Last night I popped in to Dukes Hotel for a cocktail or two, following a look around the Hockney exhibition at The Royal Academy, which was awe-inspiring!
Dukes has been on my radar for a while but each time we’re in the St. James’s – or that part of Mayfair area – we tend to pop into the Royal Ocean Racing Club which is just around the corner.
This time round however, we decided to pop into Dukes – out of curiosity and also because the Club was closed. Does anyone know what’s happening with the front door right now?
Dukes’ hotel bar is in large part associated to its most celebrated customer Ian Fleming who at one time was partial to a Dukes’ Martini. Today, Fleming’s legacy lives on in the bar with martinis such as Ian Fleming’s Classic Vesper and Golden Eye on the menu.
With a wide array of cocktails on the menu, this was easily my favourite kind of reading: all those delicious concoctions to take in. And the visual treat doesn’t stop there.
When you order a martini, the mixologist comes along with a trolley loaded with ingredients and makes your drink in front of you.
I had ordered the Tiger Tanaka.
And the bf had ordered the Ian Fleming’s Classic Vesper.
Both tasted heavenly and were presented so elegantly – exactly what a martini should be about. Each sip was an occasion as each drink oozed style and the integrity of a very good cocktail.
My next drink was influenced from the night before when I had ordered a chocolate and chilli martini which (to put it politely) tasted more like Nesquik than any attempt at a serious cocktail. And so I was curious to find out if it was possible to have chocolate in a cocktail and for it to taste reasonably good. I was reassured by a member of Dukes’ bar staff that it was and so I left it up to him to pick my next drink, which turned out to be the Ruby Windsor.
Whilst the bf’s Baron Samedi also arrived.
Again, both drinks were exceptional. The Ruby Windsor, which contained cocoa, proved that a cocktail can include chocolate and still retain its sophistication as a drink.
Sadly, we had to stop at a couple of drinks simply because they were so wonderfully strong. At Dukes, it’s not about quantity but the sheer quality of ingredients and fantastic service.
My visit to Dukes has been a long time coming and now with the bar firmly on my radar, I’m so pleased to say that two of my favourite places in the world are now within walking distance of each other: Cocktails at Dukes’ and Dinner at The Wolseley – that’s what I’ll do next time.