53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA map
What is better than a free dinner at the Dorchester? Free dinner and whisky tasting at the Dorchester. This was all courtesy of Glenfiddich, I had won a competition with 15 others and had been invited to have whisky tasting with food pairing, quite a novel idea.
I have been to the Dorchester before and do find the décor and clientele slightly gauche, so not a place I would choose to go for Chinese, but who says no to free food and drink. The China Tang bar is quite small but less showy than the lounge bar and more intimate, I would definitely come here again if in this neck of the woods. After a gin cocktail (I thought we would have enough whisky at the tasting) we went through to the private room. Slightly strange room for a large amount of people where a presentation is taking place. It was very narrow, making it hard to see the screen and hear the speaker. The net result was that people drank rather than listening and it all got far more raucous than the organisers were expecting.
After a quick presentation about the distillery, we went straight into the tasting. We had 3 whiskies before the food pairing. The 3rd being the £500 30 year old. Unlike most tastings the oldest, most expensive whisky was not left until then end , as they weren’t sure we would be able to appreciate it after a further 4 whiskies and wine. All the whiskies were good and the differences were perceptible, but I am no whisky expert and so would be splashing out anytime soon on the 30 year old. After 3 whiskies and a cocktail, everyone was ravenous. Dim sum were then brought, it was all quite slow, I presume because we a large table of 34, but it did mean we were fighting for each one. The dim sum was excellent and went well with our fourth whisky. We then had a crab claw with vegetables. It looked slightly better than it tasted, a little bit stringy for me. This was then followed by the meat course which was divine; the duck and beef were tender and extremely flavoursome. The dessert was then served with the final whisky tasting, by this point I was full and had a fill of whisky so can remeber very little about it.
The service was attentive throughout, with particularly attention to our water glasses which was appreciated given the amoutn of whisky we had drunk. Ideally though I would have liked to have had more than one dim sum served at any one time, but presume this was due to the large group. The acoustics were good and even though we were a rowdy group, it wasn’t deafening at any point. As usual the Dorchester came up trumps with some celeb spotting; on our table was a Hollyoaks star but more impressively Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster passed our table looking like they had just come from a wedding.
Very stylish venue with good food and wine, if you’re paying the cheque you may need not feel it is the best value.
Talk Rating: 5/5