In the heart of Old Brompton road lies one of Chelsea’s most infamous establishments, running for close to three decades. Nam Long Le Shaker is known for its high profile cliental, flamboyant owner and of course ‘Flaming Ferraris’ (a drink that should only be drunk with severe caution). Thai Dang, the original owner was known for being a local hero and famously turned away both Prince William and Mick Jagger entry to bar. After the passing of Thai Dang, his daughter Dzuyen took over the establishment, introducing a new Pan-Asian inspired menu as well as creating the Opium Den and new cocktail menu, which we are here to explore.
We headed down into the Opium Den, a place filled with low lighting along with traditional walls and wood patterned flooring giving it an authentic vibe. The Den is decorated with plush décor deigned by Boxer and Brown, with many handcrafted statues and traditional artwork hanging on the walls, the main spectacles being a gigantic mosaic cocktail bar with a glittering mirror and paneled front.
We are seated and immediately given a variety of drinks to choose from. The newest addition to the menu, the Bardot – a lychee liquor based cocktail combined with gin, a little cherry heering and finished off with rose water – is sweet and heady. The Jade cocktail is equally delicious and refreshing, created with the unusual combination of citrus vodka/gin, refreshing cucumber, elderflower, a dash of lime and garnished with a shaving of cucumber and summer berries. However, our favourite is the Honolulu, which is a taste of the tropics, with a mix of passion fruit, Flor de Cana Rum, topped with passion fruit and blueberry – all-in-all the perfect summer cocktail. The Flaming Ferrari was also a sight to behold in its flaming glass but – due to the rumours of this being a drink that would leave you questioning what you did the night before – after a few sips, we passed.
After drinking some seriously strong cocktails, it seemed only logical to indulge in some food to try and soak up the alcohol just a little. We dined on a plate of tempura vegetables and lettuce leaf Vietnamese spring rolls, which were light and satisfying.
There is definitely a sense of nostalgia in Nam Long Le Shaker, and it is easy to see why it has survived so long. Yet the opening of the Opium Den, gives Nam Long an even more exclusive and luxurious feel, where people can just get away and indulge in a few (albeit strong) cocktails on a Friday evening. The décor is really a sight to behold and along with some delicious drinks and food, there is no reason why this place will not be open for another 30 years to come.