I, for one, am very pleased with this trend of chic cocktail bars in London. For some reason, cocktail bars seem to have taken off in the finer hotels of London. As cocktails originated in America, it’s not too surprising it’s in the luxury hotels (all those trans-Atlantic businesspeople) and it’s great to see them getting their fair dues on this side of the pond.
I was invited to sample the wares of the new Bar 45, part of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant Cut, at the 45 Park Lane Hotel. As it’s Puck’s restaurant, the bar snack menu, called Rough Cuts, bears the influence of Puck’s Southern California stylings with Kobe beef sliders and tuna tartare “tacos”. Both of which were fantastic, the cute little kobe sliders so full of beefy goodness and the tuna tartare had to be one of the silkiest tartares I’ve had in a long time.
As for the cocktails, they have a varied choice, grouped under the spirit being used and with some fanciful ingredients. Ranging from jalapenos for the Dragon’s Fire tequila based cocktail to Japanese Umebosi plums for the Umami Cocktail. I didn’t order it as I wasn’t feeling very umami-ish that evening but perhaps next time. I did order Pepino’s Revenge which despite being made with tequila and lime bore no resemblance whatsoever to a margarita. It was probably the basil and Japanese cucumber that threw me off. I love basil and this was just such a yummy cocktail, I felt like I was swimming in basil, a good thing if you like basil.
Of course, I ordered the obligatory Manhattan. I have to say, London’s cocktailers have vastly improved their Manhattan offerings and it’s rare that I have to send a Manhattan back nowadays. Bar 45’s was delish, made with Maker’s Mark and on the rocks, just the way I like it.
The bar is not just cocktails, they also serve the wines from the restaurant list. The Head Sommelier Vanessa Cinti is Italian but she was imported by Puck from his Aspen, Co. restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton (where she served as sommelier for 6 years) to head up the wine team for 45 Park Lane. Vanessa is originally from Turin and is currently studying at the Court of Master Sommeliers. Here in London she has made it her mission to have the largest list of American wines in the UK. She is currently sourcing more and different American wines for the list and judging by the quick peek that I had, she already has over between 200 -250 on the list. She most likely already has more then enough to qualify as having the most American wines on a restaurant list and is adding more wines that will only be available exclusively at Cut.
I’m certainly going to have to do a more extensive study of the wine list on my next visit.
Bar 45 is open from 12 noon – 12:30 am but if you are a guest of the 45 Park Lane Hotel or dining in Cut, they’ll stay open til 3am for you, not bad on Park Lane.