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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Aubrey at the Kensington Hotel, South Kensington

You can’t beat a decent hotel bar - a breed surprisingly rare in a part of town so overrun by Gallic expats, it elects its own MP to the French parliament. Aubrey, the bar at the refurbished and rebranded Kensington Hotel - clue; it’s not in Shoreditch - is ideal for a gossipy bitchfest entre amis or a flirty tête-à-tête with your colleague Jean-Pierre’s wife who also happens to be your bit of ooh la la on the côté. With its mosaic and marble bar, raw oak paneling, Yves Klein blue glass ceiling, teardrop chandeliers, mohair plush and club chairs whose tasseled fringes suggest the sort of sassy skirt worn by Leslie Caron to drive 1950s Saint Germain jazzmen wild, it feels appealingly retro in a kind of American in Paris way. Period drinks include Americano, French 75 and Negroni - good at £8 - while worst title of the year award goes to the cachaça based Berried (but still) Alive, one of eight house specials served with chilli and lemon popcorn. The January launch of The Brompton, the hotel’s swish new nightclub courtesy of the Whisky Mist / Mahiki crew, will wow SW7’s jeunesse dorée. Here to canvas votes, will le petit Nicolas drop in for a bop? In his trademark elevator heels, to something by Prince, peut-être?

109 -113 Queen’s Gate SW7 7589 6300