Drinkin’ in Another Dimension
With the entrance deftly camouflaged, it’s worth the effort to find the Blind Spot Bar as the cocktails are of the highest quality and the speakeasy style bar oozes character
Review by Martin Stickley
Lewis Carroll’s Victorian fantasy classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” tells the story of the eponymous young girl who, feeling somewhat bored on a lazy summer’s afternoon, follows a white rabbit down into its burrow into a flamboyant world of exotic characters which leaves her rather uncertain whether the experience was real or all just a dream. My evening at Blind Spot left me with a great deal of empathy for young Alice – minus the Mad Hatter and psychoactive influences of course.
Blind Spot is located inside the St Martin’s Lane Hotel, itself tucked away down a side street not five minutes’ walk from London’s Leicester Square underground station, but walk inside the grand foyer and trust me, you’ll be hard pressed to find it without help as the entrance itself is deftly camouflaged like the entrance to some secret lair, the door itself lies flush to the marble-like wall which surrounds it. To enter, one must grasp a brass hand which extends from the wall but stepping across the threshold is like crossing the boundary into another dimension. Where the hotel is stark, crisp and marble bright, Blind Spot is dark and mysterious like a fabulous back street speakeasy. The mere experience of stepping inside gives you a unique and unrivalled sense of exclusivity which even a cynic like me found impressive. As if this wasn’t enough, as I was shown to my table the classic flute intro from “Get Off” by Prince & The New Power Generation started up from the PA, setting the scene for a surprisingly lively and funky musical atmosphere which continued throughout the evening. Don’t be fooled by the dimmed lighting and interior, there is a definite buzz about Blind Spot which I think you’ll found rather lively and lifting.
The décor inside Blind Spot is a distinct contrast to the glacial white and Scandinavian Pinewood of the hotel lobby. The lighting is dimmed giving the tables and booths a feeling of intimacy without leaving me unable to see my partner. The walls are equally dark with deep mahogany, copper and glass which only increases the bar’s enigmatic ambience of covert luxury and sophistication. What really seals the deal is the cocktail menu. Aside from the usual classics, Blind Spot offers a wider themed-menu, the current one being “Spin the Globe” which features a frankly striking array of drinks all taking inspiration from major cities from around the world. Believe me when I say that these are cocktails which need to be tasted to be believed; the quality of presentation is only matched by the excellence of the ingredients and resulting flavours. Depending on your tastes my recommendation would be the “Kyoto” which features Nikka whiskey, almond syrup, rose water, yuzu juice and blackcurrant liqueur. The result is something which at first is delicate, floral and smooth before the warm embracing richness of the whiskey follows.
The bar also provides a good selection of high quality bar snacks which are perfect for sharing. I was particularly impressed with the black cod dumplings with chilli soy dip. My only bug bear is that Blind Spot follow that familiar ritual where their portioned dishes are restricted to three of each item, this isn’t great if there are two of you; the resulting fight over the last item could get messy. Portion numbers aside, I really enjoyed Blind Spot and will certainly be heading back, not only does the bar ooze character, class and vibrancy but it delivers on the quality of the drinks and that is something which many of its competitors cannot claim to do.
Enquiries: Blind Spot Bar, St Martin’s Lane Hotel, 45 St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HX / 0207 3005588 / www.morganshotelgroup.com/originals/originals-st-martins-lane-london/eat-drink/blindspot