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SOFT OPENING: Opium Chinatown, Bar & Dim Sum Parlour (36 Pictures)


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Opium Chinatown
16 Gerrard St, Chinatown, London, W1D 6JE

Opium is back! Behind the “green door”… Eric Yu and Dre Masso open their cocktail bar and dim sum parlour in the heart of Chinatown.

Opium Chinatown - Bartending under watchful eyes

Opium Chinatown – Bartending under watchful eyes

The star of this new venue is definitely the Bartender’s Table. Like a restaurant’s “chef’s table” but for cocktails. It is a small communal table hidden in the attic in front of the bartenders station. On a mini-tour from Dre Masso, he mentioned this will also be a training academy during the day.

The experienced bartending team includes Esther Medina Cuesta (ex Milk & Honey) and Megan DeMeulenaere (ex Bramble, Edinburgh).

Dim Sum is provided via a dumb waiter leading directly in to the kitchen downstairs at Dumplings Legend to the first floor. So if it’s raining you don’t have to leave the venue.

Speaking to Dre, he mentioned that he has spent a lot of time experimenting with all manner of unusual ingredients in the nearby Chinese supermarkets. Hence the “only 3 per customer” rule for the signature “Opium Cocktail No.1” which contains a ginseng capsule.

Opium Chinatown - "Way of the Dragon" with Four Roses Bourbon

Opium Chinatown – “Way of the Dragon” with Four Roses Bourbon

Cocktails are all premium priced at £10-15 Oriental themed with names like “Shanghai Surprise” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Non-alcoholic options (“Chinese Temperance Cocktails”) are quite impressive using ‘off-the-beaten-track’ ingredients like watercress, parsnips and “Chinese many spice syrup”.

Definitely try the “Opium Cocktail No.1”, a rum based affair (Appleton VX and Wray & Nephew) with absinthe and of course the ginseng capsule. My favourite of the night was the “Way of the Dragon” made with Four Roses Bourbon, vermouth, fig jam, black tea syrup and garnished with fig quarters.

Opium is certainly an innovative venue. Unforutnately the dim sum menu was restricted at the soft opening to steamed dumplings, but if their food is as innovative as their cocktail offering I expect Opium to become very popular as a secret drinking den.

Opium Chinatown
Ad: (The Jade Green Door), 16 Gerrard St, Chinatown, London, W1D 6JE (map)
Ww: opiumchinatown.com
Tw: @OpiumChinatown

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