As part of lovely girlfriend’s birthday, we (surprisingly!) went for cocktails. The chosen venue was Dandelyan. The bar from mixologist of note, Mr Lyan, in the Mondrian Hotel in the sea containers building on the south bank. Sea containers is amazing. It is one of the ugliest buildings in London – it’s got a lovely view out over the Thames and when you’re inside it, you can’t actually see it.
The bar is much lauded, and quite frankly, I can see why. It does look a bit like a modern hotel bar, but not in a cheap/tacky way, has enough bubbly vibe to be exciting but also quiet enough to have a conversation. Amazing. The staff were chatty without being intrusive and happy to give suggestions, or not, if you didn’t want them. The absolute star of the show was the drinks. There was a table of 8 of us, and we were all excitedly swapping sips to taste all of the amazingness. I must have tried around 18 cocktails from their pretty extensive menu. Not one of them was a dud.
The vibe of the menu is botanical. It uses plenty of lesser known herbs and flowers to give interesting twists to classics as well as some new creations of their own. Don’t worry, I’m not going to give a run-down of everything that was drank that night – but the biased selection that was ordered by me. I was in a dark spirits mood – as you’ll probably be able to tell.
First up was a Oak Island Old Fashioned. It was a rum old fashioned with coconut husk, cocoa and labdanum (a resin from a type of rose, apparently!). It was delicious – everything you’d want from a rum old fashioned – the cocoa balanced the sweetness of the rum and the labdanum gave it an unidentified incenseness that was nom.
Hitting the rock’n’roll section of the menu next involved a Velvet Brew. This contained Piña; Tepache, Olmeca Altos, Del Maguey Vida (no, other than the Olmeca, I don’t know either – turns out the first is a pineapple based drink and the last is a mezcal). Ooof! This is a BIG drink boozy, fruity and smokey. The aftertaste lasted for ages. Thankfully it was an delicious after-taste. I should have heeded the menu warning that described it as a last drink of the night – it took my taste buds a fair while to recover after this.
My final drink of the evening was a Beaune Wine. Cognac, ginger, saffron and dry banana wine. It was lovely and spicy. While not as big as the Velvet Brew, it rounded the evening off nicely.
As I was settling up the bill, the waiter mentioned that it was the first night of a new menu, and the entire staff were terrified – The flawlessness of everything was even more impressive than I’d thought!
20 Upper Ground
London, SE1 9PD