Meet: Mr. Lyan
Ryan Chetiyawardana, AKA Mr. Lyan, doesn’t need much by way of an introduction. Since opening his first bar White Lyan, now Super Lyan, in 2013, the London based bartender has fast become one of the most influential people in the industry. (Funny we say that...)
This year, 2019, he has been ranked as the World's Most Influential Bar Industry Figure in the new Drinks International magazine Bar World 100. His love for pushing the limits of cocktail crafting and his knack for innovation have seen his second bar, Dandelyan, ranked number one in the World’s 50 Best Bars list 2018. And when you're at the top of your game...what do you do? Close the #1 bar in the world, and reopen to shock the globe with a brand new concept under the name Lyaness.
The Blend spoke with Ryan about Dandelyan before it closed.
Describe for us what Dandelyan as a concept encapsulates to give vision to anyone who never visited?
Dandelyan was the culmination of where we were at as a company, but also what we were excited to explore in the world of food and drink. We wanted to create a neighbourhood vibe in the beautiful setting we had, as making people feel comfortable and welcome was the most important thing. But we also wanted to excite them and build on what we had been doing before, so we created the concept of ‘Modern Botany’. It delves into the world of botany, but also references the ideals of travel that Sea Containers House encapsulates.
What makes you so unique to achieve the accolades in World's 50 Best Bars list?
We have the best team in the world! We draw from so many different backgrounds and that gives us scope to create a welcoming environment and a selection of drinks that are exciting and unique.
How long Dandelyan been in operation for?
We’re just past our third birthday, but the idea is about five years old.
How do you develop the drinks program within Dandelyan?
Entirely in unison, and that’s what makes it so special. About 35 people are involved in the menu and drinks creation, as every member of the team is involved in the process. This is what gives us such a spread of stories.
What type of training is provided to the team?
We want to be able to draw from lots of different areas, so the training is constant and evolving. We, of course, will look at spirits, wines, beers – the bread and butter of the bar world – but we will also look to gain insight from people who are innovating in lots of different industries.
Why should someone visit Dandelyan? (Editor's note, unfortunately, if you missed it, you missed it)
Thankfully there’s lots of reasons! The setting is incredible – designed by Tom Dixon and overlooking the Thames. The team are warm and friendly, the soundtrack is killer and the drinks are quick and interesting.
What’s in store for the future of Dandelyan and the team?
We don’t want to rest on our laurels, so we are constantly pushing ourselves and developing. As new members join, we regroup – always allowing room for growth and re-assessment. This is one of the catalysts for changing the menu, and for looking at new ways of evolving what we do.