-By Rinku Madan
American comic writer Bryan Miller once said ' The Polo Lounge is like a fine old mink coat : opulent, dignified and warm." You decide.
The Polo Lounge is located in the Hyatt Regency and has undergone a complete makeover. Upon entering, you're met with an array of dark woods, modern -retro design and delicate little touches. Modernity intermingles with more classic pieces of the game on the walls. A large screen behind the bar adds an artistic touch with row upon row of bottles that sit in front, creating a silhouette effect that's rather enchanting. The floor is a rather dull pattern, but fits in with the rest of the colors. There's little standing room, with the bulk made up of tables for four. Even though it's a large room (norneavesdropping here), the place doesn't blare it's design at you, and the drinks can take precedence.
The atmosphere at the Polo Lounge reflects the decor, in that it's far more chilled out than you'd expect. People dress to impress, although the dress code is smart casual, the people err on the side of smart.rnThe clientele is heavily male, and the Armani's (or better) is the sort of label favored here by Amex - wielding sharp suits, passing celebs and off duty 'meejah' (british slang for media) types. Superbly managed by the very affable and winsome F&B chief Kumar Shobhan, this may not be the hippest haunt in town, but it's as good a place as any to slip off your Ferragamos and pause to enjoy a Champagne afternoon tea or a glass of Chateau Petrus Pomerole with fresh strawberries and cream from the owner Shiv Jatia's farm, a ceaser salad or one of their signature pizzas. Couples enjoying a romantic drink, hotel guests and business people, schmoozing clients or chilling out are the main bulk of the visitors here. Mostly well-to-do, the refined nature of the gentry is counter balanced by the smiles evident on everyone's faces and the pleasant nature of the staff. Speaking of which second in command Somnath Dey is one person I would visit the hotel to specially say hello to. The staff is all welcoming, friendly and scarily efficient. Even when taking their time to prepare an elaborate cocktail, you won't be left waiting too long. Willing to engage in friendly banter bartender Navrose Arora will help you shake the illusion that hotel bars are stuffy and out of touch, at the same time making sure that you're reminded that you indeed are somewhere special.
This is where the Polo Lounge truly excels. The place sets out it's stall as a "shrine to educated drinking", which means plenty of pedigree vintage wines and Kir Royale, along with a clutch of snazzy cocktails such as Hot Charlotte ' Hendriks Gin and Elderflower syrup etc. The Captain Ahab with Bunnahabhain Islay scotch, allspice and dry sack sherry, an unusual mix that isn't overpowering and is actually enjoyable. However the real jewel in the cocktail menu has to go to the Cat in pyjamas ' Bourbon, peach syrup, sweet vermouth. They offer some cute touches like splitting a gentlemans cocktail into a small shot glass â€˜for the lady to sample', or if you suddenly feel cornered or genuinely in love and want to propose at the spur of the moment, the bartender Mike Mcsorley will carve you a solitaire out of ice. Your love can decide the carats.
Other highlights include Manhattan made here with classic rye whiskey, ginger mojito, and multiple flavored martins ' all excellent.
Here I must mention, I got a 'hot Brazilian date' to warm me up and then a glass of 2004 Gaja Barbaresco. The 'hot Brazilian date' was an awesome concoction of buttery smoothness and I was glad there was a lemon to cut up the density of my Caipirinha ' what were you all thinking!!
If cocktails aren't your thing, then they also infuse their own spirits including citrus vodka to give a strong twist to a usual shot. Theres also a fine selection of whiskeys, cognacs, malts, beer ' everything you can imagine all served in gorgeous Schott Zweisel glassware.
The Last Word
The place excels in most categories with quality cocktails served to you with aplomb courtesy the friendly and efficient staff, all wrapped up inside a beautifully presented package. You may need to run up some serious dough on the credit card though. So a great place to scope out the 'swish set' type of people. Number of boob jobs spotted - 4.
Review posted more than 6 month ago
Went to this place last afternoon with a colleague in the scorching heat of June. Since it was my first time around the place, I was quite surprised with the crowd, as most of them were from corporates. The food was decent, and the staff was warm.
Review posted more than a year ago
Well this place is more serious than funny..Their is every chance of you bumping into some of the famous entrepreneurs of the town.The munchies are good ..so is the drink ..good for business deals..not a place for giggly young crowd.
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