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Saturday, 27 February 2010

HUNter 486 at the Arch, London, Marylebone

HUNter 486 at the Arch London inhabits a smart new W1 townhouse hotel. A reference to the telephone exchange that served Marylebone back when calls were still connected by operators with accents that could cut the glass my HUNtini cocktail comes in, it’s the official handle of its bar/ restaurant. As names go, it’s a mouthful and about as arch as it gets. ‘Arch’ might also describe interior design possibly inspired by, and surely better executed at, rival ‘boutique bolt holes’ such as Firmdale’s Haymarket Hotel. Bold stripes, clashing patterns, graffiti as art, twee geegaws and cutesy objets, it reminds me of an over-styled dame on Ladies Day at Ascot. Doesn’t ‘chic’ mean taking off the last accessory you added before you venture out? Waltzer-style dark leather booths in the ’salon de champagne’ are draped in wraparound gauze. ‘A resident fortune teller?’ muses date, hopefully. Strip away the faffy d├ęcor and as a bar, the rest stacks up: at upwards of £7.50 cocktails served in its ‘martini library’ are reasonable if you ignore the naff names - MarTEAni, groan! And there's decent nibbles, comfy seating, flickering fires and sweet staff. ‘We see it as a destination bar.’ Good luck ! For Arch, as in Marble, is a destination not much on my radar. Drop in if you visit Primark on Oxford Street some day.

50 Great Cumberland Place W1 7724 0486