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Heroes and villains is an overused theme that’s again trotted out at this glitzy if soulless hotel bar. Detective Inspector Smith (a 1920s sleuth and poor man’s Poirot) and gentleman-scoundrel Mr Whistle – both characters created by ad company MBC – provide the inspiration. The potentially glorious Palm Court Bar has been refurbished by owners Starwood Hotels to produce this trite take on a Jazz Age cocktail lounge. Ponder how to improve the look while munching on bar food of devilled whitebait, pork brawn and piccalilli, or beer-battered fish fingers, chips and mushy peas (£10.50). Curious Brew lager is on tap (from Chapel Down Winery), plus various good Scottish beers, while £10 cocktails include Mayfair Mystery (Absolut vodka, Jägermeister, Szechuan pepper honey, elderflower and chilli). You’ll also find 1920s gin classic, Bee’s Knees, incorrectly made with Tequila, goats’ cheese, pork crackling syrup and plum wine – a criminal way to wet your Whistle.
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