It takes a special invitation to catch our eye here at LHI… so we were intrigued to to check out one of the regular 1920s gin and jazz nights recently at the InterContinental Park Lane.
We were promised a glamorous evening of live music, revelry and drinks, so hopes were high as we were led into the laid-back Arch Bar lounge and given a comfy sofa with a direct view of Wellington Arch. A promising start…
We were then serenaded with a refreshing welcome cocktail – appropriately a Moscow Mule but with gin substituted – while the musicians for that night, Trio Manouche, warmed up playfully in front of us.
We were offered a platter and had a hard time choosing between the tempting beef empanada & chicken satay combo versus the seafood & sashimi option. We opted for sashimi – this was perhaps one of the few aspects of the evening not in keeping with the Mayfair 1920s theme!
Before our food arrived though we were given a welcome surprise in the form of the hotel’s signature Poor Man’s Punch – a drink I’d heard of but never previously sampled in my visits of London hotel bars.
This is a marvellous gin-based concoction of Hendrick’s gin, fresh lemonade, cucumber, orange, mint and strawberries. It is served “smoking” thanks to the dry ice which is skilfully added to give it an extra cool crispness. Best of all, it is presented in a teapot with china cups, only adding to the drink’s slightly illicit allure. Gorgeous!
By now the musicians were in full flow and the crowd was literally swinging, with a professional dancer in full 1920s get-up enthusiastically leading the way. Her moves had clearly been studiously researched from the era.
Our sashimi of tuna, salmon, Portland crab maki, lime-infused soy and wasabi mayonnaise (which was proper spicy!) was then laid out in front of us. As we continued to soak up the atmosphere we felt transported back to another era. It was certainly a night out with a difference.
From our platter, the soft and subtle crab maki (pictured below) was a particular highlight with its crisp shell being especially apt.
Service throughout the evening was flawlessly attentive and yet discreet. Our friendly waitress gave us beautifully vivid descriptions of the drinks and brought us refills and water without needing to be asked.
The talented musicians broke into French at one point and chatted light-heartedly with the audience. This was a Thursday night with a magical extra helping of style, glamour and sophistication!
We definitely recommend gin and jazz at the InterContinental Park Lane if you like the idea of retro live music with cocktails, particularly if you are not averse to the idea of dressing up a little for the occasion.
The next event is on 21st February, with further Gin & Jazz nights scheduled pretty much every fortnight thereafter. Advance reservation is advised.
Photo credits: InterContinental Park Lane, LHI blogger Rajul.