THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Swank is the first word that comes to mind. Art deco, red leather, blue velvet, vintage posters and a prominently displayed box of Havana cigars give the distinct flavour of the American bars of a bygone era. Le Magritte is about as New York as it gets this side of the pond. And the music is right up my tin pan alley! Jazz, mostly American songbook, had me doing the boogie woogie in my seat!
More often than not, I prefer to wet my whistle in a hotel rather than a bar or pub. It’s calmer, more comfortable and the hospitality far better. Such is the case here. The service is superb and the staff are dressed to the nines. Clearly accustomed to a highly discerning clientele, they somehow managed to cope with the likes of me! Perhaps my blonde companion gave me an air of distinction.
Of course it all comes at a price, but the quality is top. I was immediately presented with water, nocellara olives and smoky cashews. Cocktails at £20 a pop are complex and beautifully presented. Best of the bunch was the Empire of Light. Vida mescal, cocchi torino rosso, amaro averna and orange zest oil. A perfect match for one of those Havanas!
The bar “snacks” are fabulous. Truffled pizza with fresh cheese and coppa (£18) had a light, crispy crust. Char siu bao with shredded pork, salted carrot and coriander (£14 for 2) is a great mix of sweet, salt and spice. Whipped smoked tarama (£12) is creamy as can be and comes with fantastic seaweed crackers. Corn dogs with stout mustard (£9 for 2) brought me right back to Coney Island where I gorged on them as a child. They’re even better with booze! Quelle surprise! It was a veritable feast for which a side table was provided.
If I didn’t live here, I’d book a room!