2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square
Vista Bar at The Trafalgar hotel
In the flurry of Christmas festivities, Vista (the roof top bar at The Trafalgar hotel) has conjured up its own Five Gold Rings menu. The 23 carat gold menu offers up two light bites, which come in the shape of smoked salmon with caper berries (flecked with gold) at £18, and a chocolate & gold pudding (£14). Ordering this selection between two of you, gives your stomach a little lining for the gold-laced cocktails on the Five Gold Rings menu, and whets your appetite. The salmon provided a salty kick with its shaved fennel and caper berry garnish, and the dark chocolate alcazar, chocolate sauce and brandy snaps was richness itself. Add a sprinkle of 23 carat gold and you end up feeling pretty decadent. As far as eating goes though, this menu is more a taster or pre-cursor to something else. We fleshed things out a little with some dishes from the main menu, including some battered fresh cod bites (£10), which were absolutely delicious, very generous in size and a good tummy-filler, a rock oyster platter (£14) and mini chorizo sausages with rioja wine (£9).
The fish and seafood made satisfying plates, but considering that parts of the menu are sprinkled with 23 carat gold, it seems a shame that the quality of the chorizo had been scrimped on. It wasn’t great quality, and left an unappetising fatty film in our mouths. The real highlight of the evening was the cocktails. From the Five Gold Rings menu, there were 3 to choose from: Golden Winter (Goslings black rum, angostura bitters, cranberry, fresh blackberries and Creme de Mure, garnished with gold leaf), Gold Desire (Southern Comfort, Amaretto, champagne, real gold flakes), and Golden Sprinter (Vodka Zubrowka, apple schnapps, vanilla, real gold leaf).
Okay, so let’s face it, gold leaf doesn’t really taste of anything, but it does look stunning in a cocktail. My Golden Winter cocktail packed a berry punch, with a welcome slow-burn from the beautifully smooth Goslings black rum. Recommended by our very helpful and straight-talking waiter Mubarek, it made for one seriously decent cocktail. Very drinkable and pretty to boot. Meanwhile, the Golden Sprinter looked the epitome of elegance with its warm metallic hue, and swirling gold leaf catching the light. Next up was Gold Desire, too sweet for our tastes, but sugar junkies may well love it. It’s presentation got a few gold stars – it arrived with its Champagne element in a separate shot glass, which got tipped by the waiter, into the waiting flute of spirits and gold leaf flakes. The result? Your very own golden snow flurry in a glass.
As far as your stomach goes, you may not get full on the Five Gold Rings menu, but as an aperitif to a night out, or more choices from Vista’s menu, it makes a decadent way to see in the festive season. Grab a seat on the terrace with lofty views over Trafalgar Square and you have yourself a good-looking introduction to your evening.
Vista’s gold menu is running until the end of December 2011. For more information on Vista and its menu, please visit: http://www.thetrafalgar.com/vista-homepage/
**Vista, at The Trafalgar: ** 2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square, London, SW1A 2TS. Tel: 020 7870 2900.
Written by: Helenka Bednar