Seek Out the all-new Hyde Bar, Paddington

21 May 2017

In a city like London, it's easy to come across a bar you've never heard of, but if it's never appeared in listings or recommendations, you don't expect big things.

Heading to Hyde Bar at the Royal Park Hotel, I expected a plain, standard hotel bar — particularly as the website calls The Hyde a “traditional hotel bar.”

However, the website also promises a “refined luxury experience” with a focus on whiskeys and cognacs, so it definitely seemed worth a shot, and I headed to check it out on a Wednesday evening.

Turn down Westbourne Terrace off the busy Craven Road, and you’ll be convinced you’re in the wrong spot. A quiet and leafy residential street, the hotel was slightly hard to find as it’s gated and set back from the street. With no sign of the bar from the outside, I had to ring a bell to get in, but was immediately greeted by a doorman who led me into a glowing, warm, and cosy bar.

With two rooms to sit in — a quiet spot with an open fireplace, or the bar area itself — the place was empty, barring one man enjoying a drink alone in typical hotel bar fashion. However, over the evening a few pairs trickled in.

The hotel and bar manage to stay in 19th century style with original period artwork, luxe mahogany and rosewood Georgian furniture and antiques. The low music provided a perfect jazzy soundtrack that also offered a step back in time, perfectly fitting with the surroundings.

From the moment we arrived, the staff were incredibly attentive, taking coats, talking us through the menu, and offering friendly chat and recommendations.

To wet our whistles, we opted for the Stealing Beauty (£16) made with grappa, velvet liqueur, lime, lillet rouge, Champagne, and spiced Aperol forth, as well as the E Pluribus Unum (£16), made with Monkey 47 gin, hibiscus shrub, basil, and Champagne. While the Stealing Beauty was slightly too intense and bitter for my liking, the latter was a perfectly refreshing gin cocktail — and both were beautifully presented.

The whiskey cocktails — the Golden Dram (£14) with Macallan Gold, cinnamon, lillet rouge, homemade apple and balsamic essence, and bitters, and the Artist’s Highball (£14) with Great King Street Whisky, maple, lime, bee pollen soda, and ylang ylang essence — were certainly the highlight.

The bar’s menu of “small plates” was also much more impressive than I anticipated, with plenty of choice. We opted for the delicious Scallops and Boudin Noir with a Sweet Corn Puree and Crispy Sage (£11), refreshing Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Salsa Verde (£9), Saute of Wild Mushrooms with Brioche and Truffle Creme Fraiche (£10), and the surprisingly tasty Shaved Asparagus and Mint Salad (£5).

We finished off our evening of indulgence with a glass of 2014 Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive, Trimbach, France (£13.50), a perfectly paired wine for the divine Sweet Potato and Pecan Fritters with maple syrup and honeycomb (£7) and the light Chocolate and Beetroot Cake with Greek Yogurt Crème Fraîche (£7).

The Hyde Bar provided one of the nicest evenings I’ve had in a long time, thanks to its cosy atmosphere, friendly and attentive staff, delicious food, and well-prepared cocktails. However, the experience will cost you — £16 cocktails are pretty steep, and the small plates, which were quite small, indeed, also didn’t come cheap.

However, whether you save it for a splurge occasion or simply go for a single cocktail on date night, make sure you treat yourself to the experience at least once — you deserve it.

Alison

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