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Friday, 20 May 2011

Equus, Whitehall

Set in what was the Secret Service’s WWII HQ, we only espied two other guests when we staked out this five star hotel's new bar, Equus. The title refers to cavalrymen  - as evidenced in various heroic wall-hangings of the sort you'd expect in Tory MP Sir Hangeman-Flogem's  constituency surgery - as opposed to Peter Shaffer’s dark play about a deeply troubled horse bothering naked Daniel Radcliffe. A trio of 'meh' rooms includes a curious overflow space-cum-corridor with a piano that’s ‘just for show’, Comfortable enough, their post-modern decor with its military tunic scarlet accents is not particularly memorable. An affable (Canadian?) barman shakes out £12.95 cocktails. Served with....just salted nuts (At this level? Are you sure?)...  several are named after past hotel guests: The Gladstone, a premier mix of Rittenhouse rye, Carpano Antica vermouth and bitters, is served Manhattan style while The George Bernard Shaw is basically a tweaked negroni with Cherry Heering preferred to sweet vermouth. Both pass muster. Patriotically, a portion of the cost of the brandy and burgundy-based Cavalry Cocktail goes to charities that support wounded soldiers.  Champagne (Lanson, £60), wine from £8 per glass (Costières de Nîmes) and Harviestoun Ola Dubh are also available at a bar that might not ultimately prove to be quite the ‘stylish destination’ it reckons it should be. 

The Royal Horseguards Hotel, 2 Whitehall Court, SW1A 2EJ 0845 305 8332

Based on a review for Square Meal online