The Goring Hotel, London
By Gary Sharp
I had been looking forward to my trip to the Goring, having heard great things about it.
I arrived on a Friday, mid afternoon, to find that the place was absolutely mobbed. Fortunately, there was still one bar stool available, squeezed in at the end of the bar. This is of course our preferred location, so that we can observe the bartender at work.
It's a very nice environment, but a little old fashioned for my tastes, and laid out over several parts, with tables competing for space. Definitely no room for casual loitering, and frankly too busy to be considered comfortable.
Because the place was so busy and there was only one full time bartender on, it took quite a while to be acknowledged and then served. I asked for our 2017 benchmark martini, but as the Goring currently does not stock Daffy's, I went for the reliable standby, the Tanqueray No. 10.
I was asked all the right questions - preference for vermouth? Olives or twist? Dry or wet? There was only one option missed - and it came shaken.
As one would expect in a place like this, it was no problem having it replaced with a proper, stirred martini. The stir was a bit chaotic, ice cubes were flying, but we got to the end in one piece. The martini was served in an acceptably chilled, not frozen glass, and garnished with - oh dear - two olives.
The result was - not quite dry enough, but certainly drinkable.
Verdict - worth a visit outside of peak hours, but make sure you insist on very dry and stirred.