Pre-dinner refreshments at Polo Bar brought to mind the civilised affair of sophisticated drinks of the bygone era, when cocktails were ordered during hush executive meetings and lovers mingled over cosmopolitan surroundings.
Situated in the Westbury Hotel, the Polo Bar welcomed me after a long day of exploring the best of London. The interior is a combination of light Art Deco design with lush comfy soft furnishings. We were taken to a window seat with direct view of the bustling shopping crowds just off New Bond Street. This would be a great spot to rest your legs after a long afternoon pounding the pavements with all of your latest fashion finds.
The biggest excitement on the extensive cocktails menu for me was the Mayfair Gold. The semi-rose coloured liquid were shaken with Tanqueray gin, fresh lychees and elderflower, splashed with Moet Brut Rosé and finished off with a sprinkle of real gold specks. It sparkled from every angle.
Mr. New Yorker opted for a Pomegranate Deluxe, which was equally infused with gin and a punch of high antioxidants as the trendy pomegranate juice took centre stage.
What we loved about these cocktails was the arrival of a smaller shot glass of the other person’s drink. To taste the other person’s cocktails was a great way to “sample before you buy”!
As my stomach started to protest about the lack of food since lunch time, the arrival of palm sized prawn lollipops dipped in sweet chilli sauce was a welcoming sight. These meaty, moorish delights on a stick were covered in crunchy panko crumbs, warm and satisfying at the same time.
Within the same hotel, Tsukiji Sushi restaurant (named appropriately after the fish market in Tokyo) is situated in the other wing with just under 20 seats with a view into the sushi chef’s counter. We made our way over for a healthy meal of sushi ahead of our trip to South East Asia.
On a side note, when I was last in Tokyo, I made a mental note to visit this vibrant fish market to sample the fresh sushi and also the lively atmosphere. Unfortunately, I never made the harsh 3:30am wake up time to see it in action.
I’m terrible with making great choices at sushi menus because everything looked good on there. As with any of such situation, a tasting menu is a great way to find out about the variety of flavours on offer.
The flavours were complex in the sushi menu in every way, and the rice perfectly executed in terms of temperature and texture. Each dish built up the intensity of flavours, and we reached a tastebuds explosion of grilled oysters with creamy sauce.
Cooking black cod is the test of the skill of the chef as it is a delicate in every way, especially marinated in miso sauce. If you ever wondered what octopus carpacchio with truffle mustard miso dressing tastes like, then just get it because you just won’t regret it.
I highly recommend the green tea ice cream at the end of the meal. It might be a slightly cliche way to end a Japanese tasting menu, but a good green tea ice cream is not always easy to find in London and Tsukiji does one that tastes pretty close.
Polo Bar and Tsukiji Restaurant
37 Conduit St, London W1S 2YF