Where do you go to find celebs rubbing shoulders with investment bankers and rugby players, while sipping on some high-end cognac? The answer is Churchills.
Melrose Arch is such an excellent venue, whether it’s for business or pleasure. It has a great many options so you are definitely spoilt for choice. Churchills is easily one of the top spots. Oddly located, you’ll find the staff from Rocomamas (situated just underneath it) are already well-used to explaining to people how to get to the Churchills entrance. Find it inside the shopping centre (when entering via the Piazza) on the 1st floor.
From the moment you walk in, you’re transported. Rich, sumptuous, dark colours and decor create a warm, inviting venue. You can sit at the bar, at high tables, on couches, in booths, next to the windows, in the smoking area or in a roped-off section meant only for you and your group booking. Despite its size, the layout is such that it easily creates pockets of privacy.
It’s for all of these reasons that the bar is considered such a great meeting place. Whether you’re there to close a deal or impress a client, or want to share an intimate drink with a friend, or have a private party, or just mingle and meet new people, it lends itself to all of these. The air of class and quality makes you feel like you must be hobnobbing with the cream of society.
I’ve been to Churchills a few times. Mostly, we go for drinks or the wine-tasting evenings they have. These are fantastic, and a lovely way to spend an evening, meeting new people and trying different wines.
It was only very recently that I was invited to try the food and cocktails. I usually stick to wine or beer but this afforded a nice change of pace. I’ve raided their complimentary harvest table before and that is delicious, so I was keen to see what the food menu would offer. In my experience, bars don’t usually serve the best dinners and I was looking forward to finding a different result.
I was not disappointed. We ordered the “smaller” burgers but when they arrived, we actually felt the need to check with the waiter whether he had it right. My friend’s burger had three chicken pieces on it, and that was impressive. My burger was also a good size, and definitely did not seem like the smaller choice. The chips were just perfect, I have to say. A lot of places go wrong with chips, which shouldn’t be the case (ever) but is. I had every intention of only having half the portion of chips but scarfed all of it.
My main was the Shroom and Swiss burger, which I chose without hesitation because of the cheese. It was also one of the burgers that came with all the standard toppings. I’m crazy about cheese so I enjoyed the flavourful melted cheese but what really struck me was the garlic. I couldn’t tell if it was worked into the meat or in the sauce but it tasted like the perfect addition and was just potent enough to grab my attention without being overwhelming.
My cocktail choice was the Caramel Popcorn Martini. I was a bit worried that I would get a syrupy concoction as I’m not a big fan of sweet drinks. It turned out to be anything but. A good, strong drink that still kicks a punch, without being as ridiculously potent as a regular Martini. In other words, just one won’t leave you legless. The glass was rimmed with crushed popcorn, a nice flair, which looked great, though it added little to the general taste. Much like the salted rim of a Margarita, most people only have the taste of it on their first sip and leave the rest of the rim untouched.
We spent some of the evening checking out the crowd, and chatting to our friendly waiter. We never did get to try out any cigars or fancy cognac but we’re not smokers so the cigar menu made little sense to us. They do have a fantastic (and I mean FANTASTIC) selection of whisky, scotch, cognac, and other distilled drinks. I can hardly imagine paying a small fortune for a dram of whisky. However, it is one of their biggest draw cards, and keeps Churchills so popular amongst foreign visitors and executives.
But don’t let that put you off, if you’re an average Joe like me. At the end of the day, you can have a great time unwinding after work with a regular drink, sitting on a plush sofa by the window. Order one of their boards or burgers, and let the sun join your drink in the sinking.
My thanks to Churchills for providing some great venue shots.