One of the drawbacks to being in PR is that you can get so exhausted from planning/attending client and industry-related events that you often find yourself with little to no interest in a night out on the town. For me, paradise is a night IN with my jammies on, my feet up and a nice glass (or three) of beaujolais. Sad, I know, but I’ll take a night of Hulu and BBC iPlayer over a noisy crowded venue any day. Still, when one of England’s best tour guides invites you to be their +plus one at the opening of a posh new Mayfair hot spot, who can resist? Not this broad, who let London travel expert Cindy Eve (3 Days in London) lure me out on a recent Friday night for a press-only preview of the just-opened Cartizze Bar (http://www.cartizzebar.com/). Cartizze is named after the revered 1000 ft. high Prosecco vineyards in Northern Italy. And what’s not to love about prosecco – aka ‘the nectar of the Gods’ to this PR girl. <g>
The problem with many Mayfair boites is that their attempt at becoming trendy often descends into being pretentious. Happily this is not the case with Cartizze, which charms and doesn’t disappoint on any level. The staff is fresh and smart, lavishing attention and menu suggestions in equal measure and treating everyone like a VIP. From the owner James Robson to the subtly purple hue haired twin sister cocktail hostesses (lilac is a signature colour of the club after all), everyone at Cartizze goes out of their way to make customers feel like guests at an exclusive club.
Cartizze bills itself as a luxury Bellini and cocktail destination, but I rather like the tag line that the PR team at Margaret London (a company that is not named after or owned by me) gave it – an experimental cocktail experience destination. The bar has an intimate (seating just 65) and luxurious feel. Robson has created a uniquely beautiful and sumptuous, yet relaxed and comfortable atmosphere that is a combination of dip-dyed oak paneling with classic Roman details, soft lilac and blue leathers and a New Marquina marble fireplace. Special, signature touches include vintage glassware and cocktail shakers from the 1920’s-50’s, sourced from antique markets across Italy and London, and a wall of private glass “spirit lockers” for regulars to store their favourite tipples in, many chosen from Cartizze’s own exclusive “Connoisseurs Collection,” a privately sourced selection of spirits dating back to the 1800’s.
But the real star of the show is the menu which features a unique and intriguing cocktail list created by award-winning mixologist Richard Wood, who dazzles customers with some amazing flavour combinations. Among notable potent potables is the Cartizze signature cocktail the silky Olive Oil Gin Fizz, the Blood Orange Bellini and my personal favourite, the Amor y Amargo; a combination of Amaretto, Cynar, Apricot Liqueur, egg white, vanilla sugar and — of course! — Prosecco. Cocktail adventurists can also try concoctions that include fresh rhubarb, Limoncello sorbet and truffled liquorice. And for those who like their liquor neat and natural, the Cartizze menu also includes a number of fine champagnes, whiskeys, wines and other spirits. In addition, there are a number of small plates designed to delight the taste buds. These include hand dived Orkney Isles scallop sliders, San Daniele ham wrapped figs with truffle honey and roquette, Parmesean biscuits with poppy seeds and Tuna tartare with candied chilli and cucumber.
Cartizze Bar is located at No. 4 Lancashire Court, an historic cobbled courtyard found in the heart of Mayfair nestled between New Bond Street and Brook Street. The private mews is also home to Robson’s other culinary successes: Mews of Mayfair, Mayfair Pizza Co. and la Cave. Open Monday – Saturday from 17.00 to 22.00 by reservations only: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Cindy for making me put my glad rags instead of my slippers on for a night that was thoroughly enjoyable. It was an experience that I intend to repeat. For more on Cartizze, check out the 3 Days in London website: http://3daysinlondon.info/ And while you’re at it, download the free app to get Cindy’s tips and info for a fabulous London experience: iTunes http://bit.ly/17y86CO & Android http://bit.ly/1049ZSl