The Café Royal’s gilded, mirrored Grill Room offers a glorious reflection of luxe living, Louis XVI-style, and has recently been restored to its original burnished splendour as an upscale lounge. Sadly, new additions – uniform pumpkin-tone seating, a boorish bar that looks like a caterer’s makeshift dispense, tacky tea-lights and tedious Muzak – suggest an overspill room at a palatial wedding. Champagne and pukka piscine delights such as oysters, oscietra caviar and lobster cocktail deserve an ambience more sensual than this curiously frigid take on a luxury salon. The vibe may fall flat, but the drinks list is high on fizz – at a price: Pol Roger Brut is the entry-level option at £115 (including a tuna amuse-bouche that fails to excite, despite the fawning fanfare that announces it). With wines from £15 a glass and cocktails starting at £25, credit cards might take a bashing here.
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