The restaurants where cocktails are just as important as the food

The restaurants where cocktails are just as important as the food
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It’s tricky to figure out where might be best to go to munch when in London – after all, there are fantastic-looking restaurants on every corner and new eateries popping up every week. So we’ve selected a few delicious places to dine where the cocktails menu will have you salivating just as much as the food

The Fresh Place: World’s End Market, King’s Road

WORLDS ENDYou can trust a place with ‘market’ in the title to deliver only the most of quality of ingredients – and this is what World’s End Market on the King’s Road excels at. You can choose your own fish from an ice-counter right next to the kitchen, and it’s all about healthy, fresh and flavoursome food. Concoctions range from the Classics to Market Cocktails, made with typically fresh produce. The Johnnie Quince contains quince jelly muddled with lime juice, shaken with Johnnie Walker Black Label and apple juice, while the Isle Garden is a herbaceous delight of basil leaves muddled with fresh cucumber, finished with Beefeater gin mixed with honey and lime. Perfect to accompany one of their famous burgers.

The Quirky Place: Public House, Islington

Tucked along a side-road near Angel, Public House is a fabulous mix of eccentric local boozer, excellent restaurant and innovative cocktail bar. Headed up by AC, ex-Woodford rep and mixology maestro, the menu is as much fun to read as it is to work your way through. Titled ‘A liquid celebration of war and peace’, you can choose ‘cocktails of conflict, made with love’. These include a Thelma and Louise, made with vodka, blackberries and fig liquor, and the delicious Judas’ Julep. We were also very taken with the Martini menu, that included The Naked Gun – Gilpins gin and nothing else. Food is modern and classic with a twist – excellently executed with delights like Ayreshire rump steak, a mini cottage pie and onion puree. Plus they do the best Welsh Rarebit we’ve tried.

The Sushi Place: Nozomi, Knightbridge

nozomiWe all know about the perfect combination of sake and Japanese food, and for an extra special evening out enjoying some delicious dishes then Nozomi is the place to come. Serving exquisite sushi and Asian cuisine is a glamorous environment, it also has the quality cocktail list to match. Not only do they have a whole Martini selection (we adored the Fresh Fig variety) and Seasonal cocktails, but lovers of sake are spoilt for choice. Indulge in a Green Tea Granita of fresh basil and apple juice shaken with green tea sugar, lime, sake, Liqueur 43 and Konik’s Tail Vodka, or have the stunning twist on a classic with their Japanese Old Fashioned – a glowing amber delight of Yamazaky Whiskey and Sake infused with caramel and ginger. We also heartily recommend the Miso Cod – it was the best we’ve had outside Japan.

The Brunch Place: Foxlow, Clerkenwell

When the weekend finally arrives it is of course time to celebrate – and what better way than with a few cheeky daytime libations? And we have found possibly the best booze-and-brunch place we can imagine in Foxlow. It’s the relaxed and jaunty sibling of the Hawksmoor group, and not only does it offer the most amazing brunch meals (chicken, egg and waffles, or the insane breakfast burger), but the cocktails are hands-down up there with the best. For £14 you can indulge in a Bottomless Bloody Mary, and lovers of Mr Lyan will be cheering about the special concoction he’s whipped up. Other exciting cocktails include the Wild Oats Flip – a bonkers but brilliant combo of Chivas Regal, Porridge Syrup and a Whole Egg, while we were pleased to see our old favourite Shakey Pete’s Ginger Brew make an appearance.

The Sexy Place: 35 New Cavendish, Marylebone

new cavendishCelebrating something special? Or perhaps you just fancy a night quaffing gorgeous cocktails surrounded by all the chic glamour of a Private Member’s Bar? In that case 35 New Cavendish is the place to come. Downstairs is a lively bar scene, with booths and banquettes for discerning drinkers, while upstairs is a sensational restaurant serving steaks, seafood and with the most delectable raw bar where one can order all manner of civiche, tarter and oysters. But it’s the cocktails that had us in a spin – a tart and yet sweetly-finished Rhubarb Martini had us sipping on rhubarb puree, vanilla vodka, Galliano, lime juice and pomegranate, while the Rye Apricot Sour was a brilliant take on the classic. Make sure you end your meal with a Cardamon Espresso Martini – it’s to die for.

The Quintessentially British Place: Parlour, Kensal

Coming to Parlour is an adventure in food innovation and excellence – you’ll find yourself experiencing dishes you thought you knew, but that suddenly take on an exciting new meaning. The best of British produce are used to create taste-sensations – there’s Chestnut Hummus with Rosemary Pitta Bread, and Desperate Dan’s favourite Cow Pie makes an appearance. This fun extends to the cocktail list, which is a veritable cornucopia of ingredients combined to fabulous effect. Sip on the signature Not-In-Hill? – it’s vanilla vodka, Gypsy lavender with a pucker of lemon, while the Crab Apple Bramble is Crab Apple infused Beefeater Gin, Olde Luxters Damson Liqueur & Lemon. Rest assured, whatever you order at Parlour will have you clapping your hands in delight – we were thrilled with the Odeon Old Fashioned – Popcorn infused Four Roses Bourbon, Butterscotch Syrup & Orange Bitters, served with a sprinkling of white puffs of actual popcorn.

The Swanky Place: Bocconcino, Mayfair

Bocconcino-1027-X2This stung pizzeria in the heart of Mayfair oozes glamour and sophistication – from the sweeping staircase to the shimmering lamplight and impressive decor. But rather than being tiny portions of intricate food, Bocconcino definitely have the Italian attitude to dishes – generous portions, made with the most quality of ingredients. This belief in the fundamentals extends to the cocktail menu – nothing over-the-top or complicated here, but a selection of true Italian classics such as perfectly made Negronis, Bellinis and Aperol Spritzes. Ideal for sipping while enjoying your delicious linguine or pizza in such luxurious surroundings.

The Beautiful Place: Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings, Clerkenwell

Enter Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings and you’ll feel you’ve been whisked away to a different era – one of refined elegance and gorgeous aesthetics. Yet for all it’s designer-chic, there’s also a playfulness about the place, from the squidgy upholstered armchairs to the greenhouse glamour of the conservatory, where tendrils of plants wind along white beams to make you feel you’re in some Victorian hot-house. The menu is British Brasserie Classics, from Lamb Cannon with rosemary crust to Pork Belly with Black Pudding Mash. The cocktail menu is equally engaging – we love the West Indies Gimlet, made with Navy Strength Gin, Steve’s Falernum #7, fresh lime juice and house bitters, and the Burnt Butter Old Fashion of Bourbon infused with brown butter and stirred with a touch of maple syrup with vanilla bitters will soon become a favourite.


Written by Rebecca Milford

Posted: February 17, 2015

Rebecca is a cocktail connoisseur & fan of good nosh. A PR whizz with a gold medal in bar hopping, you can follow her on Twitter here.