Those who are on the hunt for a perfect London date night have no shortage of options. But when it comes to a bar/restaurant duo, it’s hard to find a better pairing than Bar 45 and Wolfgang Puck’s CUT, located at in the Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane Hotel, on Hyde Park.
Our evening there at the invitation of the hotel started with a trip to the hotel’s bar, called Bar 45. Located up a flight of stairs from the hotel’s modern and upscale lobby, this long and luxurious bar is the ideal spot to start or finish a romantic evening. Head bartender Maurizio Palermo has crafted a collection of truly astounding cocktails to be enjoyed in the high-end bar room, and the dark woods, dim lighting, and comfortable seating certainly put you in the mood to enjoy them. The £17 cocktails ($21) are categorized by base spirit, and highlights include The Duke of Earl (Earl Gray tea-infused Tanqueray No. 10 gin, lemon juice, simple syrup); Devil in Disguise (Patron Reposado, passion fruit, smoked Kashmiri chili salt); Smoke and Mirrors (Glenfiddich 12 infused with Lapsang Sauchong tea, Drambuie, cherry liqueur, lemon juice); Peace on Earth (tropical rum punch with pineapple, orgeat and coconut syrups, lime juice); and Crouching Tiger (Jasmine flower green tea infused vodka, lemon juice). A house-barrel aged Manhattan highlights the small selection of vintage cocktails; Negroni-lovers should definitely splurge on the vintage Negroni (£28, or $35), made with authentic 1970s-era bottles of gin, Campari, and vermouth. It’s like sampling a Negroni from 40 years ago. The wine selection is also amazing; the bar is home to the U.K.’s largest selection of American wines.
The bar overlooks CUT, which is located on the ground floor looking out onto Hyde Park, so drinks at Bar 45 followed by a meal at CUT makes for an ideal progression.
Wolfgang Puck runs a handful of CUT locations around the world including ones in California and Las Vegas; we’ve consistently named the Beverly Hills location the best steakhouse in America, so it was very exciting to have the opportunity to see what his first European restaurant had in store. The dining room itself is modern and elegant with well-spaced tables and dimly lit dining room with dark wood and cream-colored curtains. Though the star of the show here is obviously the steak, there’s plenty more than that to love on the menu. There’s a wide variety of seasonal salads and starters, including Dorset crab and lobster “Louis” cocktail with spicy tomato-horseradish sauce, maple-glazed pork belly with Asian spices, Austrian oxtail bouillon with bone marrow dumplings, and hand-cut steak tartare. When white Alba truffles are in season you can sample them atop risotto, polenta, or angel hair pasta.
If you’re not in the mood for steak, entrées including grilled jumbo prawns, Hong Kong-style steamed sea bass, pan-roasted Scottish lobster with black truffle emulsion, Dover sole meunière, and pan-roasted Label Rouge chicken will keep you more than satisfied, but the steak options here are some of the finest the world has to offer (and that’s not even an exaggeration). New York sirloin, filet mignon, and rib eyes are available from your choice of Kansas’ Creekstone Farms (Black Angus, aged 35 days); Southwest England (South Devon Angus, aged 28 days); or Australia’s Darling Downs (Wagyu/ Black Angus hybrid). American Wagyu sirloin from Idaho’s Snake River Farms and A5 Japanese Wagyu rib eye are also available and are definitely worth the splurge.
We decided to have a sampling of several different steaks, so we ordered the Tasting of New York Sirloin (above), which comes with 4-ounce portions of sirloin from Creekstone and South Devon, and a two-ounce portion from Australia. The richness and intensity increases with each steak, culminating in the deeply marbled Wagyu hybrid; it’s a tour of the world’s finest steaks, and each was cooked to a perfect medium-rare with a nicely seared crust and perfect seasoning. For a steak-lover, it’s a taste of heaven.
If you prefer to fancy up your steaks, there’s a selection of eight sauces and six toppings available, including housemade steak sauce, bordelaise, béarnaise, bone marrow, chimichurri, caramelized onions, a fried egg, and a sprinkling of white truffles when in season. The 11 side dishes include potato purée, tempura onion rings, creamed spinach with a fried egg, cavatappi mac and cheese with Westcombe Cheddar, baby Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower and Romanesco with golden raisins and almonds.
For an upscale and decadent night out to remember, all under one roof, we hope it’s obvious by now that you need look no further than Bar 45 and CUT at 45 Park Lane.