Silverleaf is a new cocktail destination located in Pan Pacific London – a collaboration between the hotel team, Tom Dixon’s design studio, and drinks industry experts (namely, Chris Tanner and Martyn “Simo” Simpson, Director of Bars and Managing Director of Milroy’s respectively, and Liam Broom; former Bar Manager at Callooh Callay). It is a breathtaking space boasting an innovative cocktail menu, and a whole host of intrigue. We pop in to check out the space and see what’s what.
We’re pretty familiar with Liverpool Street and the surrounding areas, so when we’re told that Silverleaf is situated within Pan Pacific London on Houndsditch street, we’re pretty confident in our ability to find the spot. Turns out, we’re wrong to put so much faith in ourselves and, after 10 minutes of wandering around the square, we pop into the hotel reception and are directed around the corner to a hidden nook in the 144-year-old Devonshire House – a separate building adjacent to the hotel.
Whilst not being able to find your way to a desired location can often be irritating, this is one of the rare occasions when it adds to the building sense of anticipation.
The entrance to Silverleaf is marked by a handsome, Diptyque-esque black sign, fixed to a white, brick wall. As we approach, a well-dressed doorman appears from inside the doorway, guarding a lift area that has the feel of a back-of-house service area. He checks our reservation and ushers us into the lift, pressing the button for the third floor and sending us on our way…
The lift opens onto a dark corridor. Light and shadows play through a reeded glass door, highlighting the subtle signage of the bar. We step through the doors and are met by interiors we can only describe as ‘very Dixon’. A palette of greys, blacks, whites, and browns speak to the “naturalism and elements” design inspiration, with accents of burnt orange, coral pinks, and mossy greens. The selection of materials used within the space mirror the elements’ core natural and tactile qualities, such as blackened hot rolled steel, marble, charred timber, and salt-glazed hand-crafted British bricks. Standout design features include a huge stone installation on the ceiling over the host desk, and bespoke tables carved from solid marble blocks, hugged by cosy banquette booths. The bar stretches the length of the room and is built from a striking split-rock edge face marble. An enticing collection of spirits sits behind it, including some rare and unusual gems.
The space is the embodiment of design chic. Sultry and seductive, with carefully curated mood lighting and a variety of seating arrangements, Silverleaf somehow manages to be the ideal location for both a romantic engagement and business drinks.
Liam shows us to a stunning, semi-private room that will provide intimate drinking experiences for up to 12 people. A half-circle bar, surrounded by high-stool seating gives drinkers the chance to interact with their bartender and enjoy rare drams, just removed from the main bar.
Not your average Menu
Our charming host, Jack, walks us back through the main space to our seat on the more-for-style than-comfort central green leather ‘sofa’, and leaves us to peruse the menu.
Like the space itself, it is a work of art. Designed in collaboration with the Tom Dixon team, the booklet depicts core flavour profiles that have been translated into symbols. Each drink is attributed four such ciphers (e.g. Dry, Mineral, Wood, Smoke); these have in turn been transformed into textured paintings, whose glossy photographs adorn the corresponding page. The idea here is that you engage with the artwork to get a feeling of how each drink tastes. For those looking for a more traditional style of menu, this can be found at the back of the book (however we do encourage you to get involved in the boozy synaesthesia as it’s great fun)! As you might expect, cocktails (all £15) are the main focus, but there is also a selection of wines, beers, and soft drinks, as well as an impressive list of spirits. [See full menu here]
After a fair bit of ogling, stroking, and leafing through the unusual menu, we are pulled back to the room by our wonderful server, Cátia, who answers our litany of questions about each cocktail, offers helpful suggestions, and finally takes our order once we’ve finished grilling her.
Hibiscus Guajillo (Bruxo X mezcal, Silverleaf verdant sorrel vermouth, Guajillo chilli tincture, hibiscus, cacao nib) and Strawberry Lapsang (Nikka Days Japanese whisky, Port Charlotte Islay whisky, Verjus, strawberry water, Lapsang Souchong tea) arrive quickly. Hibiscus has a deliciously light, smoky aroma with notes of roasted agave. As we sip, we’re rewarded by an unctuous mouthfeel that throws up a complex array of flavours. Sweet thickness from the vermouth has a background herbaceousness that pairs with the earthy cacao and agave. Hibiscus and sorrel add bright, tart, and gently astringent qualities, whilst a tiny tingle of chilli can be felt on the roof of the mouth, with Guajillo’s deep flavours rounding back to the earthy nibs. Strawberry Lapsang is similarly aromatic with wild strawberry, smoky lapsang, and a hint of peat wafting up from the glass. The intensity of the strawberry is incredible! Both juicy ripe fruit and confected notes work winningly with the honeyed Nikka Days. Lapsang and peat are a combo made in heaven, playfully parrying against their fruity sparring partner.
Our next cocktails arrive in similarly elegant glassware as the first round. Poached Pear Anise sits in a wine glass, marked with a thick layer of blackberry and yoghourt paint. The cocktail itself is a cognac milk punch full of English orchard fruit spiked with bright, warming anise and oak spice. Pear eau de vie, poached pear riesling and pear juice, pull out the top notes from the Rémy Martin 1738 cognac, with funky apple and tart tightness in the Somerset cider 5-year-old brandy adding to the trifle. Citrus balances the offering to create a juicy, gently dry, and delicious drink. Whilst the Peached Pear Anise features a ‘Rich’ symbol, it remains light and very easy-drinking.
Rhubarb Tonka is an even more quaffable affair. This very gently carbonated highball features bright fruity character, pisco, vodka, pear eau de vie, and sweet yet zingy Champagne-fermented rhubarb, finished with a divine tonka distillate.
We return to the menu in search of heavier cocktails to end our night on, making full use of the flavour profile symbols and enjoying the fact that we’re starting to recognise them. Following Cátia’s advice, we end with the Old Fashioned style Pineapple Miso (Craigellachie 13-year-old whisky, brown butter, Eagle Rare 10, pineapple & miso caramel) and the unusual Martini-esque Verbena Olive Oil (Roku gin, olive oil, Axia Mastiha Dry, lemon verbena cordial, orange bitters).
Fat-washed with brown butter, the first is bodaciously thick with juicy pineapple teasing out oodles of fruit from Craigellachie 13-year-old whisky, and miso caramel bringing umami salted caramel vibes. The fat-washing removes any boozy kick, making this twist on an Old Fashioned super smashable.
Our final cocktail is much the same, with no booze bite and lots of flavour. The bright birch syrup notes of the mastiha work with Roku’s sweet florals to create a light and hopeful palate. Olive oil-washed gin adds silk whilst verbena and orange bitters introduce sweet and aromatic citrus. It’s a wonderful drink that, for some reason, reminds us of a luxury lounge in an airport (don’t ask us why, but it was a very strong feeling so into this review it goes). The flavours sing out, developing as the glass warms and we sink back into the seat.
Silverleaf is definitely a solid new player on the City drinks scene. Its prime location, gorgeous interiors, and creative menu make it a brilliant addition to London’s cocktail scene. With knowledgable staff and well-crafted cocktails, it’s bound to be a favourite new spot for those looking for elegant, quaffable cocktails in a serene and atmospheric setting.