"Simples, Alexsandr?" In the new Shangri-La Hotel's ground floor foyer, our reservations are checked on two bit...
Monday, 18 January 2016
House of Ho; Fitzrovia
Now v Then
The long ascent of this rickety Fitzrovia townhouse’s winding staircase used to be rewarded with drinks in what was the raffish Red Bar at Bam-Bou. So skew-whiff were the escalier's treads (they still are), the descent was (is) fraught with danger for the well-irrigated unwary. Not that I'll be hanging around long enough to get so tight as to risk such a downfall tonight at the Red Bar's successor: I don't dig this room. All bland woods and pear green upholstery, tthe attic lounge at House of Ho is less crop top and bronze spray-on batty rider-workin' Asian resort ho', more ho-hum Brum circa 1991. If this is a taste of Vietnam with a modern twist’, gimme the pre-75 look. If I were management, I'd Napalm the room and go for The Fall of Saigon. Fortunately, this Ho’s cocktails aren't as humdrum as her threads. Pick a base spirit and dive in! Whisky fanciers will do well to order Hibiki, Ardbeg, matcha tea, lemon and yuzu Cho Lon Sour. Tequila, infused with kaffir lime leaves, then bolstered with Czech herbal liqueur and lemongrass syrup makes for a similarly on-fleek (I'm down wit dem yoot, me!) East-West sour; while Ho La Da is a ho-li-day camp tropical muddle of mango, coconut, pineapple and Bacardi. Gin and sake with pineapple cordial informs a datable martini; at £16, it should also include a free lap-dance. Service is courteous and snacks of dumplings and spring rolls are fine with wines by the glass or Singha beer. In such a confined space, banging House music leaves me as shell-shocked as a GI at the height the Tet Offensive.