Review by Michelle Connolly. Follow @michelllec
The Jade Door, 15-16 Gerrard Street, Chinatown, W1D 6JE
0207 734 7276
On a dark, dark road, is a dark, dark door, and behind the dark, dark door is one of the most alluring cocktail bars in London. Right in the heart of Chinatown behind a jade green door is Opium, Eastern vintage inspired cocktail and dim sum parlour. It’s not easy to find, so keep your eyes peeled and be prepared to search for a while…
The moment you step inside, your senses are enchanted with burning incense, stunning Chinese vases and creaky floorboards – as well as a very friendly bouncer. Booking is recommended so you don’t have to wait around. Make your way up the stairs to the Apothecary bar, where you’ll find rows of Chinese medicine bottles housing a variety of spirits, increasing the air of mystery. The next level up has a kitchen style layout where you’re invited to sit at the bar and interact with the bartenders, a lovely experience especially if you like to experiment with your drinks, they’re happy to chat and create new blends for you to try.
The atmosphere is extremely relaxing, you almost feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. Experienced, friendly staff are happy to recommend drinks from the very original menu – each cocktail is credited to its inventor. The one you really ought to try is their signature Opium Cocktail No.1, a blend of rums, absinthe, mandarin juice, syrups and bitters presented in an elegant mini-cauldron with vapour clouds that waft across the table. She’s a beaut.
The food menu is solely Dim Sum with a variety of fillings. Sweet, sticky and soft, the dumplings are expertly made and the kitchen is open until 2.30am on weekends, while the bar is open ’til 3am.
Definitely elegant and unusual, it’s perfect as a start to the night, or to retreat to for a memorable nightcap.