“Your room or mine?” Carla asks me straight out, in the middle of the Langham London’s Artesian. I make a mental note to test her other preferences as soon as humanly possible before succumbing to her proposal. Well let’s be honest, how can you resist 15 year old Glenfiddich, Becherovka and Pineau des Charentes served in a furry cup?.
The Artesian take on Salvador Dali surrealism over the next 12 months is the perfect example of how creative mixology is taken very seriously here. The cocktails here are not only world class, but served up in creative Dali-esque pieces specially crafted for the Artesian. It seemed rather apt to follow up my ‘Your room or mine’ experience, with a ‘Snake Charmer’, a giant hollowed out white pebble full of elderflower, orange blossom, carrot and sesame, but the lack of alcohol prompted Carla to insist on ‘You’re so Gangsta’ instead. This is more like it; Grey Goose vodka, yuzu, lychee, ginsing, juniper and rose water served up in a beautiful round sea urchin piece sitting on a complicated bed of forged metal.
But it’s not all just Dali and drinking, there is a new Snax menu too, a kind of Tapas type sharing experience which Carla is quick to point out can be paired to complement my cocktail. This proves equally creative, with my choice of tuna tartar with basil, pine nuts and tomato served in a collection of three ice cream cones. The 36 month chunks of Parmigiana are too delicious for words with the encore plate of spicy hummus, sumac and flat bread a true taste of the Middle East.
I’m starting to feel like I’m in an art gallery as the Artesian fills up and I’m surrounded by Dali inspired works of art encasing all manner of cocktail mixes. Carla emerges with a mysterious Pandora’s box and with a theatrical flourish opens the lid. Smoke pours out and there in the centre I spot the treasure; Tanqueray number 10, pisco lime juice, perila, lime chilli and soy – in other words Chameleon crystals, another masterpiece from Team Artesian, Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale.
My third cocktail downed and I am feeling very happy. I glance over at Carla as she asks another patron “your room or mine”? Life can be so shallow.
More about the Artesian at The Langham London
Snax menu from £6 per plate
Surrealism cocktails £18 each