Reviving the reputation of Punch

It’s Thursday again and I am in the mood for cocktails! I think I will be having some wine tonight, but still writing about cocktails gets me in the appropriate holiday mood. However, today I will not be writing about a traditional cocktail bar, the Punch Room is something else! It is not only a bar, it is the revival of a drink long forgotten on the restaurant scene, the punch.

The bar is located in the new Marriott London Edition hotel in Fitzrovia. It is a back room bar, not really visible from the street and it is reservation only. I am sure you can get a seat when its not that busy even without a reservation, but if you are intent on going, don’t leave it up to chance. The bar is located past the reception through a door on the left. If the doors is closed you may need to ask to be escorted in. The bar consists of two rooms, the first is fairly small and does not really look that nice or cozy. The inner room however has a fire place and a nice looking bar with comfortable seating.

Upon being seated we received a small glass each of the seasonal special punch as a welcome drink. Nice little touch and something I appreciate. As the name suggests the focus is on punch that can be ordered to share. Other things can be ordered as well, like wine, beer and some cocktails (and they also do food – made by the kitchen from Berner’s Tavern) but we were there for the real deal, the house punch. Traditionally punch consisits of five ingredients (one of which is definitely not tinned fruit salad): an alcohol base, tea, some sugar to sweeten, lemon to sour, and spice. The House Punch was faithful to this combination with London Gin, lemon, oak moss syrup, orange blossom water and jasmine tea.

The punch was served in a really nice looking bowl with cool glasses and the appropriate decorations. The taste was fresh with light sweetness. The drink had a kick to it and there was plenty so we had to be a bit careful and not gulp it down too fast. The concept would perhaps work even better for a large group as one could then sample loads of different ones. Service was fast and attentive. Price level was as to be expected in London with around 14£ per person for a punch bowl (right now though the exchange rate would kill me).

Perhaps it is the house parties of the 90’s or my student years that steered my low expectations for punch, but the Marriot Punch room was the one to revive them. I am sure I will be back as I appreciate the different concept and being able to book a table (I am the planning type). So if in London, give it a try, you will not be disappointed.

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