Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Experimental Cocktail Club, Soho

Experimental Cocktail Club
13A Gerrard Street

Lee Moncello

More Sherlock Holmes than Inspector Clouseau, we discover the Experimental Cocktail Club behind an unmarked door in Chinatown.

From the steamy windows of the street, the stairway to the bar could be a portal to Mayfair - only the silk wallpaper and glass-noodle lampshades nod to the world outside.

The waiter talks us through the menu; under his advice, I choose an Old Cuban - rum, champagne, ginger, lime and mint. My drinking companion, Keira Royale, orders an Experience No 2: gin, elderflower, lemon juice, basil and lemongrass.

When the drinks arrive, we're quietly awed by little herb gardens in our vintage coupe glasses. Ah, les Français! You've always been much better than us in the kitchen.

For the second round Keira opts for an Old Cuban while I order a Stone Raft and, sure, there are no complaints from my cocktail companion.

But my drink is pure dommage. The menu promised bird's eye chilli-infused tequila, sherry, mezcal, agave nectar & celery bitters. I feel not the slightest tingle from the chillies - let alone the gentle poke of a celery stick - and sip away with intense chagrin until my £10 tumbler of sherry is empty

Experimental perfection? It might as well have been a beef and onion trifle for all I enjoyed it.

The one sweet upshot of the night was the realisation that London might be the world capital for cocktails. Sure, us Brits can barely cook worth a damn, but with Milk and Honey and the American Bar just five minutes' walk away from this venue, I hope for the ECC's sake that no-one else has to drink through the Stone Raft I had.

But, given the reputation of their Parisian outpost, even in the worst case scenario I have no doubt that they'll earn back their train fares.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Nightjar, Shoreditch

The Nightjar
129 City Road

Opal Nera

I duck out of the rain and into an unmarked door on City Road. I’d received a phone call earlier that day requesting my services to help track down a wayward husband. Typically, I don’t get involved in such second rate shenanigans, but I need new business cards and times are tough.

Still a little sore from last night’s bust up with a rather eager Rottweiler, I gingerly make my way down dimly-lit stairs into a San Franciscan-styled speakeasy. It’s a classy joint. I’m not surprised. On the phone, she sounded classy too. I reckon I’m looking for a breathy blond with a face like a worried puppy. I start to wonder whether I oughtn’t to have worn a red carnation for identification when I realise that the place is empty, apart from a long-legged blonde sitting alone at a table in the corner, and a sultry redhead singing a melancholic tune on stage.

I walk over to the blonde. Her hair swished down a little like what Frank Lloyd Wright must have had in mind when he designed Fallingwater. She wore a red dress so tight it looked Weisswurst wrapped in bacon. Boy, did she take a man’s mind off the recession.

The blonde looked up at me. “Mr. Nera”, she drawled.

“Drinks first,” I replied by way of introduction, “formalities second. What can I get you?”

“I’ll have a Fog Cutter. Rum always makes me feel better.”

I return with the drinks and sit opposite the blonde. I set the tall glass down in front of her and take a sip of my Ladybird before asking after her drink.

“Do you always take so long to get to the point, Mr Nera? I asked you here for a reason.”

I cock my left eyebrow by way of response.

“If you must know,” she purred, “it’s absolutely delicious. Tastes like my last Californian holiday – all rum and almond. Do you mind very much, Mr. Nera,” she said reaching across to brush my hand, “if I have a taste of your…”

“Of course,” I finished, sliding my drink across the table.

“Delicious,” she said. A little smile flicked across her lips as she licked a swish of chocolate off the glass. “What is it? Spiced rum and perhaps a dash of plum liquor?”

“It’s a Ladybird. You’re right about the spiced rum, but it’s prune and truffle liqueur, not plum. An excellent palate,” I smiled at her. “Now, tell me, Miss…”

She studied me over her Fog Cutter and remained silent.

“Miss…,” I faltered, “how can I be of assistance?”

“Well, Mr. Nera, you see I haven’t actually got a husband. At least not yet. But I hope to have one soon. Perhaps after a few more of these Fog Cutters…”

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Lounge Bohemia, Shoreditch

Lounge Bohemia
1 Great Eastern Street

Kina Lillet

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

If Lounge Bohemia were a sentence, not a bar, it'd be in with a prize-winning shot at the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Prize for rubbish writing. Like Bulwer-Lytton’s original line, Lounge Bohemia is atmospheric but overblown. I’d like to be drawn in, to be captivated by Paul Tvaroh’s establishment and by his cocktails, naturally, but while the ambience is just right and the menu-cum-book is a nicely observed detail, the drinks are all smoke and mirrors. I hate to resort to such a tawdry metaphor, but given that Lounge Bohemia is more concerned with process than pleasure, I feel less guilty for poo-pooing the watering hole of this would-be wizard of booze.

I telephone to make an appointment, for an appointment is necessary. The conversation proceeds as expected, but before replacing the receiver, I am informed that neither suits nor office wear are permitted at this bar. Given that most everyone I know, even the dickhead, creative media types, work in an office, I wonder whether my cashmere and leather constitutes “office wear”.

I meet Margie Rita and we fearlessly order round one. Margie opts for the Lavender Crème Brûlée, a drink one of my new flatmates described to me as being like, “an orgasm in a glass”... The LCB is delicious. It tastes like a lavender-flavoured crème brûlée. So far, so good. At the recommendation of our delightful hostess, I’ve ordered the bar’s signature drink: the Sgt. Pepper. With black pepper vodka, elderflower liqueur and cordial and lemon juice, it tastes neither like black pepper nor like elderflower, but rather bizarrely like freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice.

Next Margie orders a Kaid Sling, which is probably supposed to taste like an adults-only Shirley Temple, but instead comes across all sickly sweet and bubble gum. My Holy Smoke is “leather infused Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif, frankincense and myrrh smoke”. The drink arrives in a small flask nesting in a Czech bible.  There’s an upturned glass resting on a tray. I’m instructed to turn the smoke-filled glass over and pour in the Courvoisier. It smells like a priest and tastes like sin. Actually, it tastes of a passable single malt, but who cares.

Our last drinks are the most bizarre: a Porcini-tini and a Bubble Bath Martini. Do porcini mushrooms, vodka, crème de cacao, condensed milk and salt sound like a match made in heaven? This is Tvaroh at his most Blumenthal-esque and I don’t like The Fat Duck either.

The BBM was a blend of lychee liqueur, lavender and poppy seed vodka, with lychee, lavender and rose bubbles. Frankly, it was revolting: like soapy, liquidised turkish delight.  Its only redeeming feature was a hilarious miniature rubber ducky face down in this undrinkable drink.

I later find out that Tvaroh is teetotal and doesn’t drink a lick of booze. How utterly baffling. Why on earth would a man who doesn’t drink alcohol open a bar? It certainly helps to solve the puzzle of this place, though: the drinks at Lounge Bohemia taste like they were created by someone who likes neither cocktails nor the people who like to drink them.

Avoid the magic tricks. Find a bar that likes people who like to drink.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Purl, Marylebone

50/54 Blandford Street

Jerry Boam

Hallowe'en is a time for tales. And in the Boam dynasty there is one tale that haunts each and every Blakeyed step, from birth unto the brink of death; a spectre that pursues every first-born without remorse, a dog that hounds us toward untimely ends and, for all we know, beyond that moment of supposed rest. No amount of claret has ever been able to quench this silent shadow; no amount, that is, until now. I, the seventh Boam to feel the touch of the icy-fingered fiend, tell my tale with darting eyes and pen a-tremble.

My story begins under the streets of Marylebone, yards from the garret dwellings of Great Uncle Boozy Boam; down cast iron steps we tread, and into the gloom of Purl. 'We' is Ms Kina Lillet and I, seeking refuge from the cold afternoon on this Eve of all the Hallows. We seat ourselves on an ageing Chesterfield. We peruse an ancient, yellowing page of menu. Out from among the bricks and cobwebs, candles aglow in corners, steps our ghostly waitress. All in black, she totters to take our order.

Whilst we dither and decide, I sense something amiss. Why does she stare at me so? It's as if, somehow, she knows me. Unnerved, I order drinks. Demurely she departs toward the bar, and to a trio of oddly attired drinks concocters. They seem familiar, like twisted Boam portraits through the ages; all slicing, chopping, pouring, measuring. Their eyes flicker periodically towards me, and glitter and smirk. Smoke gushes forth in torrents.

With a shudder, I turn toward Ms Lillet. I can't hide my fear, not from her.

“What ever is the matter Mr Boam? You look so dreadfully pale all of a sudden.”

“Oh 'tis nothing Ms Lillet,” I parry bravely. “And do call me Jerry. I insist upon it.”

“If you say so, Jerry. It's frightfully scary though in here isn't it,” she grins with glee. “Why don't you tell me a story?”

And so I tell the only story the Boams can ever tell, the fated story of the Boam curse. “It all began,” I begin....

...our waitress returns with our drinks; drinks which match both the day and the tale: the otherworldly festival of Hallowe'en, and the tale about to stutter forth from pinkly trembling lips. Ms Lillet sips a Pumpkin Pie Flip, a creamy Bourbon affair with lip-zinging nutmeg sherbet around the rim and a 'Chicken Egg' lurking deep within. I have something entitled Mr Hyde's Fixer Upper. The presentation – in a wax-sealed glass flask – beguiles, but the drink seems a little peculiar: cola syrup has never been suited to the Boam palette.

We chat, Ms Lillet and I, and soon we order further from our attentive waitress. She seems to be sliding into familiarity. Might I know her from some past dalliance? Thankfully the thought drifts away as more drinks arrive: for Ms Lillet, the Mummified Elixir cloaked in bloodied bandages; I, meanwhile, sup the Werewolf's Tincture; in effect an elaborately presented Negroni. The Negroni of course is a Boam favourite, and this one rather raises the spirits. Supplemented by 'Full Moon' pickled onions and 'Graveyard Mist' it's both omen and memento...

Ms Lillet leans towards me, her hand brushes my raven-black lapel. She whispers close. “Continue, Jerry, your tale.”

“It all began,” I begin again, “in the days of Viscount Balthazar Boam. He was, as you know, a monumental carouser. Nothing, nothing escaped his rapacious whim – money of course being of no object. He was known up and down St James', throughout London, from the bedrooms of princesses to foul dens of the most base iniquities. The tales of his escapades could fill a book. Indeed, it's said that such a book was written by one of his callously jilted mistresses. And here lies the origin of the curse.”

“The curse?”

“Indeed. For Balthazar, it's said, had lost interest in this mistress and had her bricked up deep in the cellars beneath one of his properties. For days she screamed, for days she wept. But to no avail: she'd been left, she knew, to die.”

“How awful,” whispers Ms Lillet softly. Is she, could she be, smiling? She seems to take some strange pleasure from this vile family tale, a tale I've never told in full before. But something compels me to continue. Now, I shall never need tell it again...

“Her mind dark with avenging rage, this unknown mistress compiled a full inventory of every sin committed by the profligate Balthazar. It took a full day and a full night to compile the list, a list that would make the devil himself quake in awe and horror. She wrote, so the story goes, on old parchment left in the cellars long-since abandoned. Instead of ink she used her own blood, delicately drawn from her snow-white upper arm. Rumour has it she survived for weeks, slowly losing energy, weight, flesh; gradually, painfully wasting out of this life, and into the next. Her dying words were the curse – the curse that still haunts the Boams to this day: to die an unknown death, never to be found or buried, never accounted for, never blessed, never freed. The Boams must roam eternal. It is our fate.”

Ms Lillet's tongue caresses her lips, her mouth twisting towards a grin? It must be the remnants of her Elixir, its flavour softly clinging. “But what happened to the parchment?”

“That,” I reply, suddenly struck by the hunger in her greenish grey eyes, “remains a mystery.”

“Perhaps I can help with that.” It's our waitress, suddenly behind me. A chill gust nips the nape of my neck. I notice her upper left arm – gashed and raked, ancient wounds still raw and red. She grins a manic, blazing grin. And turns over our drinks menu – upon the other side, in darkly crimson scrawl, an unmistakable catalogue of sin.

I turn toward Ms Lillet, “Kina!” The light flickers. Her hair glints grey.

Purl. Here, in this bricked up family cellar, I remain. The curse is lifted. The curse has just begun.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Skylon, South Bank

Royal Festival Hall
Belvedere Road

Glenn Fiddich

Just after we arrived at Skylon, Fiddich Senior and I were presented with two complimentary glasses of iced water and a tiny porcelain bowl of rice crackers.

"Oh, I'm not sure we want any of these," said Fiddich Senior to our waitress, who looked like an extra from the first series of Star Trek. "Whatever they are."

"They're Japanese," she said, with the tiniest of sighs. "To go with your drinks."

Fiddich Senior, whose admiration for Vesta beef curries has remained undimmed by the passing of the years, looked pained.

"Yes, I think we'll give them a miss," he said. On the eve of his sixtieth birthday, my father was about to try his first cocktail, and he was determined not to enjoy it.

You see, Fiddich Senior comes from a little village in Cumbria - let's call it Ramsbottom. All the ales in his local boozer have names like Badger's Arse and Get Your Tits Out. In Ramsbottom, any man ordering a drink in a long-stemmed glass is regarded with the very deepest suspicion. But my tales of Skylon, with its grand river views and gourmet bar snacks, had intrigued him. We've always had a rather competitive father-son relationship (every Sports Day, he used to abandon me in the Parents' Race and team up with a thinner, faster child), and he likes to prove me wrong. So he booked a return ticket to Euston and prepared himself to be disappointed. He was, he told me firmly, really only coming down to London to visit the Imperial War Museum. 

With the crackers gone, Fiddich Senior turned his attention to the Skylon cocktail menu, which is divided into classics (Martini, Margarita and several others beginning with M), seasonal specials, Bellinis and desert cocktails. As I talked him through the various options, he looked longingly at the whiskys.

I decided to go for my usual, the Skylon Spritzer (Apperol and rhubarb with a lemon and grapefruit twist, topped up with sparkling wine), while Fiddich Senior, after much hmming and tutting, chose the Prunelle (fresh plums muddled shaken with Prunelle plum liqueur, Krupnik honey vodka, lemon and apple juice).

"Very good for the digestion, plums," he told our waitress when she brought the drinks over. "Well, here goes." Then he took a deep breath, lifted his glass (a Martini glass, never to be mentioned in Ramsbottom) and took a cautious sip through pursed lips.

"Well?" I asked. Fiddich Senior swilled the contents of his mouth around, looking thoughtful. 

"Room spray," he said eventually. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "But nice room spray." He took another sip, a bigger one this time, and smiled. "You know, I might have another one of these. And some of those Japanese things, too."

Thursday, 28 October 2010

69 Colebrooke Row, Angel

69 Colebrooke Row
N1 8AA

Kina Lillet

A bad start.

The first time I passed through the unassuming glass doors at 69 Colebrooke Row was for a rendez-vous with an old flame.  I was reluctant to see him again, given the amusingly disastrous nature of our split, but consented provided that he agreed to the following terms: 1) not a word about our relationship would pass his lips and 2) we met at Colebrooke Row.

An amusing story.

I hadn’t even had a chance to digest my surroundings when he began to proffer a post-mortem relationship analysis and apology.  Needless to say, I wasn’t interested and so for him, the evening ended badly, early, and in floods of tears.  I, on the other hand, parked myself at the diminutive bar and began to drink my way through the entire menu.  Though I didn’t make it quite to the end that first evening, I’ve subsequently sipped every drink on the menu.

There’s something about a lone lady sitting at the bar that softens the heart of even the steeliest of bartenders, so I was well looked after.  But it wasn’t until I proved my dedication to the palette by deducing that the orange blossom flavouring used in their Almond Ramos – a crazy concoction based on the Ramos gin fizz but made with orange blossom and almond, thickened to a whipped cream consistency with nitrous oxide canisters – was the same flavouring used in Ladurée’s delicious orange blossom macaroons, that the world of Tony Conigliaro was my oyster. Well, almost. Due to teething problems with the fabrication of the shells, I didn’t actually get to sample Tony’s take on the Prairie Oyster, but it sounded inspired: a tomato sphere “yolk” floating in a spiced vodka cocktail, slurped down all in one go.

To compensate for the sheer awfulness of regaling me with tales of such marvels without actually allowing me to taste one, my friendly bartender pulled a bottle from behind the bar and whispered, “you must try this”. “This” was one of the most intense flavours to ever pass my lips: a house-distilled horseradish vodka.  It was like drinking liquid wasabi. Colebrooke Row uses this essence of horseradish to construct the definitive Bloody Mary.  And I know my Bloody Marys. The composite parts are arranged neatly in front of me – the horseradish vodka, house made celery salt, house bitters and an incredibly potent black pepper tincture – before being mixed with thick tomato juice. Like a puppy is not just for Christmas, a CR Bloody Mary is not just for brunch.  This drink is far too dangerous for Eggs Florentine.

While the menu changes seasonally, staples remain: CR’s take on Campari and Soda adds a dash of grapefruit bitters and their Bellini pairs green apple puree with almond blossom and prosecco. One of my favourite drinks on the menu’s current incarnation, the Spitfire, is made with CR house Cognac and Crème de Peche.  It drinks like a smoky rainbow. Sounds ludicrous. Tastes delicious.

Sitting at this bar, you really come to appreciate the theatrics of good cocktail making. The dry ice martini is particularly diverting. On a more recent trip, my companion and I went out for a cigarette and came back to find our drinks overflowing with smoke onto the bar.  It’s difficult to remember what they tasted like, to be honest. I was far too excited by the curlicues of smoke running through my fingers.

While I haven’t perched at every bar in London nor supped every cocktail in the Big Book of Booze, I have done enough of both to know that 69 Colebrooke Row is something special.

A happy ending, then.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Zetter, Clerkenwell

The Zetter
St John's Square
86-88 Clerkenwell Road

Jerry Boam

Regular readers of New London Cocktail Review will doubtless be aware of my passion for the Negroni. Whilst our erstwhile founder Kina Lillet considers it dull – and in fact lambasted me for my stubborn insistence on drinking nothing but Negronis on our recent trip to Hix – I think perhaps she may be a little blinkered. I mean sure, a cocktail can be an adventure, but one needn't be Edmund Hilary every day of one's life. Must one?

No, the Negroni is a simple pleasure: a simple, seriously alcoholic pleasure, and one that's been my drink of choice since birth. It's in the Boam blood. Great Uncle Boozy Boam (Marylebone branch) is famed for his frankly intimidating take on the Italian classic. Or was – a life of sauce-fuelled indolence has left him guzzling Special Brew on his death bed. 'Tis a fate I hope we all can aspire to.

Anyway, the point here is that, done properly, the Negroni is a thing of great subtleties. Crisp, bitter and persistently ginny, it's a timeless medicine for the gentleman of refinement. Imagine therefore, if you will, my horror at the pissy little excuse for the drink served up to me (in the company of Ms Lillet no less!) in the bar at The Zetter in Clerkenwell.

Possibly I should have seen it coming, but the sense of shock was no less keen. On entering the absurdly named establishment, I commented (under my beery breath): “Why, this place looks like a hotel bar or some such similar dreadfulness.” “That's probably,” replied Lillet in a trice, “because it is.” Oh. I see.

To our seats then, and Lillet orders an Aperol Spritz; I the fateful Negroni. The former comes in a pint-sized ludicrous goblet thing and has more ice than the Boam's partridge freezer; it tastes of nothing. But this nothing is heaven compared to the latter, urgh the latter. The key to a Negroni, like the Boam prose, is balance – it must cleanse and calm and soothe, and needle and taunt and spur the drinker on to ever greater feats. If I, perish the thought, were ever to become a donkey, the Negroni would be both my carrot and my stick.

But this, this little pot of fecklessness, was all horribly off-kilter – a thin, anaemic little thing, with no bite and barely enough booze to souse a squirrel. Pointless, heart-rendingly pointless. I could have cried, were it not for the fact that we'd only stopped off on the way to Marylebone, and a heartily-anticipated Boam family knees-up. If there's one thing that makes up for the horror of a terrible Negroni, it's eight heart-shudderingly perfect ones immediately afterwards. That's the Boam way.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Casita, Old Street

5a Ravey St
London EC2A 4QW

Lee Moncello

Casita: less like a little house, more like a garage.  A small drop-in, on a small street, with a small loo. Three bar stools; hardly more beer taps. Espresso machine (for martinis). Fruit (for batidas). No tapas (don’t ask).

Nice spirits: Beefeater, Abuelo, Arette. The cocktail menu’s a plastic peg board. Lists classics (mojitos, margaritas) and bar signatures (Kizmet, Oriental). But anything goes. Owner Will Foster trained with Jake ‘Portobello Star’ Berger. He knows cocktails - loves tequila. Evangelical about his verdita.

Green & Red’s gone – now Casita’s the best tequila east of Soho. Hearts are warm. Drinks are cold. Just don’t ask for a coffee.

Monday, 11 October 2010

HIX, Soho

66-70 Brewer Street

Kina Lillet

I stood in front of a heavy wooden door on Brewer Street on a sunny Saturday afternoon and looked forlornly at a heavy wooden door separating me from HIX.

"It looks closed," I said glumly to my associate, Jerry Boam, "what kind of drinking den is closed on a Saturday afternoon?" Luckily I thought to try the door and when I pushed on it, it swung satisfyingly open. Because I knew the bar was downstairs I wasted no time chatting to the overly inquisitive staff on the door or even looking around the ground-floor restaurant. I’ve eaten at the St John Street operation and I know the food is mouth watering: get me to the cocktail list.

At the bottom of the stairs, we found ourselves with a most agreeable situation: a beautiful bar and it was ours, all ours. I wanted to move in. Literally. We fell into plush chesterfields at one end of the room and sighed at the sight of the cocktail menu. After considerable perusal of the entirely too wordy menu, JB decided not to stretch himself with one of the more adventurous looking delights and plumped for old faithful. By which I mean he had a Negroni. Which tasted like a Negroni.

I, on the other hand, was craving an Amaretto Sour, but for the benefit of you dear reader, took the bullet to find out what HIX’s cocktail wizard was capable of. I ordered a Forbidden Sour. Once I got over the inanity of ordering such a ridiculously-named drink, I could appreciate the subtlety of the thing. Initial impressions of the drink - composed of Julian Temperley's Apple eau de vie and Galliano L'Authentico - were favourable, but an unexpected anise seed after taste gave me pause. The next round saw me cave in and order that Amaretto Sour with he-the-next-chesterfield-over sticking with the Negronis. He said they were delicious. I wasn’t interested. The Amaretto Sour was predictably satisfying: sweet, but lip-puckeringly sour. Honestly, I could drink them all day.

Given that a rather large dish of cobnuts appeared on our table out of nowhere, top marks for bar snacks.

HIX is the sort of place I’d like to live in. It’s like a heavenly IKEA. You go in; you lose track of time; you forget there’s natural light outside; you can’t find your way out. But you don’t give a damn, because the barman is just about to bring you another Amaretto Sour.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Hawksmoor, Shoreditch

157 Commercial Road
E1 6BJ

Gina Tonic

Due any moment now to open a second beefy instalment in Covent Garden, Hawksmoor is quite the darling of the London massive-plates-of-meat scene.  Indeed, hundreds of reviews have been written about their mind-bendingly good steaks and gluttonous breakfasts, and I for one join the consensus that Will Beckett and Huw Gott should probably the knighted and given big leather crowns.

I like to think of myself as a regular Hawksmoor customer, living as I do in the curious cityboy vs creeyaytiv wannabe wasteland we call Shoreditch.  Sadly, until my premium bonds come up trumps, I can only really class myself as a frequenter of the bar.

But my, what a bar.  With only seating for half a dozen or so, a seat up front promises you one of the most beautiful views in London – a bar so well stocked with unusual and small batch spirits, home-made fresh fruit macerations, and a catalogue of gins so vast that simply the thought of it brings a tear to my fanatical eye.  Some of the finest cocktails are served here, in this unassuming ex-office something-or-other on Commercial Street, for a very reasonable price - most weighing in at around the £7.50 mark.  The cocktail list, like any good menu, changes with the seasons, but with a confident lean towards the classic spirits - gin, brandy, whiskey and rum – and a selection of Juleps unparalleled in this fair city.  For the record, the Hawksmoor Fizz, a mouth-watering gin and orange flower water concoction, replete with home-made rhubarb syrup, is a must.

And if that’s not enough gushing for you, the barmen, too, are exceptional.  Award-winning in fact, and always more than happy to make off-menu cocktail requests… not that you’d really need to of course.  They suggest cocktails to suit your tastes, they serve gin Bloody Marys at breakfast, they go out and get the Saturday Guardian for you in the mornings, they carry your shopping home and they never forget your mother’s birthday.

If you haven’t been, I suggest you go there at once.  And perhaps order a medium-rare, 900g Chateaubriand on the side.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Welcome to The New London Cocktail Review

No manifesto.

Here at NLCR we drink our Daiquiris with dry ice, our Martinis Hemingway dry, and our Sazeracs with a chap named David in a dive bar in Dalston.

We love nothing more than a beautiful cocktail at the end of a hard day's work. Or at the beginning of one. Or best of all, instead of one.