If you've never been to The Cumberland, do please go...if only for the hotel's lobby - a vast plain that could be a public square in Pyongyang populated by sculptures inspired by those wretched human statues that litter Covent Garden Piazza. After scant cosmetic tweaking, the pile’s Patrón bar - nice tequila shame about the room - has morphed into Momentus, a hard-edged lounge that imagines itself ‘the place to be in W1.’ It might be the place to be on the M1 - if motorway service stations did bars and this were Leicester not London. Where it sees ‘laid-back, sultry, stylish and full of colour,’ I see clattery, impersonal, dated and bland. Billing itself a champagne bar, you might reasonably expect its list to offer more than three types by the glass - Moët and Chandon Impérial, entry level bubbles, fair at £8.50 and champagne cocktails (£11) that include Bellini and Buck (sic) Fizz. At the bar's lame launch - a less than Momentus occasion - I'm expected to wear a name tag. Have I wandered, in error, into a conference break-out for Ukranian combine harvester salesmen? I manage to grab two canapes: a smoked salmon pagoda thingy, and a sliver of pork pie. Neither inspires further investigation of the bar food menu. The highlight of my visit is a magnificent MILF, more of a MI-wouldn't-LF - a brave bingo-winged big bird that, despite being the size and the age of
the Rock of Gibraltar, has somehow filled herself into a canned red salmon-tone flared mini-dress that would be the envy of her doppelgänger, mature tranny waiter Leslie off ITV 1's camp comedy, Benidorm. Her foul frock is fabulously mismatched to a Sharon Osbourne-esque flaming bob (Bob?), teamed with hooker heels and black shites (i.e shit tights). For her, seebreeze (sic) or sex on the beach from a list that reminds you this is The Cumberland not The Connaught?
The Cumberland Hotel, Great Cumberland Pl. W1 0871 376 9014 http://www.guoman.com
Adapted from my review for www.squaremeal.co.uk