Bar Review: The Dorchester, Mayfair

The Dorchester Bar – Bourgeois Boozing

Strolling down Mayfair’s Park Lane, my lack of gaudy supercar and harem retinue ironically made me more conspicuous. Thankfully, The Dorchester doormen were completely unpretentious and perfectly polite, warmly welcoming my drinking buddy and me through polished opened doors. First impressions were stunning: the scent of fresh flowers washed over me like a luxurious feminine tidal wave.

The Dorchester Bar was opulent but felt dated – not F. Scott Fitzgerald retro hedonism dated – I just mean dated-dated. The lack of windows, oppressive purples and glossy surfaces were reminiscent of a low-stakes casino. The shiny pink stalagmites which surrounded the place were just bizarre. I was expecting The Dorchester Bar to offer timeless British glamour, not The Crystal Maze Mayfair Zone. I’m not sure if this was the interior designer’s way of forcing a contemporary edge, but I had never seen anything quite like it.

Regarding The Dorchester Bars value, there is nothing worse than someone complaining about drink prices; however, £20 for a gin and tonic is ridiculous. Although not as silly as the tin foil paint jobs on the supercars littering the entrance. People have rated The Dorchester ‘Excellent’ for value on TripAdvisor. Who the hell spends £80 on four G&Ts and thinks: “I just can’t believe the outstanding value!” I imagine Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has better things to do with his time. The Dorchester Drinks Menu itself was comprehensive and elegant as one would expect. While the glassware was the prettiest I’d ever handled. The Dorchester Bar was a place for proper cocktail drinkers: strawberry daiquiri lovers need not apply. The Brooklyn was properly excellent, and I became obsessed with the sticky, salty, delicious nibbles.

Regarding service, the gentleman working the bar was permanently elegantly poised, and no doubt skilled in the art of libations, but wasn’t particularly engaging. Perhaps staff were instructed to behave in this corporate manner, or maybe that’s just what The Dorchester’s clientele prefers. I would have liked to have seen his fun side; after all, if you can’t have a good time in a bar, where can you? I wasn’t demanding a game of beer pong!

The Bar at The Dorchester is a unique place, worth a visit for any cocktail enthusiast, but only ones with very deep pockets. I wouldn’t bother with the Champagne Simmer – I can live without the ‘gold dust and The Dorchester Lip Gloss’ – especially for £40. Although that’s nothing compared to Louis XIII: an eye-watering £1,600 a measure, plus £200 service charge for pouring. Across the sparsely populated Dorchester Bar was the most miserable woman I had ever seen drinking champagne; I didn’t know it was possible to drink Bollinger and simultaneously retain such a scowl. She was a spiritual meme for money not equating to happiness, as I visualised my bank balance dwindling to zero with a smile.

The Dorchester Bar
Review Summary

Atmosphere 4/10    Cost 2/10    Quality 10/10    Service 9/10

I'm only jealous
The Dorchester: I’m only jealous

The Dorchester Bar

Restaurant Review: Peachy Keens, Manchester

Keenly Priced But Far From Peachy

First impressions of the bizarrely named Peachy Keens Manchester were positive: bright, clean, but juvenile. With over thirty starters, the variety on offer was quite astounding; yet, restaurants trying to be everything become nothing – Peachy Keens Manchester was no exception. I self-righteously tittered at the giant ‘ORIENTAL’ neon sign looming over the school canteenesque dining room, and queried the authenticity of ‘Fish Fingers’ listed under ‘Italian Starters’. This cacophony of branding strangled any potential atmosphere although may appeal to a younger demographic.

Peachy Keens Manchester’s food was disappointing; although, given the exceptionally frugal price, expectations should have been no higher than ‘edible’. The assortment of sushi all tasted the same e.g. of nothing. The Salad Bar was OK but punctuated by tasteless olives and unpleasant cheese. Peachy Keens Manchester’s hot wings were predictably far from hot, rendering themselves redundant. The “Grill Section” masqueraded as a legitimate piece of kitchen equipment – it warmed grey lumps up – rather than cooking steaks to order. My steak was impossible to cut, let alone digest by a human. The Lamb Rogan Josh was ungodly,  smelling like Satan’s left over takeaway; after I was too terrified to return for hot food.

Peachy Keens Manchester’ desserts were either sickly or luminous – the pastry chef made Ronald McDonald look like Michel Roux. Things resembling Aftershock were avoided and ice creams were a psychedelic dripping mess; although, neatly formed miniature cheesecakes were surprisingly edible and in endless supply.

I was amicably greeted, seated and warmly bid farewell to; but, the Peachy Keens Manchester staff were impressively morose. However, the team were organised, with plates quickly materialising and disappearing when required.

Peachy Keens Manchester offered all-you-can-eat food for the price of a nearby swanky cocktail: nobody can ask for better value. Furthermore, Peachy Keens Manchester provided the ultimate in variety and convenience, perfect for young families or groups with differing dietary requirements. Unfortunately, the food ranged from acceptable to offensive.

Peachy Keens Manchester
Review Summary

Atmosphere 3  Cost 10  Quality 2  Service 4

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