How Ryan Chetiyawardana and his team can transform yeast (Golden Levain) into one ingredient that forms the basis of their new cocktail menu at Lyaness, is a mystery to me. Tasting it in one of their “suggested serves” is a mind-blowing experience and, how it achieves those mind-blowing attributes is a science I am going to leave to those learned few.
When I sat down with the cocktail legend himself to get acquainted with the new menu at Lyaness, the award-winning bar in Sea Containers Hotel London sitting alongside the Thames, I had no idea the rollercoaster ride I would be taken on.
He had me at the Cereal Martini. As I was sipping that very cocktail, I could have sworn I was eating a biscuit. It was the strangest sensation. My mouth knew that it was a cocktail, but my head transformed (is that even possible??) those flavors into a digestive. How did they do that? I think Ryan was actually explaining the process as I was drinking it, but my mind was being blown, as aforementioned, and all I could think was when can I have another.
Every suggested cocktail I tried on the new Lyaness menu kept me in this state of cocktail euphoria. The Lyaness menu is organized as a collection of “suggested serves” based around a selected “ingredient” e.g Infinite Banana, Purple Pineapple and the mind-blowing Golden Levain. You are free to try the ingredient by itself first and, then, either order one of the suggested serves, or be a bit more daring and create your own, with a little help from one of their knowledge staff.
What Ryan and his team have done with this menu, and Lyaness as a bar, is put the ingredients at the centre of everything, not the spirit. This in itself is a brand new concept for a bar, which is ironic, considering chefs and restaurants do it all the time. As Ryan stated “when the ingredients are being used to play up the nuances of the spirit, you can truly create cocktails with a different point of view.”
It might sound cocktail geeky, but the drinks speak for themselves. If they weren’t mind-blowing, they wouldn’t be packing them in every night.
20 Upper Ground
London, SE1 9PD