His mantelpiece may be festooned with awards from food critics but according to chef Richard Corrigan, he is “no bartender”. Smart then, at the new jazzy postmodern hunting lodge-cum-cocktail lounge at his eponymous restaurant, to rope in someone who most definitely is: Gregory Buda, the similarly feted creative force behind New York watering hole The Dead Rabbit, voted the World’s Best Bar in 2016.
Using seasonal fresh ingredients brought over daily from Corrigan’s farm in Northern Ireland, Buda's earthy drinks list – at distinctly Mayfair prices – is strong on homemade tinctures and sodas, and Irish whiskies. We are utterly convinced by The Professional Stalker, a Powers John’s Lane 12-year-old single pot-still Irish whiskey, Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, fig, allspice and bitters Manhattan; spellbound by Fairy Port, a Tequila, rhubarb, Aperol and Pisco fancy, but not so enamoured of Gin & Blackberry, a house highball that, despite its pepper and cardamom notes, is at the Ribena end of the sour-to-sweet spectrum.
Tasty bar snacks range from ladylike Cornish crab on weeny brioche, and mini oyster croque monsieur, to a hefty portion of five smoked ham hock and black pudding croquettes, to our amusement, earnestly described by an enthusiastic staff member as ‘basically, broken-down pig’.