Enter The Jade Door on Gerrard Street for a sweet taste of Peony, a well-hidden magical concoction escape. The interior will seduce you with its beautiful décor and delicious drinks. Read on to find out more about this sophisticated and chic bar.
In Three Words: Gorgeous, Seductive, Elegant
The Lowdown: Those in the cocktail-know will have visited Opium – a surreptitious bar hidden behind a jade door in Chinatown. This gem of a drinking-den is the kind of place one escapes to for outstanding drinks, superior service and a night that will transport them to the intoxicating parlours of the Far East.
Well, its popularity is such that a charismatic little sister has bloomed within – as delicate and as lush as her namesake. Peony offers a hint of sophisticated finesse after the heady rambunctiousness of Opium. She presents some glamour for all those wanting to try exquisite libations in the same eclectic ambience, hidden within the warren-like rooms of the building.
Your Plus One: Bring people who love cocktails – and know good ones, because they will be blown away by the quality on offer here. It’s the kind of place to come with a friend and divulge secrets – you could almost be in the waiting-parlour of a Chinese courtesan, sipping out of fragile teacups. Many of the concoctions are also intended for sharing – there are some delicious punches on offer and you even get to choose your teapot!
The Decor: Peony is certainly a feast for the eyes – the canary-yellow wall that displays several stunning teapots adds authenticity and a pop of colour. It’s Chinese with a hint of London cool – no over-the-top gilding, but some cheeky little hints at their Eastern influences, combined with downright beautiful design.
Ambience: Intimate and alluring, with a sense of that special feeling one gets from being part of a wonderful secret. Sit and watch the lovely Rasa spin her magic – she hosts the bar and mixes exceptional drinks, bringing warmth and charm to the whole room. Make sure to book ahead – with a snug twenty five seats you don’t want to miss out.
Cocktail Highlights: The menu is short and sweet, and reads like a pocket-sized book of Chinese poetry – seductive, intriguing, and whisking you away to lands afar. It’s inspired by the delicate and feminine Peony flower, with an infusion of East and West to bring great twists on classics. We were thrilled by the Emperor’s Garden – a fresh, zesty little number containing gin, Chinese Rice Wine, Cardamon and a touch of ginger syrup for that lingering warmth. The Peony Punch sharer is a fruity delight of vodka, dragon fruit, coconut and cranberry juice- the addition of nutmeg balances this with earthy spice. But our favourite had to be the Golden Sazerac – served in the most gorgeous fashion, with just the right amount of theatre that befits such a delicious drink. El Dorado 12 Rum, bitters, Goji Berry Syrup and Absinthe are all finished with ginger and lemongrass smoke for a truly sensational cocktail.
Something to Soak Up the Booze: Their dim sum is some of the best in Chinatown, and really needs to be tried for the full Peony experience. What could be more perfect than these little parcels of steamed treasure, dipped into rich and salty soy sauce? And hey, if you can still use your chopsticks properly after attempting an array of their libations and a mezcal shot or three then you’re doing well…
Burning a Hole? With cocktails at about £15 each, they’re not the cheapest you’ll find – but hello, who wants cheap cocktails?! Served in a variety of unusual and innovate ways, with flavour combinations to really blow your socks off, then this is worth every Peony… sorry, penny.
Overall: Hiding a cocktail bar inside another (already superbly accomplished) hidden cocktail bar…could Peony offer enough to stand out? The answer is an unequivocal yes. The added air of sophisticated chic and a new menu that makes the most of syrups, smokes and Asian ingredients mean Peony is a destination drinking spot in herself. Don’t be surprised if you leave feeling like you’re waking from a wonderful, hazy dream – partly due to the strength of those more-ish cocktails, and partly because of the web of magic Rasa and her team have spun.
The Jade Door, 15-16 Gerrard Street, Chinatown W1D6JE
+44 (0) 20 7734 7276