Mr Fogg’s is home to Phileas J. Fogg, the great adventurer and hero of the classic tale, Around the World in 80 Days (or so the plaque on the wall outside would have you believe). Inside is a lovely little cavern of Victoriana with no surface left untouched by trinkets.
At night, Mr Fogg’s is a haven for cocktail lovers who like their drinks complex and quirky. The bar is intimate and tucked in the corner of an impossibly bland-looking street within the heart of luxury Mayfair. There’s no standing inside, so booking is essential, and the clientele, which is a casually cool set, is left to enjoy music that creates enough atmosphere but isn’t loud enough to leave you shouting at your companions. It’s actually a great date place – romantic and trendy, with plenty of curiosities in sight to chat about in case conversation starts dangerously veering towards “so what’s your favourite colour?”
On Friday and Saturday afternoons, the bar opens early to host its Tipsy Tea. And because Mr Fogg’s is so irresistibly themed, in the afternoon, you will feel like you’ve stepped back in time to some glamorous parlour for an afternoon of intrigue and over-indulgence. It wouldn’t feel unusual if Poirot himself came in at any moment to gossip about a suspicious-looking fellow diner while you chomp on an olive and sup a martini.
I took my mum here for her birthday and she absolutely loved it. We were impressed from the minute we got our eloquent confirmation email from Fogg’s loyal servant, Passepartout, to the moment we were greeted by the smartly turned-out and smiling waiting staff. The theming doesn’t let up yet isn’t intrusive, and a visit to the loo is worth the trip whether you need to go or not.
Mr Fogg’s takes its cocktails seriously both day and night, and so the options for the Tipsy Tea are based either around a Champagne option or a gin option, all of which are inventive and impossible to choose from. Arriving in a teapot, you can opt for a bottomless cocktail for £20 or £30 extra, but we found that one teapot (at £38, which includes the food but not the service) did us two cups. The accompanying sandwiches are perfectly adequate while the pastries are very good indeed, especially the chocolatey and creamy millefeuille.
My mum used to work around the corner on Berkley Square in the Eighties, so remembered this place as an ordinary, after-work watering hole. I think she was suitably captivated by Mr Fogg’s not to feel at all nostalgic for the good ole days by the time we left.
This is a place that undeniably places the emphasis on the five-star cocktails and theming, which leaves you wow-ing enough not to worry that the food is three-star. We left with a five-star impression, full tummies, and were, of course, just a little bit tipsy.