London – 4/6/17 – Hoppers, American Bar, the Gibson, and Street XO

Hoppers
I generally quite detest the possibility of waiting in a line to get into a restaurant but will make somewhat of an exception if it suits my schedule to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to opening and be guaranteed the first seating.  Most often this rules the spot out entirely but I am glad that I made the effort for Hoppers as soon as my flight landed.  I have been missing out having never before tried a hopper – the Sri Lankan crepe of sorts made with a batter of fermented rice and coconut (enhanced further by an egg fried into the bottom).  This will be at the top of my to-do list for my next trip to London. Delicious all around.

arrack attacked – arrack, lime, bitters, house ginger beer
hot butter devilled shrimps

egg hopper and lamb kari

American Bar at the Savoy
I wish I could remember what was in it, but months later of course I cannot.  However this was the best cocktail I had on this particular trip made by an absolutely lovely bartender.  American Bar ranked #2 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list for 2016 and is certainly worth a visit.

The Gibson
Unfortunately all ‘best’ lists end up filled with those places that deserve to be on the list and those that shouldn’t be there in any rational world.  Somehow the Gibson ranks #6 on the same World’s Best Bars 0f 2016 list.  Perhaps I would have fared better if I had kept to a classic Gibson.  I think the photos pretty much speak for themselves as the fairly out-of-control garnishes completely destroyed the drinks as they fell in and changed the flavor and became a soggy mess.  I did love the candy but it would have been better on the side!


garnishes

Street XO
I didn’t intend to plan such a theatrical evening but somehow it worked out that way. Everything about Street XO is a bit over-the-top from the uniforms to the plating. So much so that I almost expected to hate it but thought the flavors were quite good, even the unexpected combinations. I was seated overlooking the kitchen which is always the best spot. However the exhaust system was completely terrible (I’m not sure if this was the normal state or it was broken) and my eyes were burning and my clothing and hair reeked when I left. Nobody wants to add drycleaning to the dinner bill. It was fairly intolerable yet I did order an extra dish and suffered it out because I was enjoying the food so much.

grilled squid with green papaya, sour & spicy hibiscus dressing, peanuts, fine herbs and lime pesto with a shot of Thai Rebujito

Galician grilled octopus, tomatillo and green apple mole with creamy yuzu potato bonbons

Pekinese dumplings, strawberry hoisin, Ali-oli and pickles

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