The Long Bar in Fitzrovia: A mesmerising design and delectable snacks overshadow the cocktails
The Long Bar at the Sanderson Hotel is nothing short of mesmerising. Hanging plants, decadent foliage and a chic outdoor fountain with greenery feature around the main protagonist of the venue: an 80-foot bar. The overall atmosphere is one of quiet elegance, but they recommend a visit on Wednesdays and weekends, when DJ residencies promise a groovy programme, as well as Thursdays for live music.
The menu is dominated by two lists: the Sanderson Cocktails – the all-time favourites – and the Signature Cocktails – the most innovative concoctions. From the latter selection, we choose the French Touch to kick off our tasting. This sparkling drink perfectly balances the sweet and sour notes from the fig liqueur and lime, the fruity tones delicately blended with Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne. In the same register is Stranger Things, another aromatic tipple with a base of Tanqueray No Ten gin, smoothly spiced up by Domaine de Canton ginger, carrot and sherry.
In the meantime, we are served some of the tastiest bar snacks we’ve tried so far. The pulpy Salmon Tataki is enriched by mango salsa and avocado, while intense gorgonzola flavour is condensed in the Crispy Gnocchi. The tender meat of the Buttermilk Chicken is covered by a coating of sweet crumble. The soft Truffle Choux is paired nicely with the succulent Grilled Octopus, creating an interesting contrast. Last but not least, the Merguez Sausages prove an equally appetising bite to accompany the drinks.
The gin and tonic option, The Botanist, is a little disappointing. Introduced as an edgy creation refreshingly flavoured by the bitter orange and elderflower tonic water, the result is actually quite mild and the Cointreau blood orange foam doesn’t deliver the longed-for eye-catching presentation.
Our highlight comes instead from the classic list, the Sanderson Cocktails. From here, we pick the Chocolate Old Fashioned, a good toast to Old Fashioned week, which is running until 10th November. The drink is characterised by a pleasing chocolate aftertaste, created by four different bitters – the one we can taste in particular is the Aztec Chocolate by Fee Brothers. The Monkey Shoulder whisky, together with the ten-year-old Laphroaig and lemon zest, create a robust and gratifying concoction.
With impressive, sleek interior design, the Long Bar could do more with the cocktails. The London bar scene is arguably the world’s most competitive and places like this should offer a list with a vision that matches the standing of its setting and price tag. The fine quality of the ingredients used and the dainty dishes, though, make for an enjoyable night.
★★★★★Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
To book a table at The Long Bar, 50 Berners Street Fitzrovia London W1T 3NG, call 020 7300 5588 or visit their website here. DJs perform on Wednesday evenings and weekends, and a saxophonist and DJ perform on Thursday evenings.