I’m not a big fan of a place that doesn’t have a stuffed antelope wearing a peacock suit pinned above its bar. So I was thrilled when I arrived for a pre dinner cocktail at Waeska, the bar at Fitzrovia’s Mandrake Hotel.
We are here to review Yopo, the Mandrake’s restaurant. Forget everything you know about hotel restaurants. This place is another world. The lightning in Waeska, (named after a psychoactive Amazonian plant I’m told) is on the dark side of intimate and there are Central American artefacts adorning the walls.The feel is far more night club than gentlemen’s club.
The restaurant is separated from the bar by a glass walled courtyard, which at night gives a smoke and mirrors effect adding to this surreal atmosphere. Food is described as modern European with South America influences and is beautifully unfussy. A celebration of quality ingredients.
A couple of Dorset rock oysters with Champagne granita were the perfect accompaniment to a glass of fizz and a raw beef and radish, shiso and sesame roll completed our pre-starters. Chorizo, Brussels Sprouts and squid is an interesting combination and one that works surprisingly well. Squid was tender and leaves of delaminated sprout worked as little vessels for the dressing.
The plate of sea bass ceviche was as beautiful as it was simple with it’s pale, translucent flesh contrasting the blood orange and nasturtium. Mains of Lamb loin and octopus were respectively exquisite.
Hotel restaurants in the capital are changing. More and more are they statements in their own right and not just a bolt-on to the main event. Yopo is a fantastic example of this, easily holding its own as a stand-alone restaurant. And for an evening of wacky interiors potent cocktails and first class grub, I cannot recommend it more.
GO TO: yopo.london
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Inspiration/Image Credits: yopo.london