Type of Bar: Basement, Dessert Bar
Damage: ££ – ££££
Ideal for: Desserts, Date, Small Groups
The major positive about Basement Sate showing up in Soho? They got rid of The Player.
You know, the lot where servers didn’t know the difference between a Margarita and a Daiquiri.
ANYWAY, yes, the basement space has been repurposed with 60s Chesterfield sexiness. With that enormous bar and benches in the back, I could honestly see a studio apartment here I’d love to move into. There isn’t much to say about the décor, since there isn’t much, but I do like the openness of the space – which leads me to: though I like the design, the open space and low tables make eating the desserts the bar prides itself on a bit inconvenient, but not much so – it just seems counter-productive at first glance.
Service-wise, fantastic. Servers were attentive, our bartender wonderful, no complaints here. Besides one odd comment from a server about “This drink is heavy, you might not like it.”
Which was odd, but we ignored it.
Regarding drinks, our first was the El Pampa, a citrusy concoction of Pisco, almond and champagne syrup, and Granny Smith juice. Unfortunately, the dominating flavour was the Granny Smith, with a hint of the pisco in the back. The drink needed some kind of umph at risk of becoming a spirit+mixer. That umph in a way comes as the intense aniseed on the nose from the star anise, but that is about all. It’s not a bad drink, but it can do a bit better – especially at 12 quid.
As for the L’Entrée Des Artistes: coffee infused rum, sherry, salted caramel and milkt. Friend loved it, personally not my style of drink, but as far as dessert cocktails go, this was pretty decent (and I rarely say that outside Volupte’s dessert cocktails). If I had to have my way though, I would go a bit more in the salted caramel direction and lose one of the others. But for fans of the sweet cocktail, this is it.
Opinions on desserts were split: the Vacherin was a winner with lime meringue, basil cream, strawberry sorbet, cranberry and orange coulis. Tart, surprising, pairing well with the El Pampa. On the other hand, the Raviole – cocoa ravioli, raspberry ginger cream (instead presented as filo flutes), cassis chocolate truffle with gin and citrus gel – was a little less successful compared to the Vacherin, appearing rather doughy. I do wish I went for the Mille Feuille Fromage and Truffle instead.
My ambivalence regarding Basement Sate is making it difficult to make a decision here. The drinks, whereas not terrible, I wouldn’t pay the prices for. 8 to 10 pounds? Sure. 10 to 14? Not so much. This impacted my strictness in judging the most.
Two suggestions I could make are: First, pairing the drinks with desserts instead. Second, a tasting menu of the food and drink would be something I would enjoy bringing friends to try out. I can see myself returning for a tasting menu (take a page out of The Pudding Bar’s book here, guys).
Drinks: ** (based on value for money)