A visit to Mr Fogg’s Residence in Mayfair
Mr Fogg’s is a surreal place at the best of times. Wander down a dark and somewhat dingy alley that feels like it has no place in somewhere like Mayfair, and you’ll find an impeccably dressed man will be asking for your name. Assuming you’ve booked ahead, the grand if otherwise nondescript door will open and you’ll be taken into what can only be described as a room of curiosities.
Suitcases for tables, artefacts and faded sepia photos lining the wall – the theme is a Victorian-style explorers’ club. These kinds of bars can be a bit hit and miss at times: when they go wrong they’re often a whirlwind of tackiness and overcompensation that leaves you praying the theatrics end so you can just get a damn drink. Here though, the emphasis is still very much on being a classy, elegant bar, with the adventure elements thrown in more as a bit of character than a suffocating element that only seems appealing to PR personnel and Instagrammers.
The menu is relatively extensive and offers everything you’d expect, and a bit more. It is, for the most part, standard fare. Its classic drinks are solid and well mixed, excellent Negronis and the like. What really makes Mr Fogg’s interesting, though, is its often changing menu of specials and unique cocktails. Said Negroni gets something of an absurd twist, by having been launched into the upper reaches of the atmosphere in a special balloon designed by Bompas and Parr. What difference that will actually make to the taste is anyone’s guess – at times the mixture will have reached temperatures as low as -57, but the novelty certainly turns heads.
It’s hard to compete with that on sheer ridiculousness, but the special Old Kentucky Spiced currently on offer definitely does so on flavour. Arriving in a metal tankard, wrapped in an American flag and topped with a daintily sugar-dusted passion fruit, it’s no slouch in the looks department either. Fruity drinks have rightfully earned something of a mixed reputation: too often they’ll turn out to be a cloying, day-glo orange alcopop imitation, even in otherwise great bars. That, or the concentration is so high that you might as well put two measures of gin into a glass of squash and call it a day.
So we were relieved to find that this one, a mixture of passion fruit, ratafia, vanilla-infused bourbon and marsala wine is actually quite brilliant. Strong, punchy but still decidedly fruity, it treads that fine line between sweet and sickly with seeming ease. The bourbon is a great call too, lending the drink a touch of warmth that’s too often missing from cocktails made using clear spirits.
To book a table at Mr Fogg’s Residence, 15 Bruton Ln Mayfair London W1J 6JD, call 020 7036 0608 or visit here.