The Mandrake hotel reveals its new centrepiece restaurant, Yopo, which serves modern European food with a South American twist.
Set within the otherworldly interior of one of London’s most remarkable hotels, The Mandrake, Yopo is a new restaurant and bar that is as spectacular as the hotel that surrounds it. While the hotel takes its theme from a mystical, hallucinogenic plant, Yopo has been inspired by a very real plant, which is found deep in the jungles of Venezuela and has been used by South American tribes for thousands of years.
Taking the space at the centre of the hotel – which was previously occupied by Serge et le Phoque – Yopo’s interiors act as an extension of the eccentric, daring choices that are found with The Mandrake. The hope is that Yopo will provide guests with a sense of escapism, keeping in mind the hotel’s open minded philosophy and stylish look, while providing delicious dining options from breakfast through to dinner and drinks.
Guests can either arrive at Yopo by going through The Mandrake, or by using the restaurant’s separate entrance on Newman Street, in Fitzrovia. The Newman Street entrance is framed by floor to ceiling windows; these feature artistic and floral displays, which will change through the year to reflect the different seasons. Instead of leading straight into the restaurant, this entrance invites guests into Yopo’s bar.
Throughout the day, the bar will serve coffees and take away dishes; in the evening it offers a range of drinks, including bespoke cocktails. One side of the colourful space is taken up by the bar counter. On the opposite side of the room is a long, velvet booth; artworks hang on the wall behind it, and tables spread evenly along the booth create enough space for various guest parties, while still creating an intimate atmosphere.
Entering the main restaurant, guests will find a space that is both complemented by the bar, and has its own unique feel. A wall of white, exposed brickwork creates an industrial feel, but this is tempered by the floor to ceiling windows directly opposite; these look out onto a luscious courtyard full of passion flowers and hanging jasmine. In the day, the windows bathe the restaurant in natural light. In the evening, the windows help enhance the moody atmosphere, and offer a glimpse through the dark into the Mandrake’s main bar, Waeska.
Yopo has been cleverly designed so that the rest of the interiors also adapt, changing the atmosphere depending the time of day. Silver and gold velvet armchairs have been used throughout the space. These work with the bright, open feeling of the restaurant during the day, but as the lights overhead dim and the dinner service begins, the mood changes to become cosy and intimate, with the chair colours reflecting this, appearing burnt orange and steel grey.
Nature has been brought into Yopo, with greenery dotted throughout the space; these balance with the gold features and textured wooden tables to keep the restaurant fresh and modern, no matter the time of day. Other decorations and furnishings remind guests that they are within The Mandrake, such as the large parrot-headed statue in one corner, and the expansive, bespoke hand painted mural that covers the entirety of the restaurant’s ceiling.
Yopo’s menu is just as adventurous as its interiors, bringing together modern European cooking and South American flair. Balancing experimental ingredients with classic cooking techniques, the restaurant’s chefs use only the finest produce and have created delicious dishes including potato churros, seabass ceviche, smoked aubergine with sea herbs, and Dorset rock oysters with champagne granita. With something new to discover in every corner of the room, and a vibrant, bustling atmosphere, it’s easy to understand why Yopo is an enigmatic oasis in the heart of London.