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Pollen Street Social

Pollen Street Social

Pollen Street Social says:

Adjacent to the main dining room and entered directly from the street is the bar known as the Social Room which seats up to 45 people, has a no-booking policy, a striking bar, an extensive tapas menu and a cutting edge drinks list. Bar manager, Alistair Reynolds, has devised a cocktail list  to guide consumers through the ages with a twist on the classics such as a “breakfast martini”served with a slice of toast and marmaladeor the “aviation” which is a blend of gin, maraschino, lemon juice and violet liqueurs served in a martini glass with violet mist.

Social and Cocktail says:

London has a lot of great restaurants, and London has a lot of great cocktail bars. London does not have a lot of them located in the same building as each other. Whilst most restaurants will offer you a drink to accompany your meal, and most bars will offer some form of sustenance to accompany your drinks, the vast majority treat one or the other as a secondary priority and it usually shows in the quality of the offering.

Occasionally one comes across somewhere like Pollen Street Social, where a casual browse of the menus reveals that things are not quite so clear. A la carte, set lunch and tasting menus appear to suggest this a restaurant with lofty ambitions, indeed there is even a dedicated dessert menu which can be enjoyed at the dedicated dessert bar. However, a peek at the cocktail menu suggests that guests liquid needs have definitely not been neglected. The drinks sound innovative, inviting and creative. I’m in.

Clearly some consideration has been given to the fact that these drinks will in many cases be consumed before, with, or after food. The quintessential aperitif the Negroni is given a contemporary twist by being served with a Campari and blood orange ice ball. The inclusion of a spoon in your drink at first appears to be an embarrassing mistake, until you realise that it is for eating said ice ball as it evolves into a boozy sorbet. Genius. Such creative twists continue with the full moon Manhattan which is (almost) completely clear on account of the use of Georgia Moon corn whiskey. It tastes good too, if a little more vermouth-y than would customarily be the case with a Manhattan. Such is the attention to detail in the menu design that there is something for everyone, and something for all scenarios. Those who think that a simple rum and coke is a preferable option to fancy drinks may well be converted by the Pollen Street Social version which combines two rums with housemade cola reduction, citrus bitters and lime oils. It was the best rum ‘n coke I’ve ever had.  Equally, fans of a post-dinner smoke will find that the combination ofChase smoked vodka, Kamm and Sons ginseng spirit with chinato and bitters is a delightful alternative as combined in The Professor. It is only the prices which necessitate a docking of marks, at 30-40% more expensive than many of the Capital’s most respected bars, this onset somewhere to visit the day before payday.

The near-luxury hotel pricing of the drinks is made all the more frustrating when it becomes evident that a few too many of the bars visitors are out to impress with their corporate plastic. The result is an atmosphere that is a little underwhelming, although the macho peacocking is at least an amusing sideshow. This isn’t a bar for everyday purposes but it is a good example of why it is possible to house great bars and great restaurants in the same building. Let’s hope others give it a go too.

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