1073 Cocktails and 238 Bars now listed
Once upon a time in a land far, far away The Fable was created for the Drake & Morgan collection. Inspired by the fantasy world of fairy tales, the fabulous fables of Aesop & influences from around the globe, it is a bar & restaurant out of the ordinary, where every detail tells a story. A veritable jewel box brimming with unexpected surprises, The Fable offers seasonal food & sensational cocktails alongside bespoke events, fascinating masterclasses & unique customised experiences.
From a writing desk complete with vintage typewriter to the wine shop & florist, ‘Bottles & Blooms’ & the library lined with leather bound story books sourced from vintage markets across the country, expect to be entranced & enthralled.
There’s a distinctly magical-garden feel about The Fable.Pot plants droop from the bar-front and walls, creating a kind of secret forest effect, and we’ve just been served two drinks with herbs floating in them.
I guess the idea is to transport us to another world – the kind of fairy-tale place you might read about in a story book. See the link there? You will when you take a look around, since pages from literature adorn the walls and there’s an amazing cove of actual books that you can sit and dine in.
The Fable is one of the establishments belonging to Drake and Morgan, a ‘bold and innovative privately owned bar group’. I’ve come to check out if their cocktail list can hold up to this promise, and so far am impressed.
The Fable manages to be both light and airy while also having an intimate and cosy feeling to it – quite an achievement, really. Perhaps it’s due to the large windows and open floor-space that combine with quirky little touches such as prettily upholstered chairs, candles flickering on tables, and that wonderful nook of novels that will have bibliophiles squealing in delight.
The cocktail menu is divided into The Classic Collection and The Couture Collection. The former has a few options for lighter-calorie concoctions – you can have a Princess Sparkles for 120 cals or a Skinny Porn Star Martini. So for those that like to watch their waistband then this works well.
I, however, am the kind of drinker that is ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ (or possible couple of extra pounds…) My eyes scan the interesting possibilities – there’s a Honey and Mustard Picnic Fix and a Goldfish In A Bag (served in an actual goldfish bag?!)
I’m initially tempted by this bonkers idea, but that’s before David, our bartender comes to chat. He is lovely and helpful and very knowledgeable about the menu. Because I’m also planning on eating with a friend then I say we want something clear, flavoursome, and fresh on the palate.
David talks us through the menu, and suggests one that I’ve had my eye on – the On Thyme Martini – and then another that he says he’s going to create himself. It’s a take on a cranberry daiquiri that has a special secret ingredient that is sure to excite the palate…
Which turns out to be rosemary, hence the double-herb-header. Now personally I love a good bit of herbaceous flavour in my drinks. When they arrive they look super – the daiquiri is a pretty, blushing pink with rosemary and lime adorning the rim of the glass, and the martini has a delicate swirl of leafy thyme floating whimsically on the surface. I find myself hoping they’re as good as they look…
… and am not disappointed. The daiquiri has just the right balance of rum and cranberry, which can sometimes be too sweet but is combined with just the right kick of citrus edginess. And the rosemary provides a wonderful smoky, woody aftertaste that rounds off the flavour wonderfully. It really is an impressive combination.
Then I go to try the On Thyme Martini, and find it’s equally as good – if not slightly better, because I’m a sucker for a martini and this is a damn good one. It’s dry, crisp, with the freshness of Hendricks and the slight sweetness of elderflower cordial. Then that blast of thyme at the end, combined with thyme bitters, really brings out the flavour of the gin and makes for an incredibly moreish cocktail.
The next one I go for another specially made gin and tonic. Strawberries and other groovy flavours (I forget exactly what) are left to infuse in the spirit, so that when it is served it’s a fruity burst of flavour, like summertime in my mouth.
My drinking partner goes for a good old Bloody Mary, only The Fable’s variety of a Bloody Caesar which uses Clamato juice, tabasco, and has a king prawn garnish. It’s great fun, looks impressive, delivers on spice and is nice and rich.
I would love to say I tried more of the cocktail menu, since some on there were calling out to me – The White Wine and Grapes, for example, and The Princess Sparkles. But we made the (amazingly good) mistake of ordering beef burgers, and my perfectly-cooked (ie blue) wagyu beef burger and fried meant that there was no room for any more drinks, even of the skinny variety.
Still, I have since seen that a new autumnal cocktail list is on the horizon, in preparation for those blustery days when we want to escape the cold and nestle into a warm drinking den. The Fable will be perfect for this – cosy, comfortable, and with amazingly attentive staff. Libations on the menu that have caught my eye include the Autumn Ramble of Gin & Sloe, muddled winter berries, splash of cider, and gingerbread syrup, along with the Tales of the Unexpected, which takes Craft beer, Tanqueray gin, a splash of sauvignon & a dash of elderflower. And, if the summer offerings are anything to go by, then there’s reason to be very excited indeed.
So if you fancy sipping lovingly made, inventive and fabulously executed cocktails in a friendly and welcoming environment then get yourself down the The Fable for a unique and rather novel time (groan…)