Friday, June 30, 2006

New Hotel Smell

Hilton opened up a new Hotel at Canary Wharf this week. Didn't get a chance to stay there, but was determined to drop in for a drink one night this week. It's often a bad idea to visit a new restaurant or bar in the first couple of weeks as they work out the logistical kinks, but it was a special occasion. And bad service makes for good blogging, so what the hell.

"Cinnamon" was the name of the lobby bar. Interesting cocktail menu, so as I waited for my companions to join me, I ordered the signature drink, the Cinnamon martini. Vodka, cinnamon schnapps, lime juice. "I'm so sorry", the waiter informed me, "We didn't get our Cinnamon delivery in". Off to a stellar start. So I ordered the "Marsh Wall" instead. Peppered vodka, peach schnapps, pineapple juice, basil and strawberries. Very yummy, but the strawberries kept getting clogged in the straw so was very annoying for the last few sips. Had to keep trying to clear the airway, and was paranoid I was going to blow strawberry juice all over the walls. Switched to a South African Sauvignon Blanc after that.

Sheena likes this trend over here of using peppered vodka and crushed chiles in fruity drinks. Interesting combination of soothing and spicy. Must buy some for home this summer.

Was very odd that the waiter brought us separate checks with every individual drink. When we were ready to go I picked up about a 3 inch stack of paper chits and settled up with the credit card. Commented to him that it was odd, and he replied that it was "Hilton policy". Right. Whatever.

The bathroom kind of weirded me out. Sheena understands that Brit ladies like their privacy, but completely enclosed stalls with no escape hatch almost made me claustrophobic. What if the door handled jammed? What if the lock broke? Barely a millimetre of gap at the bottom and top. No one could ever see you.

Over to La Tasca Tapas Bar. Gorgeous night so we sat on the patio under the glow of money from the surrounding bank towers. Had the Patatas a la Pobre (roasted potato & sweet peppers) and Ensalada de Tomate y Queso de Cabra (tomato and goat cheese salad) to start. Ordered a bottle of Alsina y Sardá Brut Grand Reserva Cava. Decent spanish bubbly, but at £26, would have rather had 4 Argentinian Moets.

Shared the Paella Valenciana (chicken & seafood). Ordered for 2, but it was enough for 4 people. Wished I had a fridge to take back a most excellent doggy bag. Downside to eating outside was that it was rather dark, so when you thought you were grabbing a shrimp, it turned out to be a hunk of chicken. Made the dining experience more interesting, I suppose.

Toasted to good times, good friends. And smokin' hot Spanish waiters in tight pants.


At 12:46 PM, Blogger petite gourmand said...

sounds divine....
the waiters that is...;)

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Chuckercanuck said...

I'm sippin' a classic Coke-cola right now, bottled in Montreal and kept chilly at 6 degrees.

I have paired that with a souvlaki platter from a place that doesn't know tzatiki from yogurt with cucumbers mashed in. Every souvlaki plate in Montreal - even at the finer establishments with their own logos printed on the napkins - includes rice and fries/potatoes.

I don't understand why two starches are necessary.

Final comment: the feta chunks are small, mild and suspiciously cows-milky. Without a thick slab of the real deal, souvlaki makes no sense to me.


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