The Mandarin Oriental’s M Bar, perched up high on the 25th floor, with a beautiful view of the city skyline, is running a series of events and special promotions, with guest appearances from internationally renowned mixologists throughout the course of this year. The most recent of these was Giancarlo Mancino who visited M Bar for one night only on 26th June.
Giancarlo was formerly the mixologist at Otto e Mezzo and Il Milione. With his own brand of vermouth (predictably called Mancino Vermouth), which is used in various F&B outlets in the hotel, Giancarlo is famously known as the “martini guru,” wowing guests with his classic cocktails with a twist. I was invited to sample a selection of his cocktails and understand a little more about Vermouth.
The so-called ‘Improved Pisco Sour’ struck me as quite a big claim. I love a good traditional Pisco Sour, so I was intrigued as to what Giancarlo thought makes his version better. Made with pisco, Mancino Vermouth Bianco Ambrato, vanilla syrup and lemon and lime juice, it was a lovely, light and refreshing beverage. Rather than being topped with frothy egg white, Giancarlo’s version had some pretty edible flowers, making this definitely a tipple for the ladies! I still wouldn’t call it ‘improved,’ as it was a very different drink altogether from its classic counterpart, but none the less a tasty one that was a little too easy to drink!
Having enjoyed Giancarlo’s Washed Negroni at Il Milione, I opted for one of these as my second drink. I often find negronis a little too strong and bitter, but this one, with the addition of elderflower liqueur and grapefruit bitters, was toned down ever so slightly and much more to my liking.
We also tried a selection of ‘light bites,’ which thankfully are a permanent fixture on the menu at M Bar. The menu features a selection of snacks that include popular items from some of the hotel’s other restaurants.
Although I’m not always a fan, I did enjoy M Bar’s homemade pork pie, served with pickled egg and sourdough. Both the pastry and the sausage meat were of superior quality that kept me going back for more.
Having loved them at The Chinnery, I was pleased to see Scotch eggs on the menu here too. These adorable bite-sized quails eggs are still some of the best Scotch eggs I’ve tasted.
Out of the many snacks we tried, my favourite were most definitely the lamb samosas, which were just as good as they have been every time I’ve had them at The Chinnery, if not better.
M Bar itself is as elegant and sophisticated as the rest of the Mandarin Oriental. Obviously prices, given its location within one of the best hotels in the city, aren’t cheap, with most cocktails over $120 and bar snacks around $150. It’s refreshing, however, to get away from the run-of-the-mill bars in Central and step into somewhere that’s in a completely different league and instantly exudes a comforting, much more refined charm that’s difficult to beat.
25/F, Mandarin Oriental Hotel
5 Connaught Road
Tel: +852 2825 4002