Arabica Bar & Kitchen, London Bridge

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, Levantine
Damage££
Ideal for: Food, Lazy Lunch, Sundays, MeetingsSmall Groups

Borough Market has welcomed yet another spectacular restaurant in the form of Arabica, once a Borough Market stall itself. Serving up food from the Levant with contemporary takes, Arabica brings a necessary cuisine to the area (done well, at least). An open plan space perfect for a lazy lunch.

Besides an excellent selection in food, Arabica offers a short cocktail list of classics with Near Eastern twists.

Let’s start off with a personal favourite: the Mujrim. A development on a Dry Manhattan, bourbon, dry vermouth and lemon meet pomegranate molasses. As you can imagine, the end product is much sweeter than a Dry Manhattan, but dry vermouth is necessary to not make the cocktail too sweet. The flavours are all distinct – with its spectacular simplicity, the Mujrim isn’t necessarily a dessert cocktail, but better to have without food so that it doesn’t drown out the pomegranate molasses.

IMG_20140624_183710

Rayyan Gin Fizz (L), Mujrim (R)

 

The Sassine Square is a much more subtle flavour outside the intense high-rye bourbon and bitters – the date syrup is almost too quiet. Perhaps a bit more and here we have an excellent dessert drink.

The Nana Ti (Cuban and Jamaican rums, lemon, cacao, wild mint) is a supremely clean flavour to be paired with food. I notice the recipe for the Rayyan Gin Fizz since the soft launch: removing the rose water – a very good move since the rose water was overpowering. Now, Arak Brun, orange blossom water, orange and cardamom marmalade, citrus, and cream. Yes, it sounds complex, but is far lighter in person.

Arabica is certainly a new destination in the area, and its cocktails do not fail to disappoint! I just wish I knew what they intend to do with the bottle of QuiQuiRiQui mezcal that’s on their shelf.

Drinks: ***
Atmosphere: ***
Service: ***

Arabica Bar & Kitchen

3 Rochester Walk,
Borough Market,
London SE1 9AF

http://www.arabicabarandkitchen.com/

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The Hoodooist’s Guide to: Stockholm

Don’t let Stockholm’s reputation for a quiet nightlife fool you; this city houses some spectacular bars that put most of London to shame.

But before we jump to that, let’s talk about Stockholm’s geography for a second. Much like London, Stockholm is divided into a North and South by the river, but unlike London, the difference between the two is much, much more obvious. That and the spotting of inhabited islands in the water.

The North coast is far more modernised setting, devoted to brand stores and hotels; the South a bohemian zone with nightlife and burlesque bars, not to mention vintage markets. The islands tend to be more public tourist sector – by which I mean Old Town is dominated by the Royal Palace and Stockholm Cathedral, surrounded by the tourist stores selling Viking paraphernalia and souvenirs; whereas the Djurgården Island houses massive parks and museums.

When not bargaining for deals in the South, the North and the Islands host some amazing spots for food and drink.

Stockholm Kaffe

The Kaffekoppen Crypt

Cafes in Stockholm without a doubt come with some of the best fruit pies, served with a healthy drizzle (read: flood) of hot vanilla sauce. What you want to check out is Kaffekoppen in Old Town, a basement spot deep in a crypt for warmth, moments away from the bustling streets in front of the Palace and Cathedral. Service is slow, but the pie, cinnamon bun, and mulled wine are worth it. Better still is the North’s Sturekatten, a cat-themed café that is essentially your granny’s-living-room meets hotel-buffet, and all awesome. Before grabbing a seat, queue to pay for the dessert selection ranging from Swedish specials like semi-sweet saffron buns and cream cakes. Sturekatten is a must when visiting the city, a great rest-stop from the brand street 2 minutes away.

Sturekatten's Konditori

Sturekatten’s Konditori

Impeccable service and traditional Scandinavian food can be found in Djurgården’s restaurant, the Ulla Winbladh. Not particularly easy to find, or get to, this little cottage is well worth the trek. Between the incredible gravad lax and the elk stew, there is next to nothing to complain about here. Sober, quiet, perfect for a relaxed dinner.

Honourable mention
: the Marie Laveau in the South – Lousiana meets Stockholm (but with cocktails you want to avoid).

Stockholm Ulla

Ulla Winbladh

Finally, the cocktails!

Stockholm doesn’t have a huge cocktail culture, but there are some great bars to be checked out. The South houses the wonderful high-rise bar, Och Himlen Därtill, which besides giving you a great view of the city, perfectly encapsulates Stockholm’s nightlife. Ordered, relaxed, and full with a massive mix of people from various walks and backgrounds. Himlen offers a short, but varied cocktail list, like the twist on a Whiskey Sour: The Elk’s Own, for a warming evening drink. Or the Ginger Fusion for a spry, spiced drink.

Stockholm Himlen

Och Himlen Därtill’s view

To splurge a bit more, make your way to the acclaimed Grand Hotel’s Cadier Bar. If I was reviewing this place like I normally would, it’d be a  *****, *****, *****. Incredible service, spectacular venue, and what a cocktail list! Lengthy, with its share of innovative drinks – a Grand Manhattan that was difficult to rival, and a Louisiana Snake Bite that does London’s recent trend of chilli drinks and puts it to shame – fantastic. Even better when you suddenly find yourself amidst a group of dignitaries in ballgowns and military sashes – the Cadier is the place to mingle, see and be seen – with drinks at about 14 pounds each.

Stockholm Cadier

Grand Hotel’s Cadier Bar

Honourable mention: Bröderna Olssons Garlic & Shots, cousin of Soho’s G&S for shots and metal on the speakers.

Avoid: The impressive-looking Berns Hotel cocktail bar gets an awful lot of attention in Stockholm, but turns out to be rather disappointing. Save your kronor.

Stockholm makes an excellent weekend to splurge on food, though sometimes a good cocktail can be difficult to find, so here is a handy little Hoodooist map to find your way to the nearest Swedish drinking den!

Skål!

 

The Hoodooist’s Guide to: Greenwich.

West Greenwich, specifically.

The area around the Cutty Sark is indeed overrun by tourists, especially on weekends, but at least the good spots aren’t. So here’s a guide to avoid the myriad of tourist traps in the area!

Sure, most people come in for Greenwich Market, and it is worth the shot if it’s your first time – but otherwise, there’s very little to miss other than the occasional visit from Comptoir Gourmand (best Pistachio Financier!), the Norse Baker, or Sambal Shiok. If you’re lucky, the Greenwich Food Festival (REVIEW) will be back!

Greenwich Market

In terms of markets, whereas the popular Greenwich Market is exactly the same every week, try your hand at haggling over vintage jewellery and furs at the Clocktower Market, instead – placed between the Greenwich Picturehouse (still one of the Hoodooist’s favourite cinemas in the city) and the Clocktower, with its Zodiac mosaic to check out.

Otherwise, before making your way to the sights, pop by Grown Ups @ Black Vanilla (Click HERE for Review!) on College Approach, for a cocktail and sorbet pairing to take the edge of the summer heat.
After, an exploration of the Painted Hall at the University proceeding to a picnic at the Park is the way to go, grass and Prosecco certainly can’t go amiss – not with some of the most incredible views in the city. In the summer it is worthwhile following up to the Roman ruins, and the especially remarkable rose garden, as alternatives to the Observatoryand Queen’s House. You’ve still got the options of the Ranger’s House and Fan Museum if your museum thirst isn’t satisfied.

Greenwich Buenos

Take the West exit onto Croom’s Hill, and down Gloucester Circus for further blossoming gardens and architecture, and then come down to Royal Hill – probably my favourite street in the area. Besides abundant delis, butchers, florists, pubs (including one of the last remaining gay pubs in Greenwich), it houses Royal Teas; and easily the winning coffee house and Argentinian deli in Greenwich, the Buenos Aires Café – (which now has a branch on Nelson Road as well!). The manager may be stand-offish, and the prices a tad steep, but the Buenos Aires is the best way to get away from the Greenwich crowd for a decent coffee. Charcouterie boards and Argentinian maté is the way to go, if you haven’t spent your wallet on the deli.

If you can, do check out Halcyon Books, a trove of books all for a pound each! Still one of my favourite stores in the area.

Greenwich Halcyon

After a long shisha session at Mevali, sunset comes best with cocktails at the Cooperage (Click HERE for review!), in the basement of the rather well known Davy’s Wine Bar. Expect to see a lot of classics and reasonable prices – always a pro. If not, climb down into the depths of Oliver’s Jazz Bar for amateur jazz bands of various sub-genres performing live with a bottle of wine in a dark, red, red, bar.

Greenwich Oliver

If you want to be a bit shameless, Desperados  (now under construction) has a list of 150 foul-tasting, but effective, shots – I’d say about 8 F*ckers would be enough to knock you out on the way home. Not classy, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend public transport after – but a memorable way to end the night.

Greenwich is a rather quiet town outside tourist hours, and it is very easy to fall into the tourist traps along the way, but that’s why this guide exists! Make the most of a day/night out in Greenwich with this, as some of the best our little town has to offer.

Greenwich Uni