“I am easily satisfied with the very best” – The celebrated words of Sir Winston Churchill, the inspirational statesman, Nobel Prize winning writer, and two-time 1940’s, conservative Prime Minister. Born within the illustrious grandeur of Blenheim Palace in Oxford, Sir Winston’s affluent aristocratic ancestry and penchant for the finer things in life, has inspired the elegantly luxe surroundings of one of London’s finest cocktail destinations, The Churchill Bar and Terrace.
Settled in the leafy grounds of Portman Square in the heart of Marylebone, the sophisticated bar sits inside the Hyatt Regency London, and the prestigious, marble clad five-star establishment was granted the blessings of the Winston family to be named after their esteemed forefather, following his death in 1965.
Dripping in British authenticity and Sir Winston’s legacy, the celebration of his prosperous life was aided courtesy of a multimillion-dollar refurbishment. The hotel and bar reopened its doors in 2017 after working in tight knit proximity with the Winston family themselves, which led to an exquisitely sumptuous destination their ancestor would have delighted in.
Here I experienced an array of artisanal cocktail creations, and delectable gourmet dishes whilst soaking up both their indoor and year-round terrace, redesigned and enhanced to the upmost Covid safety standards for peace of mind.
Access to the cocktail bar was available via their own separate entrance, where I was immediately greeted by the suited, booted, and Covid secure team. The glamorous, Art Deco style indoor bar was a real visual treat, with settings of gold fixtures, spotlight lighting, chocolate wooden flooring and sapphire velvet seating, all swathed in the life and history of its namesake and his beloved wife Clementine.
The book-filled shelves carefully curated by Daunt Books reflected the couple’s love for fine literacy, whilst the soft knitted toy animals served as a nod to Sir Winston’s affection for these gentle beings. The walls, adorned with authentic love letters to Clementine transported me to their whirlwind fairy tale that was guaranteed to send hearts a flutter in the most die hard romantics.
The neighbouring heated, outdoor cigar terrace proved no less pleasing, with an abundance of bright green foliage, carefully spaced out and contemporary designed table seating to relax with an upmarket, handpicked cigar. The finishes were complete with the personal Winston touches of a commissioned artwork showcase by Zoom Rockman, displayed to depict the life of the former Prime Minister on both a public and private scale. The icing on the cake rested with Lawrence Holofcener’s sculpture of a junior Winston, keeping the guests entertained whilst enjoying a well deserved, cocktail evening amidst the alfresco atmosphere of the terrace. Placed inside the sculpture’s lapel was a fresh fragrant rose, replaced on a daily basis by the staff as a heart-warming reflection of Clementine’s daily routine.
Sitting at my table wrapped up in a soft warm blanket to keep the nip in the air at bay, the evening started off with my first cocktail ordered via contact free QR Codes; The Aristocrat. Based on Sir Winston’s favourite breakfast of buttered toast, the cloudy concoction served on a round marble stone slab, was a far cry from my usual preferred fruity and sweetish blends, however equally pleasing to the palate. Mixed to exceptional artisanal standards, the infusion of savoury toasted notes from Havana rum rubbed off the sharp bubbles of Veuve Clicquot Brut, with a rich fortified butter finished with a large ice cube to balance and lighten the richness.
Accompanying The Aristocrat were a selection of freshly introduced, premium light bites worthy of being served to the titled individual, including The Churchill Cucumber, saffron arancini, and Cornish whitebait. A childhood love for cucumbers, I was intrigued to experience the popular salad accompaniment as a stand-alone, luxury bar snack; the result was a moreish outcome, lightly pickled circles, topped with a creamy sour cream and droplet of sweet honey. The warm, melt in the mouth arancini synced perfectly with the hints of saffron and truffle mayo, whilst the crispy richness of the whitebait was toned down by the citrus sharpness of the grilled lemon.
Following its aristocratic predecessor and right up my street was The Writer, an orangery yellow amalgamation of sweet tartness from rhubarb and apple gin, swirled with creamy tones of William Fox custard syrup and silky egg white, served in a martini goblet dusted with rhubarb powder for an Instagram spotlight moment.
Served with the cocktail and rounding off the evening were a helping of painstakingly, delicately sliced shoestring fries, beautifully uplifted with sprinklings of heady Rosemary that left me reaching for more. The winning dish of the evening rested with the miniature versions of The Traveller; succulent, crispy chicken burgers loaded with fresh smashed avocado, crisp salad and spicy jalapeño mayo.
As the hospitality world has once again been hit by the king size Covid curveball with the 10pm curfew, The Churchill Bar has shown admirable resilience to hold their award-winning reputation with the latest delicious daytime brunch offering. The mouth-watering menu serves up an assortment of dishes perfect for Sir Winston’s indulgent appetite, from the sunny side duck eggs with beef croquettes, soft shell crab on crispy French toast, and Clementine’s dessert omelette loaded with rich chocolate and clementine pieces, with each dish accompanied by a complimentary craft concoction delivered by the formidable mixologist team.
In a nutshell
The Churchill Bar and Terrace remains open 12 months a year to both guests and the public, playing to the four seasons with Cuban themed summer nights, and heated snuggle fest winter evenings. With a multi skilled, diverse team dedicated to offering an immersive like experience parallel to the opulent lifestyle of one of the country’s finest statesman, the Churchill Bar sits as one of London’s finest gems which their alias would have thrived in.
Address: Hyatt Regency, 30 Portman Square, Marylebone, London, W1H 7BH
Phone: 0207 299 2035
Images courtesy of The Churchill Bar and Terrace.