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In a devastatingly handsome 1922 Lutyens-designed former bank, luxury bookstore Maison Assouline incorporates a café-cum-cocktail spot for its well-heeled readers. Carefully considered Saint Germain-des-Prés chic informs Swans Bar, a private library-like location for the more cerebral members of Generation Instagram. Prepped by Monsieur (très élégant in a white tuxedo), cocktails are suitably stylish propositions, but predictably pricey at £14.50: the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Rat Pack Manhattan and Hemingway Daiquiri. Try The Spirit of Seville (named after an Assouline publication): a cocktail whose key ingredients – claret, Calvados, and Grand Marnier – are more in the spirit of Assouline’s native France. Alternatively, order coffee, patisseries and luxe daytime snacks such as avocado, artichoke and sun-dried tomatoes (£15); soupe du jour; foie gras baguette; top-notch Spanish ham with fresh figs; or go the whole hog and sample the Royal Fillet Tolstoy, ‘the world’s most exquisite smoked salmon’, no less.
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