chilli, lemon and egg white). Champagne cocktails abound, and signature absinthe fountains are a reminder of the hotel’s decadent heyday: look for heady names such as Parisienne 68, Bohemian 70 or Esprit Eduard 72. Meanwhile, wines by the glass go well with tuna tartare, foie gras burgers, beef carpaccio, spiced Cornish crab salad with quail’s egg, croque monsieur and toasted ‘pain du bois’ sandwiches. Monochromatic art-deco lines and subtle neon flash set the tone, with a horseshoe-shaped, gunmetal bar dominating the scene.
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