The problem with London is that you often end up paying a small fortune for a nice setting in a posh location and feeling cheated so when someone suggested HUNter 486 at The Arch hotel it was with a certain amount of skepticism we went for a visit.
Firstly this is a beautiful, peaceful and luxurious setting, that is unarguable. The ‘smoking room’ style bar has three little booths that we can highly recommend as just private enough behind their curtains of soft muslim. The effortless minimalism makes a wonderful change from the industrial look of most hip and trendy bars. That said, not dressing up for a meal and drinks here would be a mistake. Unless all your casual clothes are fabulous designer wear, best throw on a dress or tie.
Yes, the prices are around the higher end of the London scale but remember this is the capital of the world at the moment and paying £12 for a cocktail is sometimes worth it.
The cocktails themselves are not tiny, artistic masterpieces but real drinks with appropriate garnish and an enjoyable taste – there are plenty of choices too. I highly recommend asking for your favourite or giving them a couple of taste preferences and letting them go crazy. There’s a lot of potential in the place and the more customers challenge and encourage it, the better it will grow.
That said the highlight of the evening came in the form of the sublime sorbet cocktails that should quite probably be on your bucket list. These are elaborate and fantastic but they are dessert, as well as a drink. The Gin and Tonic sorbet was clean and simple with a very strong gin element that made it ice with a kick. The Pimms surrounded in cucumber and strawberry slices and topped with a tiny sprig of mint, disappeared quickly. The absolute most amazing part of the whole meal was the Bloody Mary sorbet. As a bit of a BloodyM addict I find most variations in London lacking in the spark of tomato that all us addicts enjoy. But the sorbet, with rock salt around the rim, will go down well with anyone who enjoys their savoury finnesse in their desserts. Probably something to put on your bucket list and comes third in my list of the best Bloody Marys I’ve had in London EVER.
The food was very English and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was sourced fairly locally and quite fresh. The sharing platters were clean and simple but maybe a little smaller than expected for two people. The quality I cannot argue with but if anything is to be ‘shared’ then best to err on the side of excess.
The pizza came highly recommended and the classic looked tempting but the opportunity to try the field mushroom, cured Italian meats, rocket and Gran Padano proved irresistable. While the food menu is small, it does what it has very well and you really should eat before starting on the drinks – or you may forget to do so all together. Looking back we possibly regret not trying the Smoked Salmon but leaving space for sorbets is never a mistake.
Staff were polite and helpful but very stiff – remember this is a classy joint and don’t harrass them too much. A nod or careful wave is enough to let them know you need something. And if you are planning events or looking for somewhere to treat your other half then the hotel has a selection of rooms and suites that match the calm and effortless design of the bar with all amenities. Especially good if you want to do a bit of celeb watching (Madonna lives over the road) or show off to some new colleagues.
By Laura King