No whines about Dandelyan at the Mondrian. –

After a thoroughly enjoyable and educational Nikka whiskey club tasting at Vinopolis I decided to wend my slightly wobbly way along the Southbank towards Waterloo. As I passed the newly refurbished Sea Containers House my eyes were drawn to a beautifully stylish bar basking in full view behind floor to ceiling windows.

It was still early, the bar looked enticing and realising that this was the Dandelyan bar of the new Mondrian Hotel I decided to drop in for a stiffener before my journey home.

I was warmly welcomed by the bar staff, took a seat at the sumptuous, green marble bar and perused the cocktail menu. This offers a range of signatures cocktails carefully crafted to make the most of seasonal and herbal ingredients. The menu kindly guides you through cocktails split into cereal, vegetal, mineral and floral categories – and handily recommends which drinks suit which time of the day.

Award winning mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana, AKA Mr Lyan, was a welcoming figure behind the bar, and along with his very well informed team, gave me chapter and verse on the origins and thinking behind the drinks. It was quite a challenge to choose, so I plumped for the first cocktail on the menu ‘Puffed Grains and Chocolate. This combination of scotch, curaƧao, malted grains and pink pepper was at once uplifting, comforting and oddly reminiscent of coco pops.

It was also very moreish, but I resisted the urge to order another and settled for something different for my second drink. After much deliberation and discussion I decided to see if I could lay to rest the memory of two flavours that have not been too kind to me over the years. The first was tequila, the second was pine, which in my experience was associated with cheap retsina and mighty hangovers on backpacking Greek island hopping holidays. To that end I opted for the Elderfir from the vegetal selection, a combination of Douglas fir, Tapatio tequila, Kamm and Sons (a delicious citrusy, bittersweet British aperitif), grapefruit and elderflower.

Served in a small bottle, with the sprig of fir floating in its midst, this was most enjoyable. The tequila undertones were ever present but the influence of the fir was actually quite festive and reminded me that Christmas is coming and this stretch of the Southbank would soon be full of seasonal stalls and sparkly lights.

I would have loved to explore the menu further but the lure of home meant my investigations would have to wait for another day… and there will be another day as the combination of stylish, dark decor, delicious drinks, knowledgeable friendly staff and a great view across the river towards St. Paul’s will surely make Dandelyan a firm favourite for the future.

The Mondrian Hotel
20 Upper Ground