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Opium is a seductive and secluded cocktail bar and dim sum parlour in the heart of Chinatown. Head through the jade door to embark on an evening full of creative cocktails and devilishly addictive dumplings.

What’s the draw?

We all love China Town, but it can induce a kind of sensory overload that has you craving some tranquillity (and a strong drink). Opium is the perfect spot to take this kind of refuge. It’s a secluded Shanghai theme cocktail bar and dim sum parlour hidden behind an elusive jade door with minimal signage, so it’s easy to miss. There are three bars within Opium – the main Apothecary Bar, the top floor Academy Bar, and the intimate Peony Bar, which seats 30 people, all accessed by a dark and winding staircase. Each bar is decorated with alluring red boudoir lighting, dark wood panels and filled with plumes of dry ice from the cocktails, giving the spaces a sultry air. On the menu are exceptional cocktails and fine dim sum, but don’t just take our word for it – Opium was recently listed on the Top 50 Cocktail Bars UK. The price point here is higher than neighbouring China Town establishments, but the novelty of Opium makes it totally worth it.

What to eat?

Dim sum is inhalable at the best of times, but the dumplings here are next-level moreish. Choose between single baskets or platters, accompanied by a few bar snacks like wasabi peas and chilli corn. The menu contains all your dim sum favourites like plump har gau made with king prawns, fragrant sui mai (pork and prawn) and the fluffiest char siu bao in the game. For those who want to branch out there’s plenty of choice, including the crab and samphire, spicy duck, and seabass and fennel dumplings. The platters are a great shout for those who wish to share or eat a pile of dumplings to themselves. Choose between the vegetarian, seafood or classic (which contains a mix of vegetarian, fish and meat dim sum).

What to drink?

The drinks here are as much about the presentation and theatrics as the ingredients and are often based on Chinese remedies. Although each bar has a slightly different menu, whichever one you drink at guarantees curious, zany and totally bizarre cocktails. For those who want a spectacle, opt for the Opium n°9 made from gin, Fortunella golden orange liqueur, Lillet Blanc and yuzu green tea, served with plumes of dry ice spilling from the glass. For those who enjoy a twist on a classic, go for the Cherry on Top, which takes inspiration from the Gimlet, made with gin, vodka, Chartreuse, Maraska maraschino cherry liqueur and kaffir lime cordial; or go for the Boba Stars, a reinvention of the classic pornstar martini made with tequila, passion fruit liqueur, Supasawa, Bristol passion fruit syrup, prosecco, boba Pearls and passion fruit mist. What to learn how to make these cocktails yourself? No problem. Book into the cocktail-making masterclass hosted by Opium's own mixologists.

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