February 23, 2016

Daydreaming of being on holiday somewhere cold, yet cosy, to feel better about the cold weather we have been having?

Close your eyes and transport yourself into this ski lodge special set-up at Coq d’Argent. They have a warm and cosy winter garden – or ski lodge – set up in their garden side of bar/restaurant.

This is just one of the many amazing bars and restaurants in London.

What To Expect At The Lodge d’Argent

If, like many, you are coming here to enjoy the wide variety of cocktails and the feel of being away in a snowy land somewhere in Switzerland or France. You too, will get peckish and dart your eyes onto the bar menu snacks.

The seats are covered in cosy faux fur layouts and there are keep-warm fleeces available for those who really like to get toasty. The garden also has heaters to cosy up the atmosphere.

The item that really jumps out is the whole baked Vacherin cheese & toasted bread. What better way to make yourself feel loved from inside out than melted cheese while you wait with great anticipation to see what great pleasure and taste sensations their cocktails will bring.

So, naturally, me and my mystery date opt for the melted cheese option and place our orders for cocktails of our choice.

For those who like a cigar, you can order one from the menu to really sit back and enjoy yourself.

Cocktails And Drinks At The Bar

My eyes brighten up when I see the Martini cocktail section – you have never seen a Martini match like the ones I am staring at!

Choice of 3 intriguing Martinis are:

  1. Pickled Martini – Ketel vodka infused with dill, cucumber, mustard seeds and black peppercorns, served with dry vermouth and pickled gherkins
  2. Caraway Martini – Polugar Caraway stirred to perfection with fine ice and white vermouth, served with rye bread and smoked salmon
  3. Caper Martini – Sauvelle vodka stirred to perfection with Tio Pepe & caper berry brie, served with caper berries

If you happen to be from a Russian tradition country like me, you would be drawn to these interesting cocktails.

Only if you have grown up with gherkins, blinis and rye bread will you wonder how to still enjoy these things without all the calories. The answer is – in a Martini cocktail!

Lodge d'Argent at Coq d'Argent Open Until End Of February

After long five minutes of eenie-meenie-miney-mo, I choose the Caraway Martini as I like my drinks pure and true to themselves. The rye bread and salmon are, at this stage, only a bonus.

You may think the recipe doesn’t quite give away much exciting as it only consists of vodka and vermouth, but if you look into it, it all starts to make sense. Polugar vodka is based on rye distillate with caraway and coriander added before the 3rd distilling.

Finally, my much anticipated meal-drink Martini arrives with a rye bread and salmon ‘sandwich’ sitting on a cocktail stick as a simple garnish. I don’t think much of it at first, so I take a sip – nice and strong!

But wait! The after-taste is like dark rye bread with cumin tinge, powered by a strong vermouth after flavour burn at the top of my mouth, travelling down and warming me up instantly from inside.

If you have eaten dark bread with cumin seeds, you will know what I mean by the cumin tinge…you bite the cumin and it just releases this enhancing flavour through your mouth which makes you want to eat more of it and keep experiencing it. I am taken aback at this sensation – how can this drink possibly taste like I have just eaten a rye bread if I clearly haven’t even touched the garnish sandwich?!?!

So I try another sip…and there it is again! That sweet rye bread and cumin tinge, as if I had just eaten the salmon rye bread sandwich. I decide to experiment a little and remove the salmon rye bread before taking a sip – it must be a smell thing that kicks in.

After taking another sip without smelling the bread it tastes like a pure martini cocktail again…no after taste. Sensational! By smelling the bread set on a cocktail garnish stick, it enhances my whole martini cocktail so greatly that it creates the illusion and hunger to actually eat what you feel like you are tasting!

You really MUST try this cocktail, and take small sips and really savour them to get this taste.

The second drink we tried was from the rest of the cocktail menu, and we chose the Ghost Cider – Somerset cider, 10-year-old brandy stirred to perfection with clementine juice, homemade redcurrant shrub and sugar syrup.

Another cosy drink to have in a warm winter garden! The drink arrives beautifully garnished and looking refreshing like a winter forest with fresh fruit in a tin cup. The brandy and cider mix makes it honey-like sweet but refreshing because of the currants and citrus fruits mixed in.

It’s like a perked up honey-like brandy drink with the refreshing pick-me-up of a fresh berry sourness. Another winter warmer in disguise at heated winter lodge. Small sip of this cold goodness and you might not even notice your date opposite you, it’s that pleasant!

There are so many interesting cocktails to choose from, and I am left feeling like they all come with their secret surprise taste after having my Martini drink. Cocktails like Malones Hot Pig, Cinnamon Bagel, Spiced Mojito, Pickled Jar and Plum Royal all catch my curious attention.

The Experience At Lodge d’Argent

This Lodge in Coq d’Argent is a really pleasant place. Once you are sat down, all the decorations and elements really come together to create this personal bubble where you don’t even notice the rest of the guests nearby.

You are totally transformed into your own taste world and pampered from inside out with the gooey cheese, bread and magical cocktails.

I am left wondering what the remaining two Martini cocktails taste like; there is more taste-smell adventures to be had here! I can’t wait to come back when the summer garden maze opens and I can sit back and revel in the magical smell-taste of my perfect Martini.

My expectations have completely been blown out of water.

If feel like I need to shake the mixologist’s hand in person to thank them for such beautiful and mind blowing experience. Definitely worth another visit, and if you’re in the area, don’t be shy to try it out either.

MM Rating 9/10
Cocktails Rating 8.5/10
Venue Rating 8.5/10

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Twitter: @MartiniMule
Blog: http://martinimule.blogspot.co.uk/