L’Escargot, a bit of a Soho institution (and one of few restaurants that welcomes dogs!), opened its first floor private members club, Club Privé, to the public this August in a collaboration with Fentimans. Since I don’t really want to spend £250 per year (£450 for over 28s!) for membership, I jumped at this chance to get inside!
Fentimans had transformed the glass ceilinged bar into a Victorian style ‘greenhouse’ full of live botanicals. Very fitting to the company themselves, whose beverages are botanically brewed with natural ingredients. These plants, along with Fentimans mixers (naturally), are used to create the six cocktails on offer, each priced at £7;
Lillet Rose – Lillet Blanc , Fentimans Rose lemonade
Citrus Dream – Kettle One Citroen, Rosé Wine, Fentimans Victorian Lemonade
Little Treacle – Dark rum, lime, sugar, bitters and Fentimans Dandelion and Burdock
Curiosity – Bourbon, orange zest, Fentimans Curiosity Cola reduction
Easy Breezy – VII Hills Gin, grapefruit, Fentimans 19.05 Herbal Tonic
Fearless Fun – Tequila, Cointreau, Fentimans Ginger Beer
Between four of us, we tried them all. By far my favourite was the Lillet Rose, which was seasoned with black pepper!
Each day, a selected cocktail is reduced to £5, and if you find one of the golden snails hidden around the botanical bar you can redeem it for a free cocktail! Sadly I didn’t find a golden snail, although I didn’t look very hard!
As will become very obvious as this blog grows, I like my food! And especially a good burger. So I couldn’t resist ordering from the small (but varied!) ‘bar snacks’ menu. I went for the Burger Deluxe with Gruyère and bacon at £14 (which came with fries, thankfully, as fries on their own are £5!).
When I ordered and was told my burger would only be served well done (a well done burger at a French restaurant? Really?) I was a little put off but I have to admit it was still delicious. Very well seasoned and obviously good quality ingredients. No sauces or out of the ordinary garnishes, just nice and simple. Well worth the £14. We also ordered a side of cheese straws priced at £4.
While we were there we were amused to witness a birthday party for VII Hills Gin, completely with cake (which we nabbed a few slices of, naturally!) and Happy Birthday sung to, erm, gin!
And obviously, as we’re unlikely to come back to Club Privé any time soon, we had to have a little nosey around! As well as the bar where the pop up was held, there are three other rooms, including a library and poker room.
This red room was my favourite! (Georgia was a little drunk, haha!)
We had such a lovely night, and loved the bar – it was so open and airy (especially as it was actually such a small space!) and the bar staff were attentive and friendly. It definitely has me wanting to go back!
As for the drinks, they were a bit unusual but it’s nice to try something nice once in a while! I’m still not sold on herbal soft drinks, but I will be purchasing the Rose Lemonade to try on its own!
All photos my own.