Friday, 8 July 2011

[Bar - Lounge] Comfort in Silences, Excesses, and Extortion; Polo Bar at The Westbury Hotel of Mayfair

Location - Mayfair, London [UK]

Quiet calm. Indulgent excesses of a multitude of varieties. All tempered with a light dusting of extortion. A seemingly perfect mix environmental factors present at the Polo Bar. No, I am not currently writing this from behind one of their cocktails. I also would not have it any other way. Well. Perhaps sans extortion would be nice.

It would seem that the ambience of Polo Bar is at once fitting and contrasting to the locality and general demographic. I'm honestly not drunk! It is a very quiet and sedate locale, never filled with the boisterous "Rich, London youth", yet at the same time, completely in keeping with the areas pretensions, costs, and general customs de rigueur. Which would signify the extortion quite poignantly. Though, at the point of entrance into Polo Bar during an evening I am generally on the cusp of, "liquid motivation", which helps soften/become unaware of impending financial doom. Hitherto explaining the excesses. Whilst choice is the spice of life, and I like spice, it is also an evil source of misery, as it allows options. And options are dangerous, especially when they come with gold flakes. 

I have never generally been a fan of loud, animated, locations, much less so when the locale is consumed by liquid stupid, serving to make them more intolerable. I rather prefer a quieter, more social ambience, where contemplation beyond "I hate this music and the fact I can feel it as much as I can hear it and would wish this gentleman would not polish my shoes in his dinner" can take place, in good company. Perhaps gently motivated by liquid stupid. Which brings to the first of the excesses. 

The Cocktails

I am perhaps conflicted, or just never pleased, but an overly short menu can sometimes be as annoying as a thesis length menu - I'm already less decisive than most girls [nothing really to be added to that notion, they just are], I don't need further encouragement! It just takes advantage of my need to explore, which can be somewhat painful with some of the cocktails. Almost all of which have frankly been, disappointing. Perhaps I was ordering the wrong sort of cocktails - something that became starkly obvious when expecting perhaps to taste something other than champagne, in champagne cocktails. A drink I'm not particularly fond of anyway. Why am I ordering it then? Pfft. If I knew. The above one depicted however, was reasonable. As much as I remember being through several glasses of dumb juice at point of said picture, the blog merely reorientated the picture of such as it does not seem to like tall pictures, and was not as a result of my inability to realise which way was up. And now you know. Or so I say.

Initially, George, the introduction and companion to this Lounge, remarked how the cocktails were exquisitely and meticulously prepared, with the barman obviously showing great attention to detail. Trust a Russian that orders exclusively whiskey sours and gold-flake littered champagne cocktails. That is unfair, as I've sampled said Champagne cocktail, which did not really do anything other than resale value to my digested dinner. His opinion has since changed as it would seem has the management, much to the detriment of the other menu items. Which leads to another excess.

Late Night Noms

A particularly, and frequent trait now becoming frighteningly yet delightfully apparent. The fact that food is served long into the evening gives motive for wretched temptation to pig-out. How else can I justify ordering two desserts having come from dinner only a couple of weeks ago. Guilty? Yes, Pleasure? Certainly. Mostly in the indulgence. It's nice to indulge ^_^. Fortunately the guilt is lessened as my fellow swine also partakes in the practice, leaving us one short of the little pig crew. Perhaps what overwrought justification it may be, the presence of food is generally well and truly exercised, particularly after a less than fully satiating dinner.


To date, I have ordered the following:

- Brittany Caramel Tart [1st July 2011]

Returning from a delectable, yet grossly malnourished dinner from Umu, even culminated by a dessert, what better way to start at Polo Bar than with another dessert. I can lay blame to the fact that George wanted to order his guilty weakness before the switch to the late night menu but that would only attempt to serve to try and distance myself from the guilt. Which it would obviously have little impact on as demonstrated below, by time the second dessert was ordered ^_^. A diminutive little tart, nice saltiness that contrasted well with whatever was served with the tart, but it was over all too quickly. Ludicrously priced but its part of the running theme here.

- Some Tropical Pannacotta with Rum Granita [1st July 2011]

Yes, two desserts. Perfect amount of decadence to celebrate my quarter century of life. Obviously not substantiated by the previous dessert. And the four course meal preceding it. Which also included a dessert, I made the rash decision to select this second dessert. Which wasn't that impressive. Again, not a surprise here. The problem was predominantly that the Rum Granita was quite overpowering, and when the only item of substance to attempt to combat the onslaught of iced alcohol is a small serving of Pannacotta. Blancmange. Set Cream. Beige Meal. Etc. It would always be a losing battle.

Despite the disappointment, I felt that 3 desserts on the night would be quite enough, so I avoided further orderings. After restraint.

- Valrhona Chocolate Mousse [13th July 2011]

Barely done digesting the former two desserts and straight into another two weeks later. And more gold flakes. I wonder if eBay would oblige for my second hand dessert. My excuse for this indulgence - barring the actual selection of a boring mousse that would add stock value to my "movements" - was that my home dinner was particularly light. I actually shouted damnation - if only in my head, it gets lonely there - during the taxi ride to the Westbury as I would knowingly cede to temptation. Oh the horror. Having already sampled the other two items on the restricted dessert menu, I was only left with the one choice. I generally avoid mousse's as they are typically light. And I want my dessert to destroy me and perpetually dissuade notions of further indulgence for eternity.

This mousse would prove no different, though it was quite pretty. Again, the gold flake was delightfully excessive, and the concoction rather light but also very delicate. No real stand-out qualities otherwise, just that it was not a lingering sickly chocolate invasion on the palate, and went by rather quickly! Thankfully, this now leaves just the one dessert remaining on the menu that has not been sampled within this month. Thank you Jeebus.


So, do I suffer in the silence or enjoy the peaceful excesses? Spending Mayfair dinner prices on cocktails that almost never satisfy me, yet always feeling quite delightful - beyond the debilitating amounts of alcohol in said cocktails - should be testament to the rightness of this place, to the point that is become a staple destination. I do not think there many places that could match the delicious melange of quiet elegance, sheer ease and carelessness of excess this brings about, and sheer extortion. More of a fan of the the former really. Not that I've really ventured beyond Polo Bar either. Besides, it would be very boring to base actions on financial sensibility. I'll certainly whine about the cost ad nauseum once recovered though. It's just all part of the joy ^_^

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