Take a South Pacific holiday - on London's Park Lane
Where? Trader Vic’s, London Hilton on Park Lane, 22 Park Lane, London W1K 1BE (020 7208 4113, www.tradervicslondon.com)
So what’s Vic trading? A vast array of lethal cocktails, Tiki-style nibbles (or ‘pupus’ as they call them here), wood-fired-oven-cooked fish and meat dishes and some seriously flamboyant desserts.
Doesn’t sound like your normal hotel fare? Ignore the address. The front door might be in the lobby of the glitzy Hilton, but walk down the stairs and you enter a totally different world where everything from the décor and food to the waitresses’ outfits is Polynesian inspired.
How come I haven’t heard of it before? You might be the only one! Originally started in 1932 in California, the UK outpost opened in the Sixties and over the years has played host to everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Paris Hilton.
What are the stars drinking? Mai Tais are the cocktail of choice, having been created here in the first place, and are absolutely delicious (although should probably come with a health warning – we advise you stick to no more than two). If you’re not a rum fan, don’t worry, you’ll be absolutely spoilt for alternatives, thanks to the longest cocktail menu we’ve ever seen, helpfully split into ‘small’, ‘weak’, ‘strong’, ‘large’ and ‘hot’ choices. If you want to impress someone, we’re reliably informed the four-person Scorpion bowl looks fabulous and has a great sting in its tail.
Is anyone actually eating? With all that alcohol they’d better be. Fish dishes are popular choices and deservingly so. We hoovered up the seafood parillada with salmon, scallop, sea bass and prawns in a saffron sauce, while the Dover sole is worth ordering just to watch the frankly artistic filleting, which takes place at the table. If you’re looking for something even more substantial (although the fish dishes are generously sized), try the Indonesian rack of lamb or nine-spice half chicken from the wood-fired oven.
Details: Trader Vic’s serves drinks from 5pm until 1am every day of the week, with food served from 6pm. On Fridays and Saturdays you can keep drinking until 3am, while live, Latino-fusion music is played from 10pm every night.