This month saw the launch of the first of three new Mr Fogg’s venues slated to open this year. We sauntered down to Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals in Fitzrovia to see how the latest addition to the Inception Group family stacked up.
Those familiar with any of Mr Fogg’s other establishments will instantly recognise the eclectic decor of a colonial British explorer that pervades the troupe of drinking dens. Here, however, the theme has been taken a step further. The downstairs “walk-ins welcome” bar resembles a Victorian Summer House, with a large bed of fronds and palms positioned at its heart and encircled by bar stools. Birdcages filled with hanging plants drop down from the ceiling and waiters in straw hats wander amongst imbibers distributing Monstera leaf-shaped menus.
We are greeted by a suspender-wearing, iPad-holding host who takes our name and points at their colleague who is theatrically (intentionally or not) surveying the bar below from a spiral staircase. We make our way over and are led up to what we can only describe as “The Parlour” – a panelled room bedecked with prim and proper (somewhat uncomfortable) floral chairs, heavy curtains, potted Rubber plants and copious amounts of uncanny oil paintings. The bar is similar in style to the one downstairs, with a front resembling an apothecary’s set of drawers and a back shelf decorated with spirit bottles and flowers in bell jars.
We take our seat in an alcove and are presented with the “upstairs menu”, The Language of Flowers that instantly calls to mind Dandelyan’s first menu. Interested to see Mr Fogg’s take on the now not uncommon theme, we flick through the pages. Prettily divvied up into sections (Beauty, Courtship, Friendship, and Love & Affection) each with a quote about Mr Fogg from Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days and three cocktails a-piece, the menu features delightful paintings of flowers the drinks take their names from.
We start the evening with the lightly floral Cherry Blossom (Star of Bombay gin, Evangelista Ratafia liqueur, falernum, almond, pineapple, lime and sakura tea foam; £13) that comes flashily presented in its very own terrarium – a serving decision we were left divided on. The content however had us firmly on the same page. Refined and delicious with a delicate sweetness tempered by the gently citric foam, it is a lovely cocktail to kick off proceedings.
Our next pick, Nose Tweaker (Enemigo 89 Añejo Cristalino tequila, Cocchi Americano Rosa aperitif, prickly pear, honey water, fresh grapefruit, lime and chilli; £14) is equally as titillating with its chilli garnish and ice sprinkled with purple powder. The brightness of the grapefruit and lime are matched with the rounded pear and honey to bring a sweet-sour combo that is refreshing and complex. A prickle of heat from the chilli comes through at the end and lingers at the back of the throat.
For our final cocktail, we alight on Clock Flower (Woodford Reserve Bourbon whiskey, Green Chartreuse herbal liqueur, Essentiae Erba Cedrina liqueur, eucalyptus and dandelion & burdock bitters; £13), and are not disappointment. Gorgeously presented once more, this time with a lattice of dark chocolate balancing across the rim of a ceramic cup, our first sip is overtaken by the woody scent of cocoa that grounds the herbaceous, mildly medicinal drink. A syrupy sweetness is present, working with the herbal green chartreuse and eucalyptus to culminate in a complex and grown-up drink with the decadent twist of a messy garnish.
All-in-all, Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals lives up to the rest of the Mr Fogg’s estate. Drinks are delivered with finesse, staff are friendly, and the atmosphere is perfectly suited to after-work drinks.
Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals, 48 Newman Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1QQ
Book your table via online here or via the impossibly posh voice on the phone messaging service on 020 7590 5256.