NY-LON – Your opportunity to ‘Turn Left’ at O2

Peter Morrell checks in to the new joint Virgin Atlantic and Delta Lounge without going to the airport

For those of you who don’t know, ‘Turn Left’ is the term used when travelling by plane first or business class. It’s the direction you go to get to these cabins when you board. One of the great pleasure before flying in these classes is the visit to the executive lounge.

Now you can experience the style and sophistication of this pre-flight hospitality without going to the airport. A collaboration between Virgin Atlantic and Delta has created NY-LON. Based in O2, it’s an aviation-themed venue celebrating the airlines’ New York-London route and the 10 daily flights they offer.

I went along recently to soak up the atmosphere, the décor and to sample the food and cocktails from the extensive list. The new lounge has been brilliantly thought out, from the alternating red and blue fashion accessories of the charming greeters to the huge video display showing an old style departure board, but more of that later.

The bar in the cocktail lounge is fronted by turbine blades and I sat in what seemed like a large upturned engine nacelle. On the way to my seat I took a peek in the secret meeting room, with a curved ceiling and subdued lighting, it felt justlike an aircraft interior.

The heritage of the two airlines and the NewYork-London connection is continued in both the food and cocktail menus. The drinks have been well curated by the NY-LON mixologists with a collection of classic cocktails and some new ones inspired by both sides of the Atlantic and the aviation theme. My dining companion chose the oh so English London Vesper with the James Bond touch and made with Sipsmith spirits while I had a down south Georgia Mary, with a special spicing of chipotle Tabasco. These were both an excellent start to our lunch but if cocktails are not your thing then there is a large selection of champagne, wines, spirits and beers, including appropriately, two from the Meantime Brewery, acknowledging the proximity of the meridian.

Foodwise there are specialties from both sides of the pond. A meat sharing plate with salt beef, pastrami and pickled cucumber being typical New York and our choice, the seafood sharer, featuring crab, mackerel, smoked salmon and prawn cocktail, some of London’s staples. If your preference is vegetarian then there is a dairy option.

There are also small plates to share, with the U.S. being represented by things like sticky chicken wings and mac ‘n’ cheese. The U.K. offering includes two pies, one of Billingsgate fish and the other with mash and liquor. We chose three plates, two Brit dishes, crisp rabbit with heritage carrots and parsley, and pressed ham hock with piccalilli. The American one was a shot in the dark, ‘Scrapple’ with crispy pancetta and caramelised onion chutney.

All the food was very well presented, and it was plentiful. I particularly liked the pressed ham hock, which packed lots of flavour and was enhanced by the piccalilli. My companion was rather keen on the crisp rabbit and we both thought that the seafood sharing plate was excellent. And our shot in the dark, Scrapple? This turned out to be a Pennsylvanian dish with minced pork and made into a loaf. It was a new and tasty experience.

There were desserts, including favourites like chocolate brownies and rhubarb crumble or a cheese board for those who haven’t got a sweet tooth. We were both full and had been very satisfied with our meal so passed on the puddings. A word here for the servers, who were efficient and very friendly.

This is an ideal venue for people who want a genuine VIP experience either before or after an event at O2. The surroundings are sophisticated, the welcome is warm, and the food and drink delicious. And the departure board is more than just decorative, it will keep you fully up to date about the status of a performance in the arena

This aviation themed, off-airport lounge has already been highly successful with the Delta Sky360 Club at Madison Square Garden in New York and it looks like NY-LON will also take off in London as it brings to the capital that exclusive ‘Turn Left’ experience.

The O2

Visit www.ny-lon.co.uk or www.ny-lon.london for menus and more information.