RICS, Parliament Square, London, SW1P 3AD, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 3737
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-11pm
Style: Restaurant bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: High-end
Food: Bar snacks
Owned by: Michel Roux
Images By: diffordsguide.com
Michel Roux's first floor bar is completely distinct from his restaurant on the ground floor, and is like an old school gentlemen's club that's had a contemporary makeover. Last time we came here we liked it but it was practically empty. This time, there are a smattering of other customers but the atmosphere is, well, hushed.
The welcome is genuine, however, and we are enthusiastically talked through the menu - after all, we have their undivided attention. Instantly, this feels like the bartenders are in control: they know their drinks heritage inside out and understand the way flavours interact.
The cocktail menu covers a single page, just 12 drinks, largely simple serves combining a maximum of four ingredients, though they are imaginative original recipes, so there's a welcome culinary bent that we haven't seen before tonight.
There are lots of Big Boy drinks that are strangely accessible: The Pippin Apple Tree combines calvados, homemade Christmas syrup and lemon juice; the Bristol Million 2 is a triumphantly thick drink of rum, spiced Bajan syrup, lime and banana, initially sweet but with greater complexity in the mouth; Oh Brother Where Art thou? is bourbon, homemade Guinness syrup and lemon juice, a full-bodied, rounded drink; the Tommy's Largarita twists the modern classic using agave-infused beer: intriguing, full, tasty. The 3 Generations is unusually complicated mixing Johnnie Walker Green, Red and Black label whiskies with vermouth, Grand Marnier, mint, and hop and clove bitters. All drinks are served with aplomb, in beautiful glassware. Most are £9.25.
By this time, the other people in the bar have left, and although it's about 10pm on a Wednesday, it's all quiet again. We'd suggest bringing a group of enthusiastic and curious cocktail lovers - it's worth it, and you'll have the grand room practically to yourself. Shame this is largely left to the devices of MPs and Lords from across the square. Tasty, warm snacks too.