Review – “The Luggage Room” (Shhh.. it’s a secret)
The Luggage Room
Grosvenor Square, London
11th December 2012
After the second circuit of Grosvenor Square, I was just about to give up hope. All we had was a postcode and a name. The Luggage Room. Nothing about the Square was giving up the secret of where this new bar might be.
After turning the corner to The Marriott Hotel, we decided, someone at concierge may be able to point us in the right direction. It was cold, we were late, it was our last hope.
Ironically, a coach pulled up and around 16 black suitcases began flying out the hold, picked up and wheeled through the glass doors. We burst into fits of laughter.. “here’s the luggage room” we joked.
The doorman who had been keen to help us only 5 seconds ago was now quiet and cagey at the words “Luggage Room”, looking thoughtfully at us, holding back a wry smile. “Hmm.. The Luggage Room?” he questioned, in response to ours, as if we were twisting his arm of a secret he wasn’t supposed to tell. “It’s media only tonight”.
“Yes, that’s us!” Girl About Town sang back to him. He vaguely pointed us back outside towards the unloading coach. “Through the door Ladies”.
Back outside we searched for the door. Small, unnasumming and insignficant looking, i would have gone unnoticed were it not for the words “Luggage Room”, faintly etched in stone above it.
The door opened into a dimly lit corridor and our beautiful and elegantly dressed hostess. She pulled back the curtain at the end of the hallway. It reminded me of the curtains you get at the end of an aeroplane, the ones that separate first class from coach. I was not disappointed. What lay behind the curtain was First Class luxury indeed, an intimate London cocktail bar, a treasure secretly tucked away in the heart of Mayfair.
Inspired by the infamous Bentley Boys, turning heads in glamorous Mayfair back in the 1920’s. the lighting is low, the ambience warm and inviting, and the decor elegant. Rich chocolatey brown wall panelling, bar and fixtures, with the accent of silver here and there. Exquisite attention to detail had been paid to deliver this level of 1920’s glamour. From the smokey tones of the jazz songstress heard softly in the background, to the bar and waiting staff uniforms. Tartan breeches and braces for the boys, elegant black flapper dresses for the girls. I almost imagined myself aboard the Orient Express. All I needed was a cigar.. and a single malt whiskey.
I opened the drinks menu and soon forgot about the whiskey. The cocktails are delicate and quintessently English in nature, all raspberry and elderflower and reasonably priced too for the City at around £12.50.
Abdul the bar manager joined us to guide us through the menu – which he had personally designed. A dapper chap in a sharp suit, with a touch of Will.I.Am about him, he walks us through the food and drink. My attention is drawn to the “Bentley Cup”, on offer for a mere £120, and so he explains that there is only one Bentley Cup in the bar, pointing to a table in the corner of the room. Enough for 4 – 6 people sharing.. only one table can hold the Bentley Cup of an evening. I’m saddened that I’ll not be trying the Bentley Cup, with ingredients such as “Marmalade Vodka” and “English Tea”. Perhaps next time. I try the Cobbler and it arrives in a silver engraved cup. I feel truly transported back in time. The Blue Cheese and bread arrives. It’s to die for.
Abdul informs us that this indeed used to be the luggage room for the hotel, and as talks my eyes wander. I notice the level of detail that has gone into this bar, the walls are reminiscent of a 1920’s suitcase I bought for my sisters birthday some years back. Dark panelling up to the middle height of the room, edged with studding, whereafter a creamy satin fabric finish up to the ceiling… It was if we were sitting in a giant-sized port-manto.