Oct 6, 2010

London's best cocktail bars: Purl

And so the intrepid blogger continues to booze her way through the Capital! And may have to soon quit her day job to stay home all day sucking on ibuprofen like they're tic tacs while watching reruns of House with a drip feeding diet coke into her coronary artery.

But I digress. Last night I made my way to Marylebone, in the heart of twin-set land, to go check out Purl, another top rated cocktail bar from the list. It's a basement, so right off the bat kudos for cosy (i have to stop saying kudos, btw). This is by far the suavest of the places I've visited, with tables set in individual little coves, though I realize that the ambience that I've been missing in all these visits is really just cigarette smoke. Damned smoking ban. The air is offputtingly transparent, so thankfully the lights are dim enough to create a mood. In fact, the lights are so soft, yellow and beautiful that I may cancel my next micropeel appointment and just hold court here for the remainder of the decade before I hit the knife.

But I digress. The cocktails here are more of a "molecular mixology" kind of affair, with emulsions, caviars and smoke. I had several cocktails, starting with a champagne cocktail (I always ease myself into alcoholic dementia gently, beginning with le bubbly). It's called Champagne and Caviar, and basically consists of a glass of bubbly accompanied by "mango/pine" caviar. Now if you've never had these little caviar-like balls, that are basically starchy/gelatin skins filled with a juicy liquid, you will be most impressed. But to my taste, and this is the thing with these caviars, the shell was a bit too rubbery and thick, and it just did not taste good. So I just downed the bubbly and got on with it, as you do.

I then had a Mr. Hyde's Fixer Upper, which is an interpretation of a rum and coke, consisting of rum, cola reduction and orange bitters, served in a smoke injected, wax-sealed potion bottle. Major visual impact, a stainless steel bucket arrives in a cloud of smoke. Inside lies the bottle, also filled with smoke, and the drink. Now because everything else is reduced, this is basically pure rum. But the smoke makes it taste perfectly smooth, and it goes down a velvety charm. It feels a bit like cognac.

Finally, I tried the Little Moscow, an interpretation of the Moscow Mule. Smirnoff Black, lime bitters and ginger beer. Unlike the last ginger beer drink I had at 69 Colebrooke Row, this tastes beautiful, fresh, balanced, and not at all like washing-up liquid. It also came in a pretty copper tumbler that I kind of wanted to nick.

Overall, I would give this the highest marks so far, though the bar area is very detached from the seating area, and I would enjoy a better view of the show. And the crowd, a bit on the twin-set side, but this is West London. The cocktails here are all fun, and interesting, a very contemporary take on what food/drink should be, a puzzling little journey...

50/54 Blandford Street
reservations (recommended): info@purl-london
Website and all images courtesy of: http://www.purl-london.com/

PS: there is the most goooorgeous little vintage shop, called Catwalk right next door, with some serious Missoni on the window....

PPS: I have bought a nifty little camera and will be uploading proper pictures of things in the future.

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