Opium Bar & Dim Sum Parlour in Chinatown is a seductive spot. It offers a relaxed, slightly naughty feeling oasis, away from the colourful craziness of central London. Find the Jade door obscured from sight behind a rather large yet inconspicuous doorman, enter and be prepared to lose yourself in a maze of delights.
Chinatown has certainly changed somewhat since the Opium dens of the late 19th Century (good job too). Now Gerrard Street beholds a modern palace for relaxed socialising, dining on delectable mouth pleasers (aka – dumplings), along with cocktails to wow even the most seasoned bar fly. Find a nook to settle into and enjoy the delights on offer. This is a well thought out, grown up hangout, brought to us by big names in the industry; Dre Masso & Eric Yu, both of whom are individually widely acclaimed with numerous previous ventures including ones that we will all recognise. Dre is a cocktail guru with previous stints at Atlantic Bar & Grill, Fifteen and Lonsdale Bar – just to name a few, and Eric’s back catalogue includes; The Breakfast Group and Saint, along with many other well regarded establishments.
Back to Opium…..The fun is laid out over 3 floors, there are lounges, bars and dens all beautifully designed and kitted out by award-winning collective Office Sian & Kai Design. There is ornately carved furniture, red tones and porcelain blues, opulent prints and traditional art, tinted glass and mirrors; think ‘intimate boudoir-drinking-dens and open plan bars’. Each floor reveals more seductive surprises as Opium spirals upwards, evoking feelings of travel and adventure through the suitcase props and luggage rails dotted about the place. Make sure you try the Bartender’s Table; it’s the most social area in the venue, like an open plan kitchen and acts as a great stage for the bartenders to peddle their wares.
Food and drinks: Dine on gorgeous Dim Sum (literally means – Touch the Heart), get stuck in, it’s informal, sharing style. We ate almost everything on the menu and couldn’t fault it. For something rather luxurious tasting, do try the Truffle Dim Sum. For drinks, get stuck into that cocktail menu. We tried; Opium Cocktail No 2 – a performance with a smoking cauldron and mini bottle of ginseng (which probably is the only reason I can remember this)! We also had a Year Of The Snake Bite, which was a tangy tongue party!! For day times and more civilised patron the Chinese teas are all high grade and have been sourced by the tea master Timothy O’ffay.
We set up camp at The Bartender’s Table – kitchen table stylee and settled into a wicked evening of cocktails and dim sum, proffered up by wonderfully enthusiastic staff. The cocktails were ultimately the biggest surprise; Opium has rather grabbed the bar by the horns and got serious yet fun and creative with the drinks. The Opium team have aspirations to seasonally change both drinks and the food menus and hope to continue with guest chef collaborations (St John has created Legend of St John, last Nov 2012).
Entertaining: Yes, book a table, book an area, just book! We can only say we hope it is as good when we go back again soon. (Do note that it might be a little dark and seductive to take some clients, just talking from experience…….).
We were guests of Opium and would like to say thanks again! Can’t wait to come back.
Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour/ The Jade Door, 15-16 Gerrard Street, Chinatown W1D 6JE / 020 7734 7276.
Mon & Tues – 17.00 till 00.00/ Wed -17.00 till 01.00/ Thursday 17.00 till 02.00/ Fri & Sat 17.00 till 03.00/ Sunday -12.-22.20