Turning 26 may not have been the most glamorous of birthdays (I guess the next big one will be the big 3-0 which is a terrifying thought!!) but it did present me with the chance to get a little spoiled by some of my amazing friends who took me to a few eating and drinking spots that had been on my to try list for quite some time, occasions like this better than any physical present to me!
Right on the top of this list was Dandelyan in the rather classy Mondrian hotel, located on the southbank of the Thames. I had been desperate to go not only because it’s been voted best bar in the world numerous times since in its opening but also because of its drool worthy and Wes Anderson inspired interior which I had spotted all over the internet with its plush pink and dark green accents. Having banged on about it on many occasions to one of my friends said friend decided to treat me to a pre birthday cocktail on a Wednesday night here and I have to say as I walked there from my office I had very high (and probably slightly too high) expectations of what Dandelyan was going to be like.
Don’t get me wrong the interior is very nice, all shiny brass, slick furniture and low lighting, but the pink sofas that made this place so insta famous make up a rather small corner of a big bar space, is reserved for big groups and somehow doesn’t have quite the impact at night as in the clearly well lit publicity shots that circulate on Pinterest interior boards.
Not that that really mattered. The space is still truly stunning and the view across the river bank is hard to beat, just not quite what I expected but then again I sometimes wish Instagram didn’t inadvertently make us form an opinion or expectation of a place before we have ever set foot there (indeed I loved this article from the guardian on how Instagram has ruined holidaying and sightseeing which is totally worth a read). In any case once we were settled right by the window with an impressive St. Paul’s cathedral in full view I was ready to give their cocktails a try and enjoy Dandelyon for what it was irl.
The menu at dandelyon is inspired by the botanical world and though cocktails are far from cheap (we are talking a hefty £13.5 for a very petite portioned cocktail) they do taste and look utterly delightful. This isn’t a place to get drunk at, it is a place to enjoy every sip of your expertly made cocktail in the same way that I guess you marvel at a Michelin stared dish. Indeed my “Flower of Five” - Belvedere Pink Grapefruit with passion fruit flower, leather, lemon and Bramble Gin Liqueur was one of the best cocktails I have ever had, far too quickly drunk from a small martini glass adorned with a flower and probably not quite in my top 3 ever considering the value for money but no doubt still great.
It definitely is a place for a special occasion and has a uniquely sophisticated air about it and perhaps had I not expected so much beforehand it would have scored even higher with me. Would I go back? Sure as the menu offers a lot more I’d like to try and I couldn’t ask my friend to pay for more than one of these pricy numbers but is it the best bar in the world? Probably not.