Monday, 6 June 2011

One New Change, One New Champagne Bar

By Anastasia Hancock.

You gotta love this job. Tuesday night, and I find myself standing in the heart of the City chatting to the nice people from Lanson, having my glass topped up with Champagne by a lovely young French man (originally from the Champagne region in France, natch) from a magnum of Gold Label Vintage 98. Not bad, eh?

“Smoked salmon, creamed black pepper goats curd and Sevruga caviar canapĂ©?”
Why yes, why not.

The hosts for the evening were Searcys, the clever lot behind the bar found at the tip of The Gherkin and St Pancras’ Grand (although can somebody please explain to me how this is Europe’s longest champagne bar?). Apparently it was high time that London had another champers bar – we are coming out of a recession after all, so why the hell not?

The Searcys company is known for prize locations, and venues can be found dotted around various London hotspots, such as The Hurlingham Club, The Commonwealth Club and Inner Temple. Basically, anywhere that requires a black AmEx card, an SW1X postcode, or a proven blood link to minor royalty.

“Top up, madame? Perhaps the multi vintage Lanson Extra Age Brut?”
It’s mademoiselle actually, but go on then.

Given Searcys’ penchant for exclusivity, I found it slightly odd, sandwiched, as I was, between City gents and glamorous young things, to be staring out of the glass walls into Banana Republic on one side and The North Face on the other. The One New Change shopping centre is the home to Searcys’ new Champagne bar. This Champagene bar is a small bar, tucked away in the middle of the mall, presumably aimed at those who simply can’t manage an afternoon’s shopping without a glass of bubbly to fortify them.

“Foie gras pain d’epice macaroon?”
Don’t mind if I do…wait a minute, what the…?

The low point of the evening was the moment I put the sickly sweet, faintly chewy macaroon sandwiched together with foie gras in my mouth. This was a genuinely disastrous combination, and of all the many, many canapĂ©s I have plucked from lofty silver trays in my time, this was hands down the worst I’ve ever tried. My friend watched with amusement as my expression went through several stages of grimace. What a waste of good goose liver.

Still, it didn’t seem to stop the besuited and bebooted crowd, who lapped up Lanson’s finest, and nibbled delicately at ham hock and some dreadful wobbling beetroot and carrot affair. No doubt the lure of the self-proclaimed ‘most extensive list of champagnes available in the City’ will prove irresistible to the Square Milers, passing through on their way to pick up the latest range of hiking equipment.

Looking for further Champagne bar inspiration? Check out the Top 10 Best Champagne bars in London

Or book a table at Searcys St Pancras Grand, Oyster Bar and Restaurant using the booking form below

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