Two's company. A few words on food, drink and little adventures! @atablefortwoLDN
There is something exciting about finding a hidden bar in an unexpected part of town. Situated at the heart of Chinatown, an area which Londoners avoid and tourists swarm, Opium is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise lacking part of West End.
The Cocktail & Dim Sum bar is strategically tucked between Chinese restaurants on Gerrard Street and could make anyone walk endlessly up and down the street if they weren’t to know the door number. The discerning jade door’s only giveaway is a doorman outside who checks whether upstairs can squeeze you in or not. For anyone who is looking to impress a date, this is a definite must- a great place of discovery or a definite opportunity to look in the know.
Once inside, Opium doesn’t disappoint. Although heavily influenced by the decour found in the neighbourhood, the inside evokes an oriental escapism. Nevertheless there is plenty left to discover across the three floors and numerous rooms of the Parlour, one of which features a kitchen-style bar perfect for mixing with the mixologists, socialising with friends or making new ones. In true speakeasy style, there are plenty of spaces to canoodle for couples too, be it at the bar or cosied up in scattered arm chairs, the intimate feeling with low lighting and dark wood can instantly be soaked up.
As well as a great atmosphere where you completely forget about the hustle and bustle outside, this bar is most certainly about cocktails and damn good ones at that. The forward thinking, orient inspired list features original Dre Masso’s drinks list is all about cocktails inspired by the Orient and they are served with flare. We opted for The Opium cocktail No 1, which comes with a vial of chi–enhancing ginseng, presented in a mini culdrum with a metal straw and billowing with smoke. We were instructed to drink up and drink fast to get the full flavours and unique taste and although slightly apprehensive of what to expect, the mix was delicious. Next up was the Way of the Dragon with Four Roses bourbon, Vermouth and black tea syrup which equally revitalised our taste buds. Drinks are certainly not cheap starting at £12.50 however the pure quality and quirky difference of each cocktail, combined with the laid back atmosphere of the bar makes way for plenty of chit chat, and indulging turning a mid week randez-vous into an all evening affair.
Should you get peckish, then Opium’s Dim Sum menu holds all the answers. Whether you’re feeling adventurous or like us simply indecisive on what to pick, then opt for the steamed Dim Sum platter (which does not appear on the menu but can probably be russtled up by the staff) with a mix of seafood and vegetables dumplings served in authentic bamboo baskets with plenty of flavour and soya sauce. The portion is generous and will probably leave you eating with your eyes rather than your stomach but definitely worth every bite.
Having only opened for a few months, Opium is definitely a fortune cookie in an otherwise rather lucky dip neighbourhood and is well worth a visit sometime around payday.
The Jade Door, 15-16 Gerrard Street,
Tel. 0207 734 7276