Dandelyan, London SE1: hotel bar review
Check our our review of Dandelyan, Ryan Chetiyawardana's award-winning bar that specialises in complex, botanically inspired cocktails
***This bar has now closed*** – click here to read about the new bar in it's place, Lyaness
Looking for bars in London? Read our review of Dandelyan, the luxe award-winning London hotel bar that's all about imaginative cocktail creations
Dandelyan in a nutshell: A multi-award-winning bar (including World’s Best Cocktail Bar at the 2017 Spirited Awards) in South Bank’s Mondrian London hotel, serving imaginative, botanically inspired cocktails designed by drinks maestro Mr Lyan, aka Ryan Chetiyawardana (read our review of his Hoxton bar and restaurant Cub).
Where is it? Bankside. Nearest tube: Blackfriars underground station.
What’s the vibe?
Dandelyan is sleek but not intimidatingly so, with luxurious Tom Dixon-designed interiors that include a sweeping dark-green marble bar, velour lounge chairs and lavender-hued banquettes. Smart without being stuffy, the vibe is buzzy.
What’s the drinks menu like?
Chetiyawardana regularly shakes up the menu at Dandelyan and his latest concept is a typically thoughtful and original one. The Modern Life of Plants explores the impact of mass agriculture and large-scale food systems, with the cocktail offering based around three crops produced on an industrial scale – mint, grapes and hops. Fans of Dandelyan’s previous menus will be relieved to hear that the team have also included a roster of old favourites from previous menus, from the Koji Hardshake to the BC3 Negroni (check out our best-ever negroni recipes here).
Elsewhere there’s a small roster of wines and beers on offer, and spirits buffs will love the extensive menus of vodkas, gins, whiskies, rums, tequilas and mezcals.
Which cocktails to order at Dandelyan?
Dandelyan’s new menu is ambitious and thought provoking (do chat to the bar staff if you’d like to hear the intricate back stories behind the cocktails) but how do the drinks measure up where it really matters – taste?
Very well, as we discovered. Fresh, green and fragrant, Goose & Gander was a lighter aperitif-style cocktail that saw Grey Goose vodka and Noilly Prat vermouth paired with pear, soda and a cordial made with peas, rosemary, peanut, parsley root and anise. Jim Beam Rye whisky gave a smoky edge to the more unusual Paperclip Fix, which also featured a mint beurre blanc that added an intriguingly creamy, slightly oily edge to the drink, with mint providing a cooling back note.
In the Standing Stones, the soft, rich sweetness of Maker’s Mark and honey was counterbalanced by lemon and bitter strawberry old vine wine – the end result was a deliciously punchy, sour drink. The Nitrate Manhattan – our favourite cocktail of the night – was a smoky, supercharged combo of Tapatia Blanco tequila and Talisker 10-year-old whisky, with rhubarb saison adding subtle bitter, savoury notes and lanolin a faint funk.
Is there any food at Dandelyan?
There’s a varied menu of bar snacks, highlights of which include blistered padrón peppers with smoked sea salt, ceviche tacos and charcuterie from Cannon & Cannon. If you’re visiting between 12 and 5pm do try out the Wyld afternoon tea, which features a ’70s-inspired food menu (pine-scented baked alaska, anyone) and paired botanical cocktails. Read our round-up of the best afternoon teas in London to see what we thought.
Where to go nearby for dinner: The Mondrian’s Sea Containers restaurant serves seasonal farm-to-table dishes, or alternatively head to Skylon, an 11-minute walk away on the first floor of the Royal Festival Hall, for seasonal modern British food and great views of the Thames.
Price: From £12.50 for a cocktail.
Photographs by Jason Bailey
Words by Hannah Guinness