St James Bar’s Passport menu: An exhilarating round-the-world cocktail adventure
In our bar wanderings across London, St James Bar has offered one of the most creative signature cocktail lists in London, with concepts realised from the menu to the presentation to the rocking flavours. Therefore, we wanted to put their new concept, Passport, to the test. Promising to take guests on an unforgettable trip around the world, the latest menu, which will be available until 31st October 2020, comprises tipples that evoke both faraway countries and the UK’s neighbouring ex-colleagues from the EU.
As soon as we take a seat on one of the plush emerald sofas, the bars menu waits for us, together with a passport-shaped cocktail list. Each of the concoctions has a dedicated page, with picture, stamp, short description, and a QR code that takes you to an Instagram video of the drink’s preparation.
Heaven Howler marks the beginning of our journey, with Iceland as the first stop. Award-winning gins such as Himbrimi Old Tom and Martin Miller’s Westbourne Dry – distilled with the country’s best waters – blend aromatically with herbal homemade liqueurs and pale ale to give a full-bodied drink with a slightly bubbly but strong character. In comparison, and contrary to our expectations, La Bandera takes longer to kick in. Putting tequila and mezcal in the same Aztec-themed cup, this concoction has some fruity aftertaste, diluted with green roasted apple soda, and given some creamy texture from the avocado liqueur.
The original tipples find a perfect companion in the food creations by chef Anthony Demetre, from next door Wild Honey. The Tempura of Cod is a tender bite, but the real showstopper is the St James Dirty Burger: once you have worked through the squashy bun, the succulent meat fully gratifies the palate. For a sweet nibble, the short but intense dessert selection leaves us with an embarrassment of choice. The warm chocolate soup is a luscious creamy pleasure, encountering its equal only in the pure honeycomb on top of ice cream that gives Wild Honey its name. Inside the cracking crust, the choux bun reveals a whipped cream heart that nicely marries with the quince compote.
The spirit-travelling around the globe continues with a citrusy tipple from Greece. For Chasing the Sun, Beluga Noble Vodka and olive oil are frozen together, getting rid of the fatty element of the oil to leave a creamy texture in the spirit, which is then mixed with oregano, a pinch of salt and roots mastic liqueur. The result is an elaborate drink with the subtlety of a refreshing juice. More daring with the spices, but well worth the risk, is the Thai leg, Megong. Its presentation, with the copper julep cup inserted in a tiny reproduction of a Buddhist temple, plays a big part in its appeal. Mekhong Thai Spirit meets Koko Kanu coconut rum, and – in combination with lime juice, Earl Grey Tea and spicy syrup – makes for piquant sips, sifted and refreshed through crushed ice.
The bar’s gin and whiskey offerings are another chapter. The list of glasses available boasts prime and special spirits from both categories. Particularly interesting, among many highlights, is the Anty Gin. Born from a collaboration between the Nordic Food Lab and the Cambridge Distillery, it is produced using formic acid from red wood ants, which serve as a powerful agent during the distillation. Another neat with all to savour is the Ailsa Bay Single Malt. Preserving the floral notes of lowland whisky, there is a smoky finish in this variety that satisfies wonderfully.
Even on repeated visits, St James Bar doesn’t fail to charm. The imaginative signature cocktails are an exciting adventure every time, together with a remarkable drinks list from the bar and an elegant atmosphere that perfectly envelop the experience.
★★★★★Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
To book a table at St James Bar, 6 Waterloo Place London SW1Y 4AN, call 020 7389 7820 or visit their website here.