‘Would you like a wish?’ asked our waiter, with a grin. I’d have preferred a drink – Untitled is London mixology master Tony Conigliaro’s new bar, and I was raring to go on the menu of original cocktails. Instead, I was brought a rose-petal shaped piece of film on a sort-of petri dish, and told to eat it for palate-cleansing effect. It turned into a tomatoey paste in my mouth – a hint at the wizardry to follow.
The bar is modelled on Andy Warhol’s Factory: a sterile, minimal setting with silver walls and swathes of grey concrete. But as more bodies join our communal table, things soon warm up.
There’s no playing it down: the drinks are works of art. There’s no bar, but rather a couple of work stations where young staff prepare pre-batched concoctions delivered daily from Conigliaro’s nearby lab, the Drink Factory. The menu reads like a Holland & Barrett shopping list: the Sicily is made from ‘citrus, verbena, orange blossom’. Little bits of dried African marigold leaf tickle your nose as you sip, enhancing the tobacco notes in this bitter, vodka-based drink. The Waif was stunning, effervescently pairing rhubarb and rose in a beautiful coupe glass. The yoghurty Ninfeo arrived in a fanny-shaped receptacle, a paper fig leaf perched on top for dignity.
Is Conigliaro calling himself the Warhol of booze? I don’t think Untitled is that up itself. But with cocktails like this, he’d be justified.