If you’ve read Around the World in 80 Days, you know that the main character is one Phileas Fogg, a devastatingly British gentleman with a penchant for precision and a flair for the eccentric.
But you needn’t have any prior knowledge of Jules Verne’s classic novel to appreciate the newly-opened Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals – just a thirst for cocktails (and maybe some hayfever tablets).
Following in the footsteps of the Inception Group’s other Mr Fogg’s venues, the House of Botanicals is fully committed to its theme. Mr Fogg’s Residence in Mayfair is brimming with antiques; Mr Fogg’s Tavern is a portal to a Victorian-era public house; Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour is unfailingly dedicated to the juniper spirit. The newest location’s focus is – you guessed it – plants.
The House of Botanicals lives up to its name, with leafy monsteras and hanging ivy aplenty. The downstairs area is open to walk-ins, sports an elegant oak bar and an abundance of natural light.
But the upstairs bar takes the aesthetic a step further. This reservations-only area features a glass house, intimate plush seating and an exclusive cocktail menu, dubbed The Language of Flowers.
‘When we decided the concept of House of Botanicals was going to be focused on plants, herbs, botanicals and flowers, we started to research the best concept for the signature menus,’ explained bar manager Simone Spagnoli.
‘We found out that the Victorian era was the great age of the flower garden and all things horticultural, so the flower symbolism became particularly elaborate at this time. It was during this era that a large list of meanings was assigned to flowers, and the language of flowers came into being.’
Drawing on the Victorian practice of gifting particular flowers to express specific emotions, the illustrated drinks list bases each cocktail on a floral element: the Cherry Blossom, apparently a symbol of envy, is embodied through gin, Evangelista Ratafia liqueur, falernum, almond, pineapple, lime and sakura tea foam; the Red Rose communicates passion through tea-infused vodka, rose, a red fruit shrub, lime and rose lemonade.
Flowers, plants and herbs quickly increased in popularity as a way to send subtle messages to others, allowing the sender to express feelings which could not be spoken aloud in Victorian Society. It was during this era that a large list of meanings was assigned to flowers and the language of flowers came into being. In fact many books and illustration were published at that time, so we read a lot around this to get more inspiration for the meanings.
While the menu and the venue itself are based on immersive novelty, Mr Fogg’s is known to take its drinks seriously. Mr Fogg’s Residence even claimed the prize for Imbibe’s Themed Drinks List of the Year in 2016.
The House of Botanicals is the first of three Mr Fogg’s venues the Inception Group plans to open this year. In May, Imbibe reported that founders Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling are also looking to open Mrs Fogg’s in Broadgate Circle and Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration near Charing Cross before the year is through.
Though the drinks details of these new venues are still a closely guarded secret, we have a feeling they’ll be just as enthralling – and as highly Instagrammable – as their botanical sibling.