On one of those truly grey nights that only London can produce, Mayfair restaurant Rextail seemed the perfect place for The Handbook to hide out in. Shouldered in between Brown’s hotel and the Royal Arcade on Albermarle Street we headed down a small flight of stairs and into a chicly lit basement space where our coats were taken and we suddenly remembered the perfect cure for drizzly nights – cocktails, tapas and a healthy dose of people watching. Luckily Rextail offered all three.
Seated at one of the individual place settings along an enormous black bar we took in what Rextail had to offer. Stretching all the way to the back where an open kitchen busied away were closely packed tables where diners were enjoying a quiet Monday night dinner. The interior balanced the odd combination of fine dining with rustic touches of warm blues, worn wood and cows heads mounted on the walls. The effect was welcoming and created the perfect ambience for an evening of propping up the bar with cocktails and a selection of tasty bar tapas.
The cocktail menu itself was extensive and artfully designed to combine classics with something a little different. Starting off small and figuring you can’t possibly go wrong with a mojito we tried the elderflower option which disappeared way too quickly for our liking. These soon followed with a gin based Basil and Berry cocktail featuring Tanqueray Gin, lemon, basil, blackcurrants and Creme de Framboise which cut sweet with bitter perfectly. We also sampled the Andalusia martini which turned out to be both ours and the incredibly friendly, female mixologist’s favorite.
As for the bar food, the quality and quantity easily offers up a perfect quick supper as an alternative to a sit down meal. Dotted all around us were little tasty dishes including impossibly fresh mozzarella, creamy goats cheese, piquillo peppers and a marinated artichoke and avocado salad with a sprinkling of pomegranate. There were also the heavy weight options of steak tartare and toast as well as a rich rabbit pate crossed with a sweet fig jam. Our only criticism would potentially be the service which although incredibly attentive and friendly never really gave you a moment completely on your own.
Rextail is a go to place in Mayfair for cocktails, fine dining and now tasty bar tapas.
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