Named after a plant whose root is said to have hallucinogenic properties, the Mandrake promises an hypnotic experience unlike any other London hotel. It certainly succeeds.
It’s all about surrealism at Waeska Bar, found within the phantasmagorical Mandrake Hotel in Fitzrovia. Leather bar stools sit alongside tropical-print armchairs and mirror-topped tables, while a flower-bedecking courtyard are filled with bamboo tables. The most striking aspect of all is the mythical creature which leaps above the bar: a half-kangaroo, half-gazelle with scales made from harvested beetle wings, designed by artist Enrique Gomez de Molina.
Drinks are equally exotic, particularly since the launch of their new cocktail menu, which is rooted in ethnobotany: the study of a region’s plants and their practical uses through traditional knowledge of local cultures. The ‘Sarsaparilla’, for instance, is a twist on the classic Pina Colada, made using the root of the Sarsaparilla plant – which indigenous people in South America have been using to treat joint and skin problems for centuries. Another cocktail on the menu, meanwhile, is mixed with native Indian plant vetiver, said to have anti-anxiety abilities.
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