Mr.Gourmand: Le Magritte Bar, Beaumont Hotel

Gentlemen I am back and how good it is to be here. I won’t mention the last couple of years through sheer exhaustion of the subject. Now is a time for renewed focus and for me to fill my boots with food and drink and some of the finest establishments this fair country has to offer, and what I may say a start we’re off to. To move things back into action we wandered the streets of Mayfair between Grosvenor Square and the mighty Hyde Park. Tucked away down unassuming streets and down Balderton street sits the Beaumont Hotel, but no we weren’t here for rest and recuperation we were here to visit Le Magritte Terrace & Bar, the Beautmonts 1920’s inspired bar.

Le Magritte belongs to the great tradition of American bars that became legendary in London and Paris during the 1920s. All-American bad boys (and girls) from Hemingway and Fitzgerald to Dean Martin and Sinatra would have felt right at home in its handsome walnut-panelled interior, hung with an eclectic collection of early 20th century paintings and photographs, including the Magritte that gives the room its name. The Bar specialises in bourbons, American whiskies and classic cocktails, which are strictly shaken or stirred, thank goodness and served by classically dressed, classically trained staff. These are people who are every ounce the professional that you might expect from such a highly respected establishment but they’re also incredibly friendly, in fact, I might go as far as to say these were the best two men I’ve ever had the pleasure of being looked after by. They simply added another level of humanity to the whole experience that I’ve only ever experienced in Europe. Adjoining Le Magritte is the chic, sheltered terrace overlooking tranquil Brown Hart Gardens. With 1920s-style rattan armchairs and cafĂ© tables enfolded by lush greenery, you feel as if you have been transported to a fairer time. The Terrace serves drinks alongside a menu of light dishes from early until late evening. Drinks-wise me and my guest decided to try the famous Empire Of Light – which is Vida Mezcal mixed with Torino Rosso, Amaro Averna and orange zest oil and the Oasis 1925 – which is a gin-based cocktail, in which the gin has been distilled in Cognac. To partner these delightful drinks we decided to go for a selection of light options which included Le Magritta’s famous Corndogs alongside Devilled Eggs with Caviar and their take on French Toast With Bacon Jam and Truffle. And for those of you that are inclined, there’s an exceptional selection of Cuban Cigars, including classic line, regional and limited editions, all for the right price obviously. Now when you order what is commonly known as ‘Bar Food’ you know what you’re getting a lot of the time which is mediocre at best. Le Magritte not only blew the doors off our expectations they hit the reset button completely. The food, which can only be described as obscenely satisfying and pleasantly luxurious, sparks the imagination for what is possible with good quality ingredients and an able chef. That food in tandem with beautiful, tranquil surroundings and brilliant staff makes Le Magritte, in my books, one of the most superior and enjoyable bar experiences in London at the moment and is an establishment which still prides itself on getting the basics right. Just as they did in the heyday of the 1920s. Never again will we look at bar snacks the same and all those that follow this experience have a high mark to hit. Congratulations Le Magritte, you have my heart, my stomach and my wallet. Book your table now Thebeaumont.com

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