One of the best places in London for luxurious signature cocktails in elegant surroundings is the Polo Bar at The Westbury. With Art Deco inspired design, Fendi detailing and Swarovski Crystal lighting, it has a very opulent feel. Awarded London’s Bar of the Year 2014 by The London Lifestyle Awards, it has a prime location in the heart of Mayfair.
I was invited to sample their extensive cocktail list and bar menu, enlisting the help of my good friend Sylvia. She’s getting married in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast and it’s going to be amazing! Stepping through the door of the Westbury Hotel, you leave all the hustle and bustle of vibrant Conduit Street behind and enter a rarefied atmosphere that’s perfect for romantic dates, business meetings or a long overdue catch up with a friend. Our friendly waiter suggested that we start with two of the Polo Bar signature cocktails and recommended a couple of bar bites. There’s also a wide choice of salads, sandwiches and signature dishes on offer. It turns out that the Westbury hotel was created in 1955 by a polo playing family, the Phipps, hence the bar’s name.
Sylvia’s Pomegranate Deluxe Bombay Sapphire gin was shaken with elderflower, lemon and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice and topped up with Moët Brut NV. The flavours were perfectly balanced, with the sweet pomegranate offsetting the gin. It was also a visual delight, decorated with flecks of gold.
My Mayfair Gold Tanqueray gin was shaken with fresh lychees and elderflower, then splashed with Moët Brut Rosé NV. I loved the combination of delicate lychees and elderflower with the gin and rosé champagne. Not only did my drink also come decorated with those gold flecks, I even got a mini version of it! Apparently it’s really popular with guests who can offer it to their dining companions to try.
At this point the first of our bar bites arrived, basil pesto flavoured cones filled with a creamy goats cheese mousse, pear chutney and pink peppercorn. These were the perfect accompaniment to our cocktails, subtle enough not to overpower them yet flavourful enough that there wasn’t one remaining!
Sylvia’s orange infused G&T was equally refreshing. The Polo Bar’s manager, Elias Yiallouris, worked previously at Claridges and The Savoy, and if you tell him what you like then he or his staff will rustle up something special for you. They also do a great range of non alcoholic cocktails that won’t leave you feeling like you are missing out.
Our other bar bite was this delicious plate of king prawns coated in Panko breadcrumbs and served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. If you’re wondering what panko is, it’s breadcrumbs made without bread crusts, giving a crispier coating as it doesn’t absorb as much grease when cooking. We could certainly tell the difference as these prawns were light and worked really well with the sweet chilli sauce.
I ‘d love to return to The Westbury to try out their other restaurants, not only do they have an acclaimed sushi restaurant Tsukiji Sushi, but the jewel in their crown is Michelin starred Alwyn Williams at The Westbury. It’s a real hidden gem of a place and I’d highly recommend it.
Do you have a favourite signature cocktail? I’d love to hear your suggestions and recipes!
Polo Bar at The Westbury, 37 Conduit Street, London W1S 2YF