'Have you heard of a Bayswater bar called "Old Marys?"' asks a colleague. I have not. The name conjures up a last chan...
Thursday, 4 July 2013
Mr. Fogg's, Mayfair
Flustered by my temporary DISCO malaise (see previous review), I am escorted to the relative calm of a new bar to help me come down. On paper, ‘Phileas Fogg’s Mayfair mansion’ is theme bar hell, but the latest jape from Charlie Gilkes and Co is not as arch as it sounds. In a witty cod-Victorian drawing room stuffed with exotica from the fictional traveller’s foreign adventures, staff, lookers all - Old Etonian Gilkes's ex-fags? - appear in duds from Flashman's days. Dapper chaps who might otherwise have become estate agents in Fulham, mix seriously pukka cocktails - Brooklyn, blinker, sazerac and whisky snapper (£10). Served on vintage cake stands,we eat toasted sandwiches of the type I'd theoretically rustle up - coming home late, squiffy and famished - on my Breville toaster, if only the bloody thing hadn't gone the same way as my George Forman Grill after gathering dust in a cupboard for years. Spookily, a footman appears with a drink before I can order one. "I thought Sir would appreciate a vieux carré?" Either he's psychic, or he's been reading my reviews: here's a New Orleans classic Sir does very much appreciate. Should I poach Mr Flogg's flunky for my personal Passepartout? My drinking companion, editor of an in-flight mag aimed at Euro-yoof, is also down with his drink, a Bobby Burns, if not the company - decidedly straight and mainstream. "We're in Mayfair not Dalston, Dorothy!" Mr Fogg's, and its owners' other bars Bunga Bunga, Maggie's and Bart’s aren't aimed at me even if I do (technically) live in Chelsea. Merchant banker-infested Earls Court is no longer the louche locale I was originally drawn to. Gilkes has the toff market all taped up, and (top) hats off to him for that. At least Made In Chelsea dry cleans its clobber and washes under its oxters - not something that can be said of the cruddy Clapton contingent. Ollie and Millie's silly vanilli sort notwithstanding, this Mayfair blast is totes Fogg-horny.