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Friday, 31 January 2014

Lanes (of London), Mayfair

 (Doh! Hard to miss really) 

I'm invited to road test the lounge bar at refurbed restaurant Lanes (of London). We meet at The Dorchester - handily located next door, I seem to recall from the deets I've stupidly left at home. "Eurr Eurr' as the buzzer noise goes when some fool on Family Fortunes is asked to 'name a famous Arthur.' "Shakespeare." (That's a 'true say', as they say down Essex way, by the way). Stymied by a new mobile whose internet settings my Luddite mojo can't master and, with my chum's Blackberry's battery deader than a Monday night in Dartford, I'm in and out Park Lane's hotel doors like a £90-a-pop whore. "Do you know where Lanes (of London) is?" Nobody does. 20 minutes later, at Grosvenor House, a breakthrough. It's part of the same Marriott group apparently, only 'with not as many stars.' claims a staff member. This does not bode well. If the hotels of Mayfair were Premiership footie teams, I imagine Grosvenor House as Aston Villa - mid-table and a bit too full of Brummie businessmen in flammable tuxes for my comfort. Presently, we discover Lanes at the wrong end of Park Lane - the Primark end as I refer to it. All toffee tone, candlelit, leathery luxe (as a DFS customer unused to edgier five star sleepovers might put it), its drinks are more interesting than the decor. The big 'concept' is a selection of cocktails that introduce buzzier quarters such as Hackney and Dalston to tourists (although perhaps not the dozen Romanians we've just negotiated, begging in doorways outside). For Mayfair types whose idea of slumming it is W10, that postcode inspires amaretto, apple brandy and chai syrup idea, Portobello champagne punch (£13), and beetroot and gin West London ‘gimlet.’ Another success, if not an improvement on a straight vodkatini, is Grey Goose tahini martini: a nod to Edgware Road, oddly. Surely the Muslim mile is not exactly awash with alcohol? Decent beef sliders, samosas and vada paav in a bap, ceremoniously presented on a platter as if they were the head of John The Baptist and my name is Salome (which it might be if I ever decide to do drag), is essentially Whitechapel street food tweaked for the second most expensive square on the Monopoly board. Is Lanes an address I'll enter in my new phone? If I ever figure how to, maybe.
London Marriott Park Lane, 140 Park Lane, W1K 7AA 7647 5664 www.lanesoflondon.com