Head here if… you want a bit of glitz and old-fashioned glamour
The Art Deco setting is just the ticket if you’re looking for somewhere slick and stylish to take your parents for a treat, or if you’re an older drinker seeking a quiet but sophisticated spot to imbibe.
First Things First
To say The Ritz is iconic is something of an understatement, it’s been around for over 100 years. We pitched up at 4pm, but it could easily have been 10.30pm, such is the timelessness of the place. It’s dark, cosy and intimate with a decadent Deco vibe, thanks to lots of backlit Lalique plaques, leopard print upholstery and a fabulous gold scallop shell ceiling. Being The Ritz, it was packed, mainly with women: some of a certain age, others just out for a bit of glamour but all having fun ordering everything from champagne to tea and, very happily, glorious cocktails.
Ms S was more than a little charmed with Alan, the host with the most who worked the room like a pro. Every guest is special as far as he’s concerned and he happily offers advice as and when it’s needed. He recommended the The Ritz Melody (Bacardi, Midori, lemon juice, Cointreau, melon garnish) as the Signature and Ms S was happy to let him take charge. When it arrived the drink was a symphony of flavours: sweet, sour, tangy, refreshing and delicious – very girly and a real delight.
If anywhere was going to do ‘The Classic’ it really ought to have be The Ritz. Well, they delivered. It looked good: tall thin, long stemmed, very elegant glass, with a discreet little, curly twist of lemon. It smelt good: the Noilly Prat vermouth sprayed over the glass with an atomiser. It tasted sooooooo good: Tanqueray No Ten front and centre, the Noilly Prat adding a little warm, sweetness in the background. A classic cocktail at a classic venue (but then maybe it should be good at £18…)
There are certain bars that have drinks on the menu that shout out “Try me, I am different”. Mr G saw Balsamic Martini and that was, quite simply, that. Balsamic vinegar reduced to a sweet and syrupy texture and carefully poured, with a straw, in four lines down the inside of a martini glass. Filled almost to the brim with ice cold vodka and there we were – Balsamic Martini. Perhaps not the best choice for 4.30 in the afternoon (post lunch and pre soufflé) but as a sharp aperitif we could see it working very well. Ms S was slightly alarmed by the colour of her Basil Daquiri but she had nothing to worry about, this was a truly tip-top drink, despite looking like some kind of liquid superfood. The delightfully fresh basil proved to be the perfect accompaniment for the rum and, served with crushed ice, was more than a match for its cousin the Mojito.
And to eat?
It’s top end all the way. That even goes for the nuts, olives and cheese straws. Everything is delicious and regally served on a silver platter. And they kept on coming. And coming. There was also that soufflé but that’s another story.
Look out for
The whole package. Smallish room, big on Deco. Just four seats at the bar. Backlit Lalique plaque on the wall. Soft music. Lights dimmed down at 4pm. Nice and moody. The menu does class and surprisingly modern in equal measure.
What’s the damage?
All cocktails £17, all champagne cocktails £18.
Ms S says:
It’s easy to see why so many women look and feel so comfortable here (and don’t go thinking it’s a pick-up joint – we didn’t get that impression at all). The service is attentive, the setting is Hollywood glam – perfect for meeting the girls, an elegant date or enjoying a cocktail on your own.
Mr G says:
You would hope to get an outstanding classic cocktail at The Ritz (and you do) but what’s surprising is the choice of very creative and contemporary concoctions also on offer. Worth putting on the obligatory tie for.