REVIEW – VERTILON, VERTA HOTEL, BATTERSEA

Vertilon is the new Bar at The Hotel Verta in Battersea, the Hotel right next door to Londons only Heliport, just across the Thames from  Chelsea Harbour.

A bit of a pain to get to, and from the outside fairly anonymous, once inside however, fans of modernist design are in for a treat. The image presented is one that could be any time from the late 1920s through to the 1950s – but missing out the brutalism in favour of comfort and style. Vertilon is situated upstairs from Patrisey (the main restaurant) on the Mezzanine level, with views of both Chelsea and the Heliport. That may not sound like much, but watching sleek Helicopters land and take off definitely adds a little something to the experience.

A quick look at the Menu confirms that although in “sarf London”, we are still in a Hotel that aspires to Five star ratings – its not cheap, with cocktails from £10.00 to £14.00, however, the real question is “are they worth it”?

The answer is yes – we had a couple of standards – an Aviation for me, and a Mojito for the Lady P. The Aviation , a thirties classic of Gin, Maraschino and Lemon juice was perfectly balanced, and the Mojito was spot on. the only quibble would be the slight delay in service, caused by the fact that we chose to arrive in the middle of the hotel launching its Sunday Brunch ( one for Wandsworths “Scrummy Mummies, no doubt).

I then went off menu, as I fancied an Old Fashioned made with their Diplomatico Rum, and Miss p chose the Bloody Mary – which she pronounced “excellent”. It was worth studying their back bar, which has a great range of Rums, Bourbons, Tequilas Gins and Vodkas, but I feel is a little short on Single Malts, although to be fair, all regions are represented.

The only other letdown was our unsmiling waitress, who was not enjoying her day in a rather obvious way. However the other members of staff we observed, and the pink-shirted Head Bartender who mixed our drinks more than made up for this little glitch.

Had we had time, we would have stayed longer, but alas, we had to be on our way…

So, if you are south of the river and in need of a decent drink in decent surroundings, Vertilon is the place to try…

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Mulled Fusion…

“Christmastime is here by golly, dissaproval would be folly…”

Here we go, into midwinter, and long nights, making drinking a more attractive pastime, and with special reasons to raise a glass…

One thing always seems to bug us barkeeps though; Mulled Wine.

Almost without exception, Bartenders hate making Mulled Wine – we think its the Kitchens Job, as you need a hob, and anyway, its a hassle. Strange to say, we don’t feel this way about, ooh, The Old Fashioned – another time consuming gem, or the Mojito…

Mulled Wine, GluhWein, Vin Chaud – its everywhere this time of year, and hell, it works a keeping the cold out, and when made well, tastes lovely.

I had to create something for the season, and was looking for something Christmasy and still over ice, whilst being incredibly warming at the same time…

The Mulled Fashioned

4 Barspoons of Mulled Port Reduction

50ml Remy Martin VSOP

10ml Cointreau

2 Dashes Fee Orange Bitters

METHOD:

As with a standard Old Fashioned, using the Port reduction as your sugar, slowly add ice, reduction and cognac whilst stirring together constantly. Add the Cointreau, give a little stir, drop in the Bitters. Garnish with Cinnamon stick and a large Orange twist.

This drink has a pleasing ruby colour, and the spices in the reduction give it that paradoxical warming feel, even though its over ice.

For the reduction, gather the mulling spices as well as Orange Peel, to taste. Put double your required amount of Port in a pan with them, add loads of sugar, and simmer until you get the rich dark red spicy syrup you need. It is a a little lengthy, but hey, this is your Heston Blumenthall moment right?

Enjoy!

New Job, new place…

Well, so far so good. A new Bar in a new hotel, and the team is pretty keen, with the exception of two people…

One, a young woman, has, after five weeks here, (a week longer than yours truly) never broken into a smile unless she can report something wrong. She has told me all about the failings we have in this new hotel, but as yet has no answers, or seemingly any ability to surmount them. She has already told me that she is simply awaiting a position in another hotel, which will open in January. Apparently she will be a supervisor in The Bar there, and I wish them all the best of luck, as she cannot make  a drink, nor can she work with others. Actually I know the Head bartender there, a nice chap with great skill, and I hope he has better luck. Sadly, all too many in this business get caught up in their own negativity – its easy to do, but fatal if you want to be the best. In effect, it looks as if she took a job with us merely to fill in a few weeks before this other job opened up. This is annoying, as there are many out there who would jump at the chance to work in a high-end bar. I guess the writing was on the wall when in discussion of her former workplaces she had nothing good to say about any of them, whether five-star Park Lane joints or more modest places, and the fact that almost all her previous years of London experience had been via agencies.

The other individual is more interesting…

A young, intelligent man, he has a lot of experience in high-end nightclubs, and so is finding the pace in a low-profile Hotel opening a lot quieter than he is used to. He has a fairly good amount of knowledge- both with drinks and in general, but has that easily defineable quality of those under 25 – arrogance.

Quite simply he is able to put just about everybody’s nose out of joint, and is always the first to bitch about anything – generally staff food. As such, he was the ideal candidate for the Staff committee, yet failed to turn up to its first meeting. Now I am sure that he can be moulded, and can learn to work with others, so he is redeemable, however, it just goes to show that if you open a bar (as the owners did) with no head barman for the first 4 weeks, things can slide pretty fast….

Published in: on November 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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