A conversation with Tiago Mira
“Come with an open mind and an open heart and let us look after you” is the closing comment from Tiago Mira, the Bar Manager at Bacchanalia, the biggest, boldest new opening from Richard Caring, the man behind neighbouring venues Annabel’s and Sexy Fish.
Accurately described as a feast for the senses, Bacchanalia invites guests to escape into an ancient world of Greco-Roman dining and drinking, lavishly decorated and serviced by a beautiful crowd of hosts, servers and bartenders (no grape-feeders).
Probably the busiest bar in London right now, we caught up with Tiago to learn more about the operation.
“My bar background has always been in luxury settings including The Goring, The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz and Annabel’s so I’m used to five-star service.
Bacchanalia is a huge operation so the biggest challenge here was how to provide that in such a high-volume environment and I really think we have achieved that.”
How do you achieve high volume and high standards?
As a business, we have invested a lot into a drinks production, research & development lab where we develop and produce our infusions, distillates, syrups and other cordials which allows us to serve drinks quickly with consistency and allows the bar team to spend more time focused on their guest.
We have a lot of equipment available to us to help turn ideas, flavours, and concepts into a reality. We have a well-developed training program and an experienced team and focus a lot on providing great service to every guest that comes through the door.
Since opening at the end of November we have sold just under 12,000 cocktails
Can you elaborate on the process to create the first drinks menu at Bacchanalia?
Our first menu has been developed by our Head Bartender Paulo Azevedo. The list needed to complement the food and style of the venue which meant infusing Greek and Italian influences in a subtle and nuanced way.
We wanted the drinks to be fun, tasty, understandable, precise and beautiful to the eye.
If you had to highlight a couple of drinks from the menu what would they be?
Our most popular drink is the Baclava, a popular dessert in Greece (although originating in Turkey) made with vodka, our own pistachio orgeat, butter essence and paolo cortado sherry. The flavour profile is easy to recognise, and you will see this drink all over social media, it comes with a beautiful and edible design adorned on top of the drink.
One of my personal favourites is Grape, a combination of vodka infused with grapeskin, grape essence, grape liqueur and a touch of Tio Pepe presented in a nude-coloured glass with a big chunk of ice and grape on top of the ice. Very clean, nuanced yet complex flavour profile using different techniques to pull out every flavour from the main ingredient, the grape.
As the bars manager what are your main responsibilities?
It is important for me to have a big-picture view of the operation and also to make the team feel safe, secure, valued and involved.
We operate a very flat structure and we organise a lot of bonding sessions between the management and the floor teams to create a feeling of family. I consciously make time to ensure I have welcomed and farewelled each member of the team and spend time with each person on shift for one-to-one conversations.
Any advice for people making drinks at home?
Let’s talk about the Margarita as tequila is very on-trend at the moment. Personally, I like to add 5ml of a 1:1 simple syrup to my recipe, it doesn’t sweeten the drink but it does reduce the lime acidity making the drink easier to enjoy.
50ml blanco tequila, 20ml Cointreau, 20ml fresh lime, bar spoon of 1:1 simple syrup. Shaken vigorously with lots of ice and strain into a chilled glass. My other recommendation is to use lots of ice, more ice equals colder drinks and less dilution.
*1:1 simple syrup is made by dissolving equal amounts of caster sugar into the water. For example, 250g sugar dissolved into 250ml water will make a simple syrup that can be stored in your fridge at home.
And do you have any final thoughts or comments?
I understand that Bacchanalia is getting a lot of press, we receive a lot of famous faces and our style is opulent and glamorous, this can perhaps cause people to feel a little intimidated or maybe not want to like the venue before experiencing it.
However we genuinely want to provide every guest with a great experience so please join us with an open heart, an open mind and we will look after you to the best that we can.
We greatly enjoyed our visit to Bacchanalia, the team were friendly and the drinks were excellent.
If you want to come to Bacchanalia there is a dress code which is beautifully explained by Tiago “we put a huge amount of effort to give our guests a great experience, we want it to be an occasion for everyone and we politely ask our guests to reciprocate.”
See you at the bar x