February 20, 2020
Opium Chinatown – Cocktail Bar & Dim Sum Parlour in the Heart of Chinatown
A cocktail Bar and Dim Sum Parlour, Opium in Chinatown was launched by Breakfast Group founder Eric Yu in London 2012, spearheading the craft cocktail movement in the capital. In 2018, it was named as one of the Top 50 Cocktail Bars in the UK and in 2019, awarded Bar Team of the Year.
Hidden above Gerrard Street behind a jade green door and split over three levels, the venue takes inspiration from 1920s Shanghai and has three different bars – Apothecary Bar, Academy Bar and Peony Bar – each with its own distinct design and signature cocktail menu. A dim sum list is also served throughout the three bars.
Inspired by Chinese pharmacies and focusing on Feng Shui, Apothecary Bar is adorned with medicine bottles and features octagonal wooden menus reflecting the eight trigrams of the Bagua. These represent the different aspects of life (travelling, health, wealth, wisdom, creativity, fame, marriage and career), which are translated into eight unique cocktails.
Wealth: The Entrepreneur (£13.50) Served with an “opium banknote”, this is based on apple brandy mixed with matcha green tea, ginger foam, apple blossom and lemon oils
Marriage: The Companion (£14) Gin, with maceration of Thai basil, raspberry and coconut, and served with the Chinese symbol of love (a bee made of sugar)
A nod to Asian cooking skills and flavour pairings, the cocktail menu at Academy Bar is styled as a tongue-in-cheek Chinese takeaway menu, while each drink is named after an Asian celebrity chef. All garnishes are fully edible – some are cooked on a hot plate in the centre of the bar, similar to a teppanyaki restaurant – and are designed to bring out the complexity of the cocktails.
Yamaguchi (£14) Belvedere vodka infused with Lalani & Co black Hawaiian tea, manzanilla, buttered onion, pickle juice and nameko mushroom
Yan (£14.50) Chivas Regal 12-Year-old whisky, Laphroaig 10-Year-Old whisky, peach, curry, palm sugar, mole bitters, hay smoke and rice pudding
The Peony Bar is the smallest and most intimate of the three. A celebration of China, the menu is styled as a vintage map, on which the cocktails – each inspired by and named after a major city – taking you on a journey through China. The Peony menu was shortlisted in Imbibe’s themed menu of the year 2019.
Guiyang (£14) Moutai baijiu, Fair kumquat, ginger, grilled pineapple, yuzu, chestnut and custard
Beijing (£14) Kyro Koskue rye gin, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, vanilla, strawberry, yuzu, quinoa and brown rice
A selection of dim sum is served across all three bars.
Dim Sum Platter (£16.50) Four Siu Mai, two Char Siu Bao, two Har Gau & two seasonal vegetable dumplings
Lobster dumplings (£11 for three pieces)
Cantonese Barbecue pork buns (£7 for three pieces)
Spicy Duck Dumplings (£9 for three pieces)
Bar opening hours
Monday and Tuesday: 5 pm-1am
Thursday to Saturday: 5 pm-3am
Kitchen opening hours
Monday and Tuesday: 5 pm-1am
Wednesday to Saturday: 5 pm-1.45am
A: The Jade Door, 15-16 Gerrard Street, London, W1D 6JE
T: 020 7734 7276
W: Opium Chinatown