The Tea Den @ Opium, Chinatown

Type of Bar: Pop UpBar/Restaurant, Chinese, Speakeasy, Lounge
Damage££
Ideal for: TeaFood, DateSmall Groups

Okay. Seriously. Forget what else is happening on Afternoon Tea Week 2015 (10th-16th August) – your butts should be at Opium Chinatown.

 

We’ve reviewed Opium Chinatown before (Click HERE for Review!), but this week they will be working alongside The London Tea Club, and lifestyle brand, Oblique.

The London Tea Club, spread across Europe and North America, supply members with teas every month matching their flavour profile – perfect for the tea buff – have supplied Opium with a share of some of their most popular teas to construct a spectacular tea-infused cocktail list for Afternoon Tea Week (though the Hoodooist says that they should be permanent cocktails on the Opium menu).

 

Tucked away in the deep red corridors of Opium, beyond the Jade Door on Gerrard Street, find yourself present with 5 magical cocktails, named after the tea used in the concoction:

 

Opium Chinatown Afternoon Tea Week Den Dim Sum Cocktail

The Antique Rose

A major hit of the night (with one friend drinking three of them exclusively), the Antique Rose: Absolut Elyx vodka infused with Antique Rose tea, with Cocchi Americano Rosa and orange oil.

A beautiful, beautiful twist on the vodka Martini, the nose is alluring and primarily the Rosa’s berries and florals (lavender?), with hints of bitter chinchona. By palate, the sweeter tea with powerful rose notes adds life to the Elyx, the strong tea and rose eruption is followed by enveloping raspberry, strawberry and vanilla – ending on a castanet kick of quinine, cloves, a hint of ginger and orange zest.

Sophisticated, aromatic, seductive. A winner.

 

Opium Chinatown Afternoon Tea Week Den Dim Sum Cocktail

The Lapsang Souchong

If you want to go for something a little less Carmen, and a bit more Cosette, then the Lapsang Souchong might be for you: Buffalo Trace bourbon, apricot liqueur, tea-smoked cherries.

The normally deep, smokey tea is mellowed here, in a cocktail that appears to be more similar to a whiskey sour than you’d imagine. A very good one, nonetheless. Shy, fruit laden, the cocktail begins with the apricot, followed by the Buffalo Trace’s oaky, toffee, brown sugar flavours, leading toward the slightly more tart cherry and ending on a soft bed of lapsang souchong smoke.

A bit sweet, bit fruity, longer and easy to relish for the whiskey sour fan.

 

Opium Chinatown Afternoon Tea Week Den Dim Sum Cocktail

The White Peony

Now the White Peony, this one is always just out of reach, so well-composed, so independent, with footfalls of tiny bells: Double strength White Peony tea, Herradura Plata tequila, Belsazar White vermouth, house falernum.

The nose is strongly of the white peony, but underneath there is a lingering layer of agave. The first flavour belongs to the Herradura, soft, oaky, bright agave notes – but give away almost immediately to the tea, and below flowers the very restrained Belsazar and falernum with spicier, fruitier flavours. This cocktail, though loaded with various flavours, always feels so restrained and in control – it is delicate and patience is needed to fully appreciate it.

In short: It’s a bloody success.

 

Opium Chinatown Afternoon Tea Week Den Dim Sum Cocktail

The Goji Berry & Chrysanthemum

In contrast, the Goji Berry & Chrysanthemum is far louder: The teas infused in Absolut vodka and a splash of pink grapefruit juice makes a strongly juicy and brightly fruity cocktail. It might lack the White Peony’s complexity, but is a great middle-drink when wandering through the menu to lighten the spirits between the hardhitters. It might not be the Hoodooist’s style, but is an admirable cocktail, nonetheless, well crafted.

The pink grapefruit juice and vodka are the first to hit you, followed by the flowering flavours of Goji berry, and finishing on the floral chrysanthemum.

 

Opium Chinatown Afternoon Tea Week Den Dim Sum Cocktail

The Iron Goddess of Mercy

Finally, the Iron Goddess of Mercy. More commonly known as Tie Guan Yin (or even TGY), the dramatic name comes from various legends that have the same result: the Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yin, has provided a patient listener with a treasure in the form of an Oolong tea whose popularity spread across the country. Rich, and sweet, using it in a nectar-like syrup for a classic Rum Daiquiri was a fantastic choice.

Refreshing, bright, but not lacking in depth, this cocktail (in all its simplicity) is a breath of fresh air, and a fantastic finisher to the menu. Sweet, uplifting, with hints of herb and spice in the distance (as should be customary of a well-made Daiquiri). Wonderful.

Opium Cocktail Dimsum Parlour Chinatown

 

Honestly, recently the Hoodooist has been looking for cocktails that would ‘wow’ him again, and the Tea Den did just that. Having a sip of the teas before their respective cocktails is a great idea to appreciate the brews themselves, as well as identify their place in the cocktails. I also love that the menu is set out in an excellent order, I’d recommend working your way in the same order, as the cocktails flow and contrast wonderfully that way. Manager Bruce Govia has done a remarkable job with working with the London Tea Club here, and service is light, conversational, speedy and approachable.

 

I guess what I’m saying is: You cannot miss this.

 

Drinks: *****

 

The Tea Den @ Opium, Chinatown

15-16 Gerrard St,
London W1D 6JA

http://www.opiumchinatown.com/

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Fu Manchu, Clapham North

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, Late Night, Chinese
Damage££
Ideal for: Food, Party, Small Groups, Large Groups

 

Seconds away from the tube, Arch 635 has been revamped to become a ‘restaurant/bar/nightclub’, with an Edwardian/Opium Den twist, named after the controversial character of Dr. Fu Manchu.

 

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

The Flowering Lily & Jasmine Cha

I have pointed out problematic themes in the past, such as the issues faced at the Powder Keg Diplomacy, Wandsworth (Click HERE for Review) – and will do so here as well.

Those who know the inspiration of author Sax Rohmer’s infamous villain know that the Doctor isn’t just an antagonist, but introduced in the book ‘The Mystery of Fu Manchu’ as the “Dr. Fu Manchu, the Yellow Peril incarnate in one man” – a character that did not help the widespread Sinophobia present in the UK in the early 1900s. The portraits of actors in yellow-face in the corridors might supposedly be ironic, I don’t quite see the point. If it is one designer’s glorification of a character they like, it’s pretty dated.

Outside the embarrassing yellowface, Fu Manchu also happily invited Dapper Laughs to perform at their venue. Make if it what you will.

Anyway, décor-wise, the arch is kept primarily empty to allow space for partying and socialising, while the banquettes circling the room provide raised seating for diners, guarded by decorative wooden Chinese panelling. Expect much calmer music in the afternoons, and in the late evenings, some soulful or deep house, and nu disco for your dim sum by candlelight in the purple-hued room.

 

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

The Mai Chai

Cocktail-wise, the drinks are a large variety, and themed as well – though not many on the short and neat side.

What you want to order is the Blood of Fu Manchu – at first glance it might *just* seem like a twist on the Bloody Mary, which it essentially is – but will surprise upon first sip.  Eristoff vodka, Chinese 5 Spice, 10 yr old Port, ginger puree, oyster sauce and chilli powder, topped up with tomato juice. Much like the Asian Bloody Mary by The Manhattans Project (Click HERE for Review!), it takes inspiration for East Asian ingredients to make an absolutely fantastic cocktail. The salt of the oyster sauce really does the trick to balance out the Port and ginger puree’s sweetness, and the result is a well-balanced, spicy funfest that the Hoodooist highly recommends out of the Fu Manchu menu.

 

Another high on the list would be the Mai Chai – Ron Zacapa 23 rum, with Kraken Black Spiced, Orange Curacao, lime and Chai Tea syrup – beginning with the smooth Ron Zacapa and hints of orange, building into the spicier flavours of Kraken, finally coming to rest on the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom of the chai syrup. Sweet/sour, smooth, a kind of simplicity some of the drinks on the menu could learn from.

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

The Dragon Fruit Paloma

The Dragon Fruit Paloma, an amped up take of the Mexican classic, Sauza Hacienda tequila, Cocchi Americano vermouth, lime juice are mixed in with muddled Dragon Fruit provide a laid back, bright and refreshing. Sauza is either a strange, or very intentional choice of tequila – a very mild, almost characterless tequila on its own (got a few fruit notes, with a white pepper finish), it vanishes in this cocktail. Perhaps making it sneakier?

The cocktail is primarily lime and Dragon Fruit, the vermouth makes and appearance with and orange undertone, and ending on a quinine bite.

 

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

L-R: Lady Jasmin, Blood of Fu Manchu, Chai Tea-Ni

The Lady Jasmin twists the classic White Lady by using Jasmine syrup with the Bombay Sapphire gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, eggwhite and Angostura bitters. Pale, frothy and textured, garnished with a purple orchid, the drink is similarly demure, and gentle. Sweet, but almost imperceptibly so with the laid-back nature of jasmine. If you’re cautious around powerful drinks, this would be right up your street, though it left the Hoodooist neither here nor there. The Lady Jasmin does what it sets out to do, and serves you exactly what it told you it would.

 

Slightly less reserved than the Lady Jasmin, her feistier sister, the Yuzu-Tsu, brings Japanese yuzu tea paste to Cariel Vanilla vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice, egg white and Angostura bitters. Fragrant in two separate ways, the nose is powerfully vanilla, but the taste brings the yuzu’s fragrance out strongly. Tart, yet still somewhat in line with the Lady Jasmin’s gentleness. The same look and texture as the Lady, but garnished with a dried slice of citrus. One should probably use an aromatised yuzu spray to lessen the powerful vanilla nose a bit, but if one doesn’t mind it, it shouldn’t pose any issue.

 

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

The Kwang Su Boulevardier

The Kwang Su Boulevardier, now that sounds right up the Hoodooist’s street: Nikka From the Barrel Japanese whisky, with Antica Formula vermouth, Campari, and Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s Aphrodite Bitters. Loving the first three, the Hoodooist has somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the Aphrodite bitters, which bring powerful cocoa, Arabica coffee, ginseng, ginger and chilli to the fore. In this cocktail though, there are hints of cocoa and a very distant (if you’re looking for it) spice from the bitters.

Otherwise, it begins on a light note – from the Nikka – then moving onto the Campari taking centre stage, and then settling on the warm winter flavours of the Antica Formula’s spices and bitter orange.

Now, it depends on the bartender you have – a colleague received a bland, tasteless drink, whereas the Hoodooist’s turned out surprisingly layered – so I’d imagine you want bartender Wayne to make this for you! A decent aperitif.

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

The two, very different, Kwang Su Boulevardiers.

 

Finally, because there must be one, avoid the Green Tea-ni. Do not be enamoured by its promises of earthy Matcha. Because what you will get is painfully sour and confused appletini of sorts, with Bombay Sapphire gin, apple, an overwhelming amount of lime juice, and sugar syrup. One sip from the table was all that was stomached before being set aside.

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

The dim sum is slightly modernised and moves away from ‘traditional’ dim sum in some ways. Whether one reads this as a step forward or back is up to the reader.

One to recommend would be the Tai Chi Bo Coy Gow scallop and spinach green dumpling. Similarly, the otherwise simple Lor Pak Gou turnip cake is turned up to eleven with Chinese sausage and prawn.

One that you must absolutely order is the Monkfish and lime phoenix-eye dumpling, this Fung Yan Gow starts off with the powerful flavours of the monkfish, and slowly build up to a lime crescendo – loved this. One of the less traditional offerings would be the Chi Si Hoi Sin Kou cheese-stuffed cuttlefish and prawn balls – which, though a more Italian, works spectacularly.

 

The lobster, prawn and bamboo shoots Lung Har Gau, though, one shouldn’t spend their hard-earned £9.50 for.

Do not forget the great selection of teas! The flowering Lily and Jasmine work a treat.

 

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

Must haves: Monkfish Fung Yan Gow

The more quiet times of day, 5-8 PM means quick and attentive dinner service, however once the crowd pours in for the club nights, ordering a drink can be bit of a task – but servers do their best to help, but might need a slightly thicker skin to move through the crowd.

As one can expect from a club night, drinks are made quickly, and the wait can be long, so as seen with the Kwang Su Boulevardier above, unpredictability is a factor to be taken into account.

 

Fu Manchu cocktails dimsum

Custard dumplings!

London needs more venues that can provide a clubbing experience with cocktails – and a longer food menu certainly doesn’t hurt. One hopes Fu Manchu is a precedent to further venues of the sort to grow in the city, if only to satisfy each friend on a night out.

Drinks: ***
Atmosphere: Casual racism and misogyny, fun for the whole family!
Service: ****

 

Fu Manchu

15-16 Lendal Terrace,
London SW4 7UX.

http://fumanchu.co.uk/

Baijiu Cocktail Week 2015

Welcome to Baijiu Cocktail Week 2015!
Every Chinese New Year, for one week, the ‘white spirit’ takes over London to test London’s bartenders with a spirit the city isn’t that familiar with – and this beginning of the Year of the Goat isn’t different.

From the 13th to 22nd of Feb 2015: 9 venues across London, 9 different cocktails, 6 of which will be reviewed in this post. The Hoodooist and friends hit the road to tour the town for Baijiu deliciousness.

Chinese New Year

Firstly, Baijiu is an intriguing spirit, never quite becoming a permanent fixture in the London bar scene – something drinks giant Diageo is trying to change – with their signature Sichuan province ‘strong aroma’ Shui Jing Fang Baijiu. Made with sorghum, rice, glutinous rice, wheat and corn, it ain’t called ‘strong aroma’ for nothing. Neat, the scent can be detected from a mile away, a flowery aromatic with hints of rice, it tastes surprisingly different, but surprisingly similar.

Been called everything from ‘flowery’, ‘apricot’ to ‘burnt rice’ and ‘with a Maris otter barley length’, it is definitely an acquired taste. But the length and aftertaste’s similarities to scotch is undeniable. This is a smoky spirit for the harder-livered amongst us. A burnt, spicy start, with a long finish, Chinese proverbs state that it takes 300 shots to really appreciate Baijiu. The Hoodooist must admit, it’s acquired, but one he can see himself acquiring.

The perk of Baijiu Cocktail Week is seeing how various bars attempt to work with this strong, fickle spirit. Most of the cocktails this week do their best to mask the bitter-burnt flavours of the baijiu to focus on the flowery sweetness of the spirit.

Opium Chinatown

Opium’s “Born on the Baijiu”

Beginning with Opium Chinatown (Click HERE for Review), who presented us with the Born on the Baijiu (geddit), which was a spicier take on their London Cocktail Week 2014 offer, the Down to the Baijiu (geddit2). Baijiu, vodka infused Oolong tea, Xilli tequila liqueur, pomegranate and lemon juices with almond syrup.

To quote my review of the drink from London Cocktail Week 2014: “The Baijiu was unmistakable and the opener to the drink, followed by a citrus and almond sweetness. The oolong followed immediately behind, ending on the tequila. This incredibly sweet, but not sickly so, was pleasant and nagged me with a sense of nostalgia until somebody finally yelled “STRAWBERRY LACES!”, which is essentially what it tastes like – scarily similar. I would love this as a dessert drink, with its light mouthfeel and short serving.”

This time there the chilli tequila liqueur was more present, the spiciness hitting the back of the throat harder, the opinion around the table was split regarding the chilli. Personally, I enjoyed the chilli, but the drink came off a bit sweet for me. I still suggest it as a must try drink, at least once, rather enjoyable.

Gong Shangri La Shard

Gong’s “Lucky Goat”

Gong, of the Shangri La Hotel at the Shard, presented the Lucky Goat: Baijiu, Tanqueray gin, lychee juice, Prucia Umeshu plum wine liqueur (the Francisation of Japanese umeshu), sugar syrup and lemon juice.

Our experience here was… mixed. Though service inside the bar was excellent, getting in was bizarre. First, we are asked if we had spoken with the bouncer’s “colleague downstairs” – now we spoke to many employees downstairs – who seemed utterly confused regarding the opening times of the bar (“But they’re not open till 5.” Hoodooist: “I assure you, they are open.” And Lo, they were open) – but none that wanted our names and titles and reservation times and inseam length and national insurance number.

She still seemed rather unsure of letting us in to this utterly empty bar populated by only two drinkers till the article was mentioned, so I would hardly suggest service was at all in favour of the patron, but entirely in favour of the bar’s ego. And long-time readers are fully aware of the Hoodooist’s opinion when bars favour themselves over the customer.

So far, everything was very….Shard.

For the next hour, the bar was still empty (read that as you will), so the eerie silence provided a quiet moment to try the Lucky Goat.

The Hoodooist’s friend looks up incredulously and states “Is it just me or does this smell like a Vento d’Estate?” Which is does. Eerily. Mimicking the Treviso hay-cheese, the herbaceous nose is surprisingly contrasted to the flavour of the cocktail. As with most Baijiu cocktails, the Shui Jing Fang stands out the most, followed by flowery sweetness of the Tanqueray botanicals and powerful Prucia Umeshu. An honest and decent drink, but bit lacking in character.

Ping Pong London

Ping Pong’s “Longan Baijiu Firecracker”

It’s mid-afternoon, and the Ping Pong dim sum chain presents us with its Longan Baijiu Firecracker! A dramatic name for sure, and it keeps in with Ping Pong’s cocktail tradition of easy drinking to go with a meal. Very easy drinking. This is a sneaky one. And very sweet, but keeping in the flowery theme we’ve seen so far. Baijiu, Grey Goose vodka, St. Germain elderflower, Hana Lychee sake, rose petal syrup, Longan juice, lemon and egg white, garnished with string of caramel.

With 35mls of vodka against 10 of Baijiu, the Chinese spirit is toned down here a bit, but still a demanding flavour. Alongside the powerful rose syrup, it is followed by the lychee and a soft elderflower finish. Very soft, velvety in texture. Relaxed and refreshing, this drink.

Spice Market W Hotel

Spice Market’s “Baijiu Martini”

Sure enough, we wanted something a bit stronger to perk us back up, the Hoodooist finds himself at W Hotel’s Spice Market for their nameless drink her shall call the Baijiu Martini since the recipe for the Baijiu ‘Yuzu Martini’ was altered at the last minute. Mixed in with Pernod absinthe, D.O.M. Benedictine, gin and lemon, you’d be surprised by this drink. Powerfully citrus, but not overwhelmingly so, the herbal nature of the Benedictine is a great balance for the Baijiu. After the initial burnt-baijiu, the liquorice kick of the absinthe is a fun surprise, with the botanical length from the gin.

One’s first suspicion was that the drink would be overly citrusy, but turned out well-balanced, and very enjoyable, balancing out the burnt-bitter flavours of baijiu.

Bo Drake Soho

Bo Drake’s “Dragon’s Claw”

Bo Drake (only opened this week!) offered probably the best service of the day, commendable. Conversational, fun, explanatory, wonderful. Their Dragon’s Claw was one of the more unique: Baijiu, agave nectar, elderflower, lemon and lime, hopped grapefruit bitters and lime zest – garnished with candied hibiscus and grapefruit slice.

The drink could best be described as mellowing the baijiu enough to drink it, while appreciating the entire range of flavours it presents when drunk neat – which is what made it unique through the day where other bars attempted to mask aspects of the drinks to suit the cocktail. The nectar and hopped grapefruit bitters contributed to a silkier mouthfeel. Surprisingly, one tasted the bitters more strongly than the elderflower (Thankfully, I think).

A great way to really get into Baijiu without throwing back a shot of it.

Salvatore's Bar Playboy Club

Salvatore’s Bar’s “Baijiu Affair”

Our final stop for the night: Salvatore’s Bar at the Playboy Club. The Baijiu Affair: Baijiu, gin, Green Chartreuse, Maraschino liqueur, raspberry puree and lime juice. Well. Felt it was the weakest drink of the night. Across the table, rating this went from as low as 1.5 to 3.5 out of 5, so opinions rather vary. Very much a Last Word gone awry, one must keep in mind that drinks like the Last Word, though challenging, work for a reason, and sometimes messing with them has consequences. This was one of those consequences. Maybe lemon instead of lime would have helped, but not by much.

Overly citrus with clashing flavours, pulling a sour face and only drinking half of it is all the Hoodooist could manage, really. But again, opinions varied across the table. At 15 pounds, one would expect a more deserving drink for the price.

But another round of Salvatore’s other drinks from their menu helped sort that out, so the night ended on a positive note anyway!

6 bars in, get thyself an Uber.

Baijiu Cocktail Week is certainly one of the more enticing events of the London drinks scene, and it’s always good to see a spirit break through in London. Though an acquired taste neat, it probably is best drunk that way between courses of a tradition Chinese meal, since it’s use in cocktails is incredibly challenging (as highlighted by the Spice Market bar manager with the number of recipes they waded through).

However, the various bars did show how different aspects of the complex spirit can be highlighted with the right ingredients. Bo Drake showed us a palatable way for newbies to enjoy the entire spectrum of the spirit’s complexity. Ping Pong presented a soft, silky cocktail emphasising Baijiu’s sweeter flavours; whereas the Spice Market had the burnt-bitter flavour balanced and softened with its citrus and herbal cousins.

Certainly a complex drink that demands further study in the London drink scene, I wish you all a fantastic Baijiu Cocktail Week and Happy Chinese New Year!

Baijiu Cocktail Week 2015, London
13th – 22nd February

http://www.baijiucocktailweek.co.uk/

Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Parlour, Chinatown

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, Chinese, Speakeasy, Lounge
Damage£££
Ideal for: Food, Small Groups

 

I do like Opium. But you have to be there at exactly the right time.

There are two floors, both are not always open at the same time, but each feels totally different from the other.

 

In the evenings, the bar can be absolutely empty, and though I do love a good empty bar – Opium’s upper floor is one of those that really needs every seat filled to make it a great experience. Those bizarre 70s grandma’s living room seats need to be hidden from view. Especially when randomly placed beside black leather alcoves. It’s why I prefer to snatch the bar seats, which are in a kitchen setting with wonderfully engaging bartenders.

Image

I think my issue with the chairs is just personal

The upper floor bar is unnaturally dark, making it reminiscent of the Shochu Lounge at Roka. The best way to enjoy it is to get a reservation for a late Saturday evening, crowded and pigeonholed with a few good friends, with each drink accompanied with the bar’s dim sum menu.

The lower floor, though, has an excellent atmosphere, better lighting. But the bartenders are just as engaging and thoughtful. They’re half the experience here.

 

Image

The beautiful lower floor bar

Said bartenders are excellent for crafting personal cocktails with good reason. The menu comes with a custom cocktail section, where filling out a little questionnaire on your tastes in flavours and drinks will have them craft a little masterpiece for you. The cocktail list in itself is a treasure for making itself accessible to the less libationary-aware. Other than an ingredient description, each drink is given a three word summary. For example, the Long March (Bombay Sapphire gin, Plymouth Sloe, pomegranate juice, cinnamon and sweet red bean puree) is ‘Long – Complex – Fruity’.

On my first visit, I went straight for the Blind Date: Heaven Hill bourbon, Pedro Ximenez sherry, date puree and szechuan pepper. Definitely an after dinner drink (necessary, following my lunch at the Holborn Dining Room), the intense date flavour might have needed more pepper to balance it, but for the sweet tooth, works perfectly. Perhaps too many ingredients in each cocktail, but I’m willing to let it slide, since they end up working.  The Feather of the Phoenix is an excellently contradictory cocktail: Olmeca Altos Blanco meets blood orange puree and ginger beer in a long drink, topped off with smoked chilli infusion. I needed a bit more bite in mine so asked for more chilli, which makes the drink what it is. It’s up to you to judge whether or not a good drink hinges on one ingredient, but I certainly won’t turn it down.
Maybe I’d be a bit more forgiving if each drink came at 10 pounds instead of 11.50 to 13. Please do not ignore the tea, a great break from a long night out – and hey, no one said you couldn’t add some G to your Tea. A dim sum box comes at about 6.50 to 8 pounds, or grab a platter at 16.

Image

All in all, besides the peculiar environment, the Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Parlour does a good job as a hidden away den, and certainly makes a much less pretentious alternative to the Experimental Cocktail Club next door that I abandoned because of terrible service. Opium has gone for the speakeasy-but-not-speakeasy feel by simply avoiding the conspicuous bouncer or massive signs – just come in through the Jade Door.

 

Also, for those in the know, query about a certain New Orleans tune, or perhaps an old Soho brothel of the same name that dear Nina Simone crooned about. The waiters will first insist they have no idea what you’re talking about. But at your own risk, Nina did tell us that it brought down the reputation of many of the curious over the years.

Drinks: ***
Atmosphere:  Upper floor: ***, Lower floor: ****
Service: ****

 

Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Parlour
15-16 Gerrard St,
London W1D 6JA

http://www.opiumchinatown.com/