Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Drinking all over the world - part one.

Well, I'm back. I think I'm almost over the jetlag too (not helped by attending the Martinborough Booze Festival - the number of youngsters running around with Tui bottles whilst wearing a tasting glass around their necks.. sheesh! And Kate's right - what were all those silly tarts doing wearing heels? They're vineyards for goodness sakes, not some bar down Courtney Place... :-)

Anyways, I'm intending to post about some of the exquisite cocktails I had on my travels. First up - Loungelover.

Loungelover is the 'sister' bar to the Trois Garcons restaurant in East London (Shoreditch), and is really quite fabulous. The picture above doesn't do it justice, and unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take photos myself while I was there. It's decorated in an incredibly high-camp eclectic style - think chandeliers and stuffed animal heads up high, Louis XIV chairs down low. (Take a look at the Trois Garcons website for a good idea of their style).

The drinks list was impressive, lots of house cocktails arranged into logical groupings. I took a punt on a 'Zatoichi': wasabi, ginger and cucumber shaken with lemon and Polstar cucumber vodka, served straight up in a Martini glass with a slice of cucumber to garnish.

It was great, I'd not considered using wasabi before in a cocktail but all the flavours worked really well together.

I then took the advice of my companion (thanks C. ;-) who suggested one of the house favourites - a sweeter drink (sorry, didn't note the name) that bore more than a tip of the hat to Dick Bradsell's Russian Spring Punch (more on that another time) but with strong hints of vanilla.

This place is well worth a visit - bookings are recommended (when was the last time you booked for a bar!?!) and take plenty of Pounds with you (best not to convert those prices back in Kiwi rubles).

Ah, memories! I remember an exquisite cocktail based on Nashi pears and sake, for the bargain-basement price of 15 quid. You can tell that the gentrification of the East End is really underway when a bar like this opens just off Beffnal Green Road, innit?

And you're right, the photo doesn't do justice to the eccentricity of the interior. Guests at the opening night apparently included Ruby Wax and Graham Norton, so that should give some idea of teh target market.
I should have known that Tom would have been there before me...

Oh well, perhaps not to the next couple of bars I'll post about ;-)
What's happened to your mate Stephen?
And I've got fond memories of Les Trois Garcons, too. The cigar-smoking, tiara-wearing monkey was a particular highlight.

Though I've just noticed this on their menu: Torchon of foie fras with banan lolly pop, walnut crust, coriander jus and sherry vinegar reduction. How disgusting! Coriander!
Kate: he's back. My hangover today is testimony - we actually went to Blend last night and had to stand outside as the decibel level was too high for our stately eardrums

Tom: I used to live in Commercial Road (E1), and so that area was very much 'home'. I remember walking past the old dis-used pub that was starting to fill up with all the stuffed animal heads, chandoliers, and other flotsam and jetsam that would eventually become 3 garcons. Never been there tho... maybe next trip :-)
lol - I thought Blend was a little to low brow for you kids ;)
Ha ha ha I think we only went to see if we could spot you getting "wankered" or some such.

You should have seen Ol' Sifty movin on in on the Greenlandic waitress, though. I heard him get at least three words out, amongst the drool.

I worked out what the video screens are for, too ;)
Dude, the only reason you know she's from Greenland is that I was polite enough to make conversation... ;-)
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