Images courtesy: Nikolas Koenig
Situated within the London Edition, Punch Room is a sophisticated establishment designed to rehabilitate the idea of punch to the modern British drinker.
To my mind, and I am sure to many others, the drink is sometimes seen as little more than an afterthought at teenage parties.
In fact, it has a grand tradition dating back centuries.
Coming from the Sanskrit word pañc, meaning ‘five’, the recipe was imported to England by employees of the British East India Company in the early-seventeenth century.
The ‘five’ referred to the ingredients, with traditional punch containing alcohol, sugar, lemon, water, and tea or spices.
Punch Room stays true to these origins, offering a delicious range of modern concoctions based on the original recipe.
The bar itself mirrors this mix of old and new, juxtaposing symbols of the traditional London gentlemen’s club - including the fumed-oak panelling and deep leather armchairs – with more contemporary décor and cutting-edge music.
The house Edition Punch at Punch Room
Visiting a Monday evening in early summer, the environment has the feel of the best of old money England mixed with the elegance of the Edition properties – one of Marriott’s more upscale brands.
Featuring a daily changing punch, Punch Room places a heavy emphasis on the social aspect of sharing and discussion.
Punch bowls are available for one, two, four, six or eight people, encouraging guests of the hotel, or passers-by, to duck in with friends to catch up on the latest gossip.
This is place and unwind while sampling the simple bar menu devised by chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton especially to accompany drinks.
Drinks are prepared and served with the due ceremony and reverence, but the atmosphere is not in the least stuffy.
We were treated to a selection of the ten individual punches on offer, while a full menu of adventurous spirits is also available.
Cardinal Punch at London Edition
A particular Punch Room favourite is the afternoon tea concept Scandal Water.
Here light bites, including jasmine infused chocolate ganache, are paired with teas by the Rare Tea Co and perfectly matched punch.
The term dates to the nineteenth century, when it became the thing to do among the upper echelons of London Society, for whom work was unthinkable and consequently boredom was a very real issue.
The empty hours of the afternoon, between the memory of lunch and the anticipation of dinner, became the perfect time to revive the spirits with a cup of punch.
Try it for yourself and watch the afternoon drift away.
The London Edition blends ground-breaking innovation, great design, outstanding dining and entertainment with personal, friendly, modern service.
Located in Fitzrovia on the edge of London’s Soho neighbourhood, this luxury boutique hotel preserves the finest aspects of an iconic landmark building, but reinvents the spaces within to create a dynamic fusion of old and new, past and present.