With the release of Gatsby earlier this summer, the world went slightly Art Deco and Prohibition mad.
And I’m not complaining – from the architecture to the drama, the history and the style, it is an era I love.
I’m not alone in that. It seems many of us do, although we equally tend to forget that it was also a time when thousands were poisoned from bad liquor during Prohibition and huge numbers jumped off of skyscrapers to release themselves from the strain of the great financial crash of ’28 and the ensuing Depression. In times of our own austerity, it seems nostalgia for times past grows ever greater. Cue: the fawning over all things Flapper!
In London, this has meant Art Deco inspired parties, 1920s waistlines sneaking their way into fashion and pop-ups tuned in to the interest.
One such place I’ve headed to of late has been The Hutch Club at the posh Quaglino’s restaurant in St James’s, which is offering up a selection of interesting cocktails (including whisky ones sponsored by The Macallan) and canapes. The Club launched a few weeks back and is named after ‘Hutch’ a popular cabaret entertainer in 1920s London. I was able to attend opening night but unfortunately, there was a crush of people and I wasn’t able to try any of the whisky cocktails on offer to find out what they were like.
Luckily, I had a spare moment to pop back last week and my initial impressions were altered considerably – mostly due to the fact I a) had enough space to breathe and b) was able to actually check out the decor.
The club is set on the floor above the main restaurant, which is an incredibly impressive space (worth popping in for a drink or food there even after this pop-up is done). On the mid-week night of my visit, the club was more relaxed into itself. It features two bars, a large shiny piano and lots of cosy spots to sit in seclusion and sip cocktails in the dim lighting. The Club, I’m told, picks up on Thursdays-Saturdays when more of a speakeasy jazz style atmosphere takes over.
As I was on my own, I headed up to the bar and asked to try the Mayfair Stroller – a mix of Macallan Amber, sweet vermouth and campari on the rocks. There are two other whisky offerings to choose from: the classic Rob Roy and a Chocolate Old Fashioned (chocolate bitters, a teaspoon of sugar, Macallan Amber and a dash of Mozart Black with a maraschino cherry). The drink was classic and refreshing, a perfect way to ease into the evening ahead, although I would have preferred slightly more whisky in my serving (but, that might just be me).
To go along with this I sampled some alcoholic popcorn (popcorn with a caramel macchiato and whisky flavouring), and a set of canapes, which were the most impressive aspect of the bar’s offerings and included salmon tartar with a Stolichnaya vodka jelly, duck breast with a courvoisier cognac, cherry and chilli dressing, and an oyster with a No 3 London dry gin soup. To finish, I sampled the gooey smoked chocolate ice cream with a Macallan Amber whisky cream. It was all divine, bar the gin soup which I found quite confusing and overly herbal in taste.
Like many things in London, The Hutch Club won’t be around long (it’s due to close on the 31 August) so if you’re into your Great Gatsby era stylings, I’d recommend popping along. Just be sure to arrive early on the days later in the week so you can score a spot to sit down and enjoy your drinks in style.
With thanks to Quaglino’s and The Hutch Club for arranging my visit. For more information on the Club and to make reservations (which are mandatory), ring them on 020 7930 6767 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.