Of all the four-wheeled vehicles that people get excited about these days, the one that, bizarrely, receives the least attention is the drinks trolley
Of all the four-wheeled vehicles that people get excited about these days, the one that, bizarrely, receives the least attention is the drinks trolley. Until this week your correspondent had two favourite such devices in London: the one at Dukes and the one at the Connaught (their martini trolley is pictured above left). Now he has a third: at the 1901 restaurant at the Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel.
1901 occupies the former ballroom of the former Great Eastern Hotel (where, incidentally, Van Helsing stays when he first arrives in London in Dracula – the book, not the movie). A few years back the building was given a Terence Conran makeover and subsequently became the first of the Andaz portfolio – the cool kids of the Hyatt family.
All creamy late Victoriana beneath a ravishing stained-glass dome, 1901 is one of the loveliest dining rooms in London. There’s a marble-topped bar in the middle, around which a winningly cheerful team of waiters, waitresses, sommeliers and (no kidding) cheese experts circulate – as well as certain very interesting young men and women who, if summoned, will conduct into your midst a trolley laden some 80 varieties of top-notch whisky, mostly single malts but also blends and bourbons. (There is another trolley for cognacs.)
Just to be clear: 1901 is not merely a drinks-trolley circuit with a bar in the middle. It’s also a restaurant, with a contemporary-British tasting menu that, at £60 for six courses, is an almost unfeasibly good deal. Nevertheless, for your correspondent, it’s the whisky trolley that clinches it.
The sight and sound of this quaint double-decker contraption rattling and clinking its way towards your table – bottles jostling as closely and glowing as prettily as the Hong Kong skyline at night – is intoxication itself. Or just about.
There are one or two other places in London where you might order a dram of 50-year-old Glenfarclas (only 87 bottles of which elixir were ever produced), but none where you can have it delivered to your table in such high style. If you’re going to get trolleyed in the City, this is the place to do it.
1901, 40 Liverpool Street, EC2M 7QN (020 7618 7123; www.andazdining.com/1901)