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Mahiki, Trailer Happiness and Kanaloa are testament to London’s appetite for all things tiki, but will they outlast the daddy of them all, Trader Vic's – a hula hideaway still going strong 50 years after it launched? The Beatles were yet to break America when this crazy Californian import first wowed London. Five decades on, Trader Vic’s Polynesian beachcomber kitsch, old-skool presentation and attentive staff
dressed like extras from South Pacific make for a pleasingly retro experience. A mainstream US/Asian menu boasts tender, meaty spare ribs lathered with BBQ sauce made to the ‘original 1972 recipe’
alongside crab and grapefruit salad, spicy tuna tartare and moreish ‘maui waui’ (sweet and spicy coconut shrimps with slaw), while mains include lobster with black bean sauce, crispy duck pancakes,
and a piquant curry of tender braised lamb. A wine list plays firm second fiddle to Vic's reasonably priced rum cocktails, served in fabulously tacky tiki mugs. Coffee liqueur digestifs are a must;
dancing to samba disco hits, performed by wedding reception-style combos, is optional.
There is something faintly ridiculous about celebrating Independence Day in the UK; it’s sort of like if the French started cracking out the bunting every year on the 18th June to commemorate Waterloo. (I know Independence Day is more about the actual Declaration than the prerequisite fighting, but it was still all very embarrassing.) The London food scene, however, isn’t going to ignore an opportunity to cash in on the city’s apparently unquenchable appetite for American cuisine – that’s slow-cooked barbecue, creamy dressings and heart-stoppingly indulgent desserts – which is how I found myself at venerable tiki...
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With the really hot weather in London this week, memories come flooding back of tropical paradises that I’ve visited, one of my favourites is the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui. So when invited to come along to Hilton's wonderful restaurant Trader Vic’s on Park Lane to sample a special Independence Day inspired menu I was off before you could say ‘Aloha’.You might think it strange for a true Brit to want to celebrate the 4th July, but we too can celebrate the event in which we finally had independence from the Americans. Joking aside, with wonderful food and a sound knowledge of making great Mai Tai cocktails,...
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Trader Vic’s are pushing out the boat, or should that be canoe, with their 4th July US Independence Day dinner. £49 per head with tasty barbeque treats from their amazing Chinese wood-fired ovens using an ancient cooking method dating back to the Han Dynasty. The ribs are delicious – and tasty, no need for the accompanying dips.
More from Man in London »
On Tuesday we celebrated a milestone, with one year of blogging, hooray! In the evening the celebrations continued visiting Trader Vic's a French-Polynesian restaurant located on London's Park Lane. This year is the 80th anniversary of Trader Vic's and the 70th anniversary of the Mai Tai, the cocktail synonymous with Trader Vic's around the world. So it was the perfect place to have a celebration...
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The Tiki Room is a flexible space which can be used for private parties and accommodates 40 for a sit down and 70 for a standing drinks reception.
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