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Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Luggage Room, Mayfair

Grosvenor Square doesn't figure much in my life: I've no desire to queue again outside Fortress America in the hope of landing a work permit (been there; done that; bought the t-shirt), and my chauffeur has never been instructed to programme the co-ordinates of gobby Gordon's Maze into my Bentley's in-car Bardar (been there; done that; wouldn't buy the t-shirt). Actually, I made up the bit about the Bentley. I'm a Beemer drop-top bloke (it fits more with my sad fantasy of myself as Frank Sinatra as Pal Joey, running around in an expensive trinket gratefully gifted for services rendered, singing The Lady Is A Tramp ). According to tonight's destination's PRs, The Bentley Boys are the inspiration for this brand new Grosvenor Square bar, The Luggage Room. Apparently, the Bentley Boys were car-crazy Mayfair socialites - forerunners of today's Made In Chelsea chumps, out to impress the 1920s equivalents of Milly, Silly, Caggy and Slaggy with acts of derring-do on the Great West Road. Some of the drinks - such as gin, grapefruit bitters and absinthe martini, Baron AndrĂ© d’Erlanger, are named after members of their set - the Baron, a banker at £14.50. Otherwise, try Hanky Panky, Penicillin and Aviation, similarly on-the-money retro rinses in  served in vintage stemware with complimentary salted snacks that verge on the addictive. I'm less hooked on a salmon caviar and sour cream scotch egg hybrid -  too cold, curiously bland, no improvement on the bog standard job, and too steep at £15 - from a range of trying-too-hard faffy-fiddly ideas presented in twiddly twee containers. The basement suite occupied by The Luggage Room was ("no shit, Sherlock?") once the temporary resting place for monogrammed valises belonging to grand old baggages in residence at the Marriott Hotel above. The rooms' tiramisu-tone art deco-inspired decor - think drinking inside a Vuitton steamer trunk lined in ivory silk grosgrain - is sophisticated and easy-on-the-eye. So too, its staff. I'm not generally much of a Marriott man - their Kensington gaff as soulless as any you'll find - but I know a good bar when I see one.Tweak the food offer, dim the lights, and I might just join the Bentley Boys' gang. 
London Marriott Grosvenor Square, W1K 6JP 7514 1679

Post-script: on a subsequent visit , the lighting had been so successfully tweaked, even those faces sporting the afterglow of Harley Street chemical peel will look as blemish-free as an airbrushed Kate Moss.