Velvet was one of the big launches of the last six months. Hamish Smith dropped by this spring to review Corinthia London's latest bar.
Whether you’re into the silky looped pile that swaddles every possible appointment, Velvet is a silky smooth operation, befitting its venerable figurehead Salvatore Calabrese.
Through the velvet curtains, the bar opens up to a splendid 1920s-themed cave of soft furnishings, a busy bar at its centrepiece and a two-man band in the corner teasing the keys.
The hosts (led by Christian Maspes) in their blue suits glide about the floor offering butler-esque service. It’s 360° attentiveness, from the coat taken to the cushions plumped and the chair pulled towards you – the guest’s role here is purely absorption.
The drinks – the two I tried, anyway – were precisely executed and delicious. The Velvet Smash was just that in texture, and while it borrows from Joerg Meyer’s neoclassical Basil Smash, a daub of Calabrese’s own herbaceous Aqua Bianca is welcome embellishment.
Up next was the fruity and funky Tiky Tok, with Hoxton banana rum, JM Rhum, pineapple tepache, orange juice and banana nectar. At Velvet cocktails weigh at more than £20 a glass – as ever, value is in the wallet of the beholder.
» Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD