As you’d expect from somewhere with such a posh-sounding name, The Gore Hotel is an elegant, if not regal, retreat away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Knightsbridge and Kensington. But far from being snooty or stand-offish (as we’ve come to expect from classic establishments in our fair capital), the gorgeous London hotel threw open its gilded gold doors and welcomed us with open arms when we arrived to review the new tapas menu at its on-site bar.
Called Bar 190 after its address on Queen’s Gate Road, the bar is a darkly-lit Gothic masterpiece with mahogany panels on its walls, flickering candles on sturdy wooden tables and sumptuous pillows thrown on deeply-cushioned brown leather sofas. Art Deco touches add to the decor, with fabulously ornate mirrors hanging at every turn and a beautiful bar back-lit with fluorescent pink lighting. Think Sherlock Holmes mixed with a little Miami Vice and you’re halfway there.
After being ushered to our secluded table in the corner (we love it when establishments such as The Gore treat us in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed), we were left to give the menu the obligatory Gunpowder once-over. A mouthwatering mix of traditional Spanish ‘tapas’ (which consists of a wide variety of appetisers), we were in foodie heaven. After ordering a total of six dishes and two much-needed vodka and tonics (it was mid-week, after all), we were left to soak up the atmosphere and cast our beady eyes around the room. Until now, we hadn’t realised what good company we were in; mingling in the darkness were execs from every creative industry, from movie big-wigs to publishing powerhouses. We didn’t necessarily know who was who, admittedly, but the confidence with which they swilled their martini cocktails informed us that they were nearer the top end of the career ladder than the lower end. A fair few foreigners swanned about the place, too, most of them draped in designer duds and chatting in incredibly exotic-sounding languages.
Then our tapas arrived, with plates being spread out on the adjacent table and leather ottoman like a fabulous Mediterranean feast. Included in this smorgasbord of wonders was huge chunks of lipsmackingly-good tortilla, spicy chorizo sausage cooked in red wine and cut into just-right slices, deep-fried rings of squid served with a zesty wedge of lemon, spicy tiger prawns sizzling in garlic and chilli, and Arabic-style marinated lamb skewers that fell of the sticks with one prod of the fork. The only dish we weren’t too fond of was a bowl of peppers cooked with olive oil; it was tasty enough, but certainly shouldn’t have been the same price as the other tapas dishes on the menu.
Brought out promptly and cooked to Spain-worthy perfection, the six dishes we indulged in were just enough to satisfy our hunger without making us feel like we didn’t fit in with the largely size-zero clientele. The perfect destination for a first-date or for after-work drinks, our experience at Bar 190 was truly Gore-geous.