The Financial District's former branch of the Federal Reserve Bank houses a posh restaurant and cocktail lounge where extravagant chandeliers twinkle from high ceilings, recessed walls frame vertical US Savings Bonds and the illuminated semi-circular bar is flanked by granite balconies. (Upstairs, the intimate Dom Perignon lounge houses a DJ booth and can be reserved for private parties.) Bond, located inside the Langham Hotel, recently hosted a media tasting to unveil their new spring menu, featuring well crafted cocktails, appetizers focused on small bites for sharing and desserts mostly worthy of indulging.
Settling comfortably into taupe and brown leather booths, circular chairs and tufted square stools, the grand luxury of the space captivated as a jazz duo played in the background. Homemade chips and a creamy shallot dip awaited at the tables and a waitress greets us shortly to take drink orders. Combining two of my favorite spirits The Treasury ($15) blends Aperol (longtime love) and Creme de Violette (new obsession) with Grey Goose L'Orange and Peychaus bitters. It possesses a unique depth that incidentally has more of a "one time only" appeal. While I could still appreciate it, the flavors seemed to clash more than they meshed, this is probably not for everyone. The marriage of gin and peas in The Appraisal ($15) results in a martini with a pretty green hue and a fresh springtime essence. St Germain and brown sugar add body and sweetness. Who knew peas in cocktails was actually a thing? I certainly didn't but trust me on this one, it works.
The first dish to arrive are the Vietnamese Spring Rolls a refreshing, pop-able bite, containing shrimp, chicken, cilantro and a spicy peanut sauce. Peanuts sprinkled on top add a terrific texture. These ended up being one of my favorites, but not without some heavy competition, notably from the Sweet Soy and Ginger Chicken Wings and the Crispy Judith Point Calamari. The former served with candied ginger slices are an absolute delight to consume, drummetts being the more graceful and sophisticated way to devour chicken wings. The calamari are livened up with sweet chili, black sesame and cilantro, they prove another balanced appetizer with some Asian flare. Other worthy choices that would be hard to pass up are the Lobster and Chorizo Quesadillas with queso blanco and sweet corn and the Flat Bread Pizza highlighting Great Hill Blue cheese topped with grilled stone fruit, pancetta and arugula. Finally, the Stracchino Cheese and Heirloom Tomatoes in virgin olive oil and balsamic are particularly intriguing, the tomatoes are actually stuffed with the soft, squishy cheese which is creamy and mild, similar to mozzarella.
Of the three desserts, I was all about the Strawberry Rhubarb Gratin pairing a fluffy mascarpone mousse with mint and black pepper sable. The Sticky Toffee Pudding was also excellent, you can't go wrong with individual cake servings topped with brown butter ice cream and Bookers Whiskey Caramel. The Chocolate Tasting was less successful, both the smoked chocolate cake and white chocolate brulee were unremarkable. The milk chocolate powder was fun and playful, but it didn't necessarily stand out. Ultimately there was too much going on and the only thing I kept going back for was the Guanaja Chocolate ice cream. That on its own is good stuff.
I had been hoping to return to Bond ever since my first visit (see the blog post here). This was just the type of experience I was seeking; kicking back after a day of work, relaxing with good cocktails and friends. Everything at tonight's media tasting was complimentary and I can't thank the kind folks at The Langham Hotel enough for inviting me!