Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings, Clerkenwell

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, Victorian, Vintage
Damage££
Ideal for: Date, Small Groups, Large Groups, Lounging

You want a summer bar? We have a summer bar.

Bank Holiday Friday was the best afternoon to be at the third installment from the B&H Group, who’ve brought us classics like the Bourne & Hollingsworth Bar (Click HERE for Review!), and the Reverend JW Simpson (Review HERE!), but thankfully, this one isn’t in a basement.

Sun danced off the greenery outside and shone through the vast windows of the venue, illuminating the climbing wall-gardens and glorious mosaic bar that snakes along the beautifully bright venue. The summer heat wafted away by canopy fans, dear Powder Keg Diplomacy, this is how you do colonial-Victoriana right (and not be a douche about it).

The Hoodooist is in love with the venue, and whiled away a good few hours propped up on that gorgeous bar with his books, as a smattering of others laid back on couches and banquettes in conversation over prosecco. The bar isn’t the easiest to get to, which might be a good thing – the late evenings can bring crowds, so it being a bit hidden away keeps the afternoons wonderfully quiet to lounge.

 bourne and hollingsworth buildings cocktails

Cocktails have a signature B&H feel to them, fruits, berries, and distinct sweetness are a running theme.

Beginning with the New Willy Bourne – Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt stirred with Laphroaig, Campari and Cinzano Rosso sweet vermouth, finished with house bitters and lemon oils. Confident, the cocktail strides in with the initial Monkey Shoulder notes of creamy butterscotch, sweet and buttery, followed by the powerful oak and smoke of the Laphroaig, hints of iodine tracing behind alongside the Campari. A finish of the sweeter fruit notes of the Cinzano and lemon oils.

Easily the best of the night, and a must order on the menu.

The Baci is a surprisingly strong and punchy drink – Grappa shaken with strawberry vermouth, homemade Seville orange liqueur and a hint of citrus, finished with aromatic maraschino liqueur and a twist of grapefruit. The first millisecond of the sip seems blank, but then all of a sudden the orange and maraschino assault the drinker as the grappa develops – finishing on the strawberry vermouth. A fun cocktail, playful and summery. One will have to be prepared for the powerful citrus and sweet fruit flavours of this drink.

bourne and hollingsworth buildings cocktails

The New Willy Bourne

The Fig and Thyme Scofflaw is a powerfully flavoured cocktail – fig and thyme-infused cognac, lemon, vermouth and grenadine. The vanilla is strong on the nose, and the sweeter notes in the cognac come forward first, with the apple from the vermouth and grenadine, before giving way to the figs.
The West Indies Gimlet is exactly what it sounds like – Navy Strength Gin, Steve’s Falernum #7, fresh lime juice and house bitters. The lime is a tad overwhelming here, and distracts from the complexity of the Falernum, it’s the one thing I’d change about this otherwise bright, citrusy drink.

bourne and hollingsworth buildings cocktails

L-R: The Rum & Plum, the West Indies Gimlet

The Cydonian Smash brings quince and thyme jam smashed together with fresh ginger, lemon wedges and mead, rolled with rye whisky and frozen with crushed ice. Other than the quince and bits of ginger and thyme, little can be tasted in this cocktail, maybe because of the quickly melting crushed ice. There is a bit of rye that comes through, but struggling.

Finally, the Rum & Plum stands out with the biggest price tag at 12 pounds (versus the others at around 8.50), Santa Teresa 1796 rum stirred with prune vermouth and bitters. Unfortunately, the raised priced tag does little for the actual drink, which is overpowering and rather sickly sweet.

bourne and hollingsworth buildings cocktails

L-R: The Cydonian Smash, the Fig & Thyme Scofflaw

At the bar, service is excellent. Even when crowds roll in (around 7PM), drinks come in swift, with close attention paid to customers. Bartenders are keen to discuss drinks and provide recommendations, always a plus.

bourne and hollingsworth buildings cocktails

The Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings are a beautiful and atmospheric addition to the B&H collection, and can teach many a thing or two about running a summer bar. Spotless surrounds and impeccable service make it a must-see. The cocktails suit the venues style, and still have a certain B&H tendency to sweetness. It might be a bit out of the way, but still garners quite a bit of attention, and recommend it for an early escape to finish that book you’ve had lying on the coffee table for the past month. It’s a walk, but worth the trek.

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

 

Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings

42 Northampton Road,
London EC1R 0HU

http://bandhbuildings.com/

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Kansas Smitty’s, Broadway Market

Type of Bar: Speakeasy, Basement, Tiny, Jazz
Damage: ££
Ideal for: Live Music, Small Groups, Juleps

 

Kansas Smitty’s ‘puts the danger back in jazz’ with their new Jazz n Julep bar at Broadway Market!

Taking the place of PortSide Parlour’s first residence (Click HERE for Review!), Kansas Smitty’s takes a minimalist and powder blue revamp to the basement of Off Broadway. Much space saved for standing guests, banquettes line the walls for table seats that sit about 4 persons, a dark, intimate, candle-lit venue that suits the music fantastically. Namesake of the eight-piece resident house band for whom the clubhouse is both a performance and rehearsal spot.

Throughout the week, the venue will be used by the house band and guest musicians to rehearse, perform and create music, a unique setting for live jazz in London. On Wednesdays the bar will host the ‘Basement Tapes’, a weekly concert featuring new projects, guest performers, secret shows and new pieces written and rehearsed that week in the bar. With limited space and high calibre performances these will be hot tickets to get hold of. At other times, band members will play their favourite records for guests, providing a soundtrack of quality music.

Kansas Smittys cocktail Juleps

I was curious to see how KS was about to pull off the all-Julep menu, and boy, did they – a massive collection of spices and botanicals changes the Julep game entirely. Everything from Cassia to Chamomile, these juleps are doing their best to stand out from the crowd and change the way you see the cocktail entirely. Four of the 8 Juleps use sweeter Four Roses Bourbon, and the mint is used just right, and not abused the way it is in many bars.

The bar signature, the Smitty’s Julep, is probably the best to start with, and the most balanced and layered of the menu. Bourbon, Amaro bitters, raisin, peach, cassia bar and mint. Beginning with the honeyed winter spice bite of the Four Roses, the raisins make a short entrance, followed by a powerful punch of cassia bark, finally ending on notes of the Amaro’s bitter orange and mint haze. Light, refreshing, and deserving of the title of the bar’s signature Julep.

 

Kansas Smittys cocktailJuleps

The signature Smitty’s Julep

The next three Juleps could really be called ‘specialty’ cocktails, that focus on a specific flavour and jump in headlong:

The Allotment Julep takes a twist with gin! Nettle, elderflower, carrot, coriander seed, apple, pear and mint seem like an enormous combination, but the result is a wonderfully light, breezy concoction. Predominantly fruity with the apple and pear, the occasional carrot kick, the fruitiness is broken by the coriander seed and nettle. A great light twist with the heavier drinks on the menu.

One such heavy drink being the Jesuit’s Bark – Mt. Gay rum, clove, pimento, lime, grapefruit peel, quinine cordial and mint. Wow. Packing a serious punch, you want to dedicate a good half hour to this drink. The rum and clove don’t mess around, and you get whacked round the face with it – so make sure you enjoy these flavours (luckily, the Hoodooist does). A slight lightening of flavours by the grapefruit peel and mint to the end, with a longer quinine finish, with lingering spice and smokiness of the Mt. Gay.

Another one of these ‘flavour specialty’ Juleps is the Scarborough: Bourbon, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, toasted almond, salted heather honey and mint. It’s a bit difficult to tell each of the ingredients apart in this one, but you get a good idea with the green herbiness of it, the parsley is notable, as you’d imagine. The toasted almond lingers in the background as the salted heather honey actually is rather powerful, and necessary to balance the green.

Kansas Smittys cocktail Juleps

Then, two themed Juleps: the Morning Joe-lep and the Sleepytime.

The Morning Joe-lep goes for bourbon, coffee bean, stem ginger, cardamom, cocoa nibs and bitter orange marmalade. I had my heart set on this one, but a lot of powerful flavours come at you at once, and it all feels a bit muddled and confused.

The Sleepytime, though, gets more points. Scotch whisky, chamomile, pink peppercorn, raspberry, lemon peel and mint – you the first slightly sweet, but still smoky bite of scotch, immediately moving on to the raspberry and lemon, finally ending on a smooth length of chamomile. All served with a delicate ice-crater filled with raspberries. Best in terms of presentation, and of the sweeter drinks on the menu, the most balanced.

 

The one cocktail that wasn’t received well at the table would’ve been the Ous Est Le Menthe. Cognac, sherry, tonka bean, cascara, star anise, walnut and nutmeg. The cognac, sherry and walnut stand out prominently, but the drink overall, comes off a bit sticky and sickly, and sadly wasn’t finished.

Not that this should end on a bad note, with the otherwise excellent drinks available on the menu.

Kansas Smittys cocktail Juleps

Drinks are to be ordered at the bar, and there will be queues, and massive respect to the bartenders juggling as many drinks as they did! Major props. So there might be bit of a wait for the drinks, but it is totally understandable in the space constraint and number of orders. Excellent work and service on part of the ‘tenders.

 

Summary? London was long due a bar like Kansas Smitty’s – revolutionising Juleps with a deft hand, and masterfully thought out recipes, bringing back a more relaxed atmosphere to cocktail bars, and finding that great mid-space between gig-venue and cocktails. Definitely worth a visit.

 

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

 

Kansas Smitty’s
Underneath ‘Off Broadway’

63 Broadway Market,
London E8 4PH.

http://www.kansassmittys.com/

Yelp! presents: Dr. Alexander’s Mad Scientist Soirée!

If you were lucky enough to win Highball Hoodoo’s contest for 2 VIP tickets to Yelp’s Mad Scientist Soirée, you certainly won big! 12 food stalls! 7 bars! 9 dessert spots! And a MINI ICE-CREAM FESTIVAL of 7 different icecreamers!

Yelp giveaway VIP

Yelp has an edge over competitors with it giving back to users in the form of its occasional parties, open to press and the most proficient Yelp users, called the Elite, for loyal participation. The Mad Scientist Soirée opened its doors 2 hours earlier to Elite for a VIP session where they could explore the incredible collection of stalls in the own time – This year’s Mad Scientist themed event took place in the open air of the Shoreditch Strongroom – with it’s own ICE CREAM FESTIVAL.
Okay I’m getting ahead of myself. I just really, really like ice cream.

Yelp Science Soiree Rumpus Party

Lab coats donned, the Elite manoeuvre past the immersive theatre company Rumpus, the Party – being the absolutely most delightful dieselpunk engineering maniacs – to stuff themselves on scotch bonnet glazed pork ribs by HotBox London, just falling off the bone – washed down with a shot of vodka from the IceBar London’s ice-sculpture syringe (careful getting that in your beard *cough*).

Yelp Science Soiree Kent Crisps

Kent Crispts know their ways around hazard signs

If you’d rather go for something savoury, crisp companies from all over brought their own unique crisp styles to the table, from the Soffles Pitta chips, to the popped crisps by popchips, or the inimitable flavours of Kent Crisps – from roast beef and spitfire ale, to oyster and vinegar and ooh, the smoked chipotle chilli!

Yelp Science Soiree Polenteria cake

La Polenteria’s chocolate cake!

Yelp Science Soiree

L’Atelier des Chefs showing you round the sushi mat

Yelp Science Soiree Duke of Delhi Chocolate

The Duke of Delhi has mastered the art of spice and chocolates. Final word.

After a bite of chocolate polenta cake by La Polenteria, grab a sushi rolling lesson from L’Atelier des Chefs before hitting the desserts hard. Harry Brompton’s vodka ice tea in hand, *definitely* grab a bar of the incredible cocoa-wizards of Duke of Delhi, and do NOT miss that dark chocolate and lime (the Hoodooist has always been wary of how chocolatiers handle lime in their chocolate, but the Duke seems to have found a way!). Get over devouring their spiced selection before moving on to something more traditional in the London Marshmallow Company’s S’mores, with their huge collection of varied flavoured mallows to go in! (Can’t turn me away with rosewater on the menu).

Yelp Science Soiree Primrose Bakery

Primrose Bakery’s sciency cupcakes!

Yelp Science Soiree Harry Brompton Ice Tea

Harry Brompton’s Ice Tea with picnic season comin’ up

Yelp Science Soiree Harry Brompton Ice Tea

*The reaction when the glass is sweating*

 

A rival on the dessert front, Primrose Bakery’s ever-popular signature Mars bar Crispies, followed by a spoon of the Fairytale Gourmet’s Envious Queen Himalayan salted caramel, or Tinkerbell popping pixie dust (literally devoured the salted caramel, and the illustrations!). Take a break from the sweet with Smith and Sinclair’s cocktail confectionary! Chewy pastilles with kick, a variety ranging from Spiced Rum (literally like solid Captain Morgan), or the Gin & Tonic (an Aviation you can chew!). Love that Whiskey Sour.

Yelp Science Soiree Smith and Sinclair

Smitch & Sinclair’s Cocktail Confectionery

Yelp Science Soiree Fairy Tale Gourmet

Fairy Tale Gourmet’s magical confectionery/

Yelp Science Soiree Fairy Tale Gourmet

Fairy Tale Gourmet’s Himalayan Salted Caramel.

Yelp Science Soiree Callestick Farm

Callestick Farm’s Clotted Cream Vanilla to die for.

A

 

Bubble Tea by Bubbleology while admiring the FRANKENSTEIN’S CAKE by Adam’s Cakes before hitting the ice cream festival? Hit Rumblin’ for a regularly changing naughty rum-n-icecream combo, this time Kraken and Salted Caramel, followed by the Clotted Cream Vanilla icecream by the wonderful Callestick Farm – I mean, that flavour is spot on!

 

The winner, though? Udderlicious and their Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt – one of the more adventurous ice creams at the party comes with the occasional bite of salt to contrast with the semi-sweet dark chocolate, washed down by a milkshake by Shaken Udder. Nom.

Literally cannot move now.

 

Yelp Science Soiree Udderlicious

Udderlicious’s Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt just wins.

Last year’s Elite Summer Garden Party (Click HERE for Review!) was loads of fun, but this was downright debauched! Perpetually with a cocktail in one hand and a dessert in the other, Yelp! London outdid themselves at the Mad Scientist Soirée. A spectacular way to discover more of the foodie world, and look forward to more!
Want in? Either become a Yelp! Elite, or Follow Highball Hoodoo for a chance to win in the future!

For information on becoming a Yelp Elite, see http://www.yelp.co.uk/elite

Yelp Science Soiree

Yelp Science Soiree CasinoYelp Science SoireeYelp Science Soiree

VIP TICKET GIVEAWAY: THE MAD SCIENTIST SOIRÉE!

Update: Congratulations to winner @Chiyo_Kyoto, and thank you to everyone who participated!

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

Wanna win big?

Highball Hoodoo has got TWO VIP TICKETS for you to win to the biggest foodie event of the summer!

Yelp! presents: Dr. Alexander’s Mad Scientist Soirée!

12 food stalls! 7 bars! 9 dessert spots! And a MINI ICE-CREAM FESTIVAL of 7 different icecreamers!

AND IT’S ALL FREE!

Yelp giveaway VIP
EXPLODING COCKTAILS! Live Street Art! Casino Games! A GIF photobooth! Magic! And much, much more!

With 15 different entertainers while you nosh on the biggest collections of food and drink names in London this summer on 12th May!

To WIN, all you have to do is follow Highball Hoodoo on Twitter at @HighballHoodoo and retweet this post:

And the winner will be announced on the 9th of May!

And that’s all you have to do for a chance to win VIP tickets to Dr. Alexander’s Mad Scientist Soirée!

You must attend the party in your finest science attire. And be ready for anything. Things may go a little… mad.

** FEATURING **

The Wonderful World of Digital Shoreditch, happening that entire week. (digitalshoreditch.com)

MaD sCiEnCe LaBoRaTOrY cReAtEd By:
Full Circle Productions (wearefullcircle.co.uk)
Shoreditch-AV (Shoreditch-av.co.uk.)

FOOD FROM:
Bobo Social (yelp.co.uk/biz/bobo-soci…)
Friends of Ours (yelp.co.uk/biz/friends-o…)
Gourmet-Culture (wine-culture-shop.com)
HotBox London (yelp.co.uk/biz/hotbox-lo…)
Kankun Sauce (kankunsauce.com)
Kent Crisps (kentcrisps.co.uk)
L’atelier des Chefs (yelp.co.uk/biz/l-atelier…)
popchips (popchips.co.uk)
PROPERCORN (propercorn.com)
Sagitter One (sagitterone.co.uk)
Soffles Pitta Chips (soffles.com)
World of Zing (yelp.co.uk/biz/the-world…)

DRINKS FROM:
Bubbleology (yelp.co.uk/biz/bubbleolo…)
Cawston Press (cawstonpress.com)
Harry Bromptons Iced Tea (harrybromptons.com)
Hawkes Cider (wearehawkes.com)
Icebar London (yelp.co.uk/biz/icebar-lo…)
Monster Energy (monsterenergy.com)
Yes! Juice (yelp.co.uk/biz/yes-juice…)

SWEETS FROM:
Adams Cakes (yelp.co.uk/biz/adams-cak…)
Duke of Delhi (dukeofdelhi.com)
Emily Fruit Crisps (emilyfruitcrisps.co.uk)
Fairy Tale Gourmet (fairytalegourmet.com)
Primrose Bakery (yelp.co.uk/biz/primrose-…)
Smith & Sinclair (smithandsinclair.co.uk)
The London Marshmallow Company (londonmarshmallows.co.uk)
The South East Cakery (yelp.co.uk/biz/the-south…)
Urban Fruit (urbanfruit.co.uk)

*PLUS!*
DOCTOR XANDER ALEXANDER’S WORLD FAMOUS OLD TIMEY ICE CREAM FESTIVAL:
Callestick Farm Ice Cream (yelp.co.uk/biz/callestic…)
Lick (yelp.co.uk/biz/lick-lond…)
LICKALIX (lickalix.com)
Rumblin (rumblin.co)
Shaken Udder (shakenudder.com)
Udderlicious (yelp.co.uk/biz/udderlici…)
WhipSmiths (whipsmiths.com)

FINALLY ENTERTAINMENT GALORE FROM:
Boothnation (yelp.co.uk/biz/boothnati…)
The Cake App (thecakeapp.com)
Christy’s (christys-hats.com)
Chrome & Black (yelp.co.uk/biz/chrome-an…)
Deano Spagnetti (twitter.com/@deanospagne…)
Gizmo’s Lab (gizmos-sciencelab.co.uk)
Grosvenor Casinos (yelp.co.uk/biz/the-victo…)
iCracked (icracked.com)
Mothers & Shakers (mothersandshakers.net)
Mr Bubble (mrbubble.co.uk)
Paul & George (Decade Jockeys/Known Pleasures)
ThinkWall (thinkwall.com)
Truffle Social (trufflepr.com/Truffle_PR…)
Vodka Luge London (yelp.co.uk/biz/vodka-lug…)
Zap Magic (zapmagic.com)

Remember, all you got to do to WIN, all you have to do is follow Highball Hoodoo on Twitter at @HighballHoodoo and retweet this post:

Best of luck, tweeters!

Joe’s Southern Kitchen & JAILBIRD, Kentish Town

Type of Bar: Bar/Restaurant, American
Damage£ – ££
Ideal for: Small Groups, Food, Hangover, Comfort Food

 

The 2014 trend of the American South goes strong the Joe’s Southern Kitchen opens in Kentish Town, with the cocktail bar JAILBIRD downstairs (with booths in the once-jail-cells!) Whereas its Covent Garden cousin goes for a more anju style menu, with more small plates, the Kentish Town branch is more for a proper face-stuffing.

Kentish Town food cocktails chicken

The cuisine certainly isn’t meant to be taken apart and analysed, but a hearty, cheese-soaked, indulgent comfort-feast for a hangover (great. Now I want it after a hangover.)

rib roast

Expect clotted cream and Red Leicester in your gooey corn spoon bread, and more Red Leicester with 3 other cheeses in the ooziest of mac n cheeses (one of the more addictive MnC’s I’ve had). Poached egg, dijonnaise and red onion jam sits on the short rib that will change your opinion of meatloaf, and for many, the question of why on god’s green earth you’d serve waffles with chicken will be answered.

I didn’t quite get the answer, but it didn’t really matter because BOURBON MAPLE SYRUP.

…..

BOURBON MAPLE SYRUP.

 

Bourbon Maple Syrup

!

Sorry, I just get very excited about it.

….
Oh yes, cocktails!

 

The list in the restaurant upstairs is the same as downstairs, and are heavily reliant on Jim Beam and Stolichnaya. The Hoodooist couldn’t help but feel the ingredients seemed a bit muddled.

One that stood out from the messier drinks was a confident Bullish Negroni: Bulleit Rye, Campari, Antica Formula vermouth. Which was…surprising. Smooth, pleasant, self-assured. The smokiness of the Bulleit Rye is very much present, but the spicy tobacco flavour is tame in comparison to the other ingredients. It’s light sweetness of fruits and orange zest plays a part alongside the Campari – which is immediately followed by the winter spices of the Antica Formula that continue into the length of bitter oranges and cherries. The first sip might seem foreign, but instantly becomes very familiar and welcoming.

 

whisky negroni

The Bullish Negroni

Two Old Fashioneds next, a Knob Creek, and a Woodford Reserve. The Knob Creek is up for anything, dry, fiery flavours come through – firewood and the sound of a straight razor dragged across a leather-strop. Followed by a nutty spice and oak. On the other hand, the Woodford Reserve is mellowed too far (at least in the Hoodooist’s opinion), removing all the pleasurable rye, ginger or coffee notes, leaving only a wintery sweetness.

Pause for obligatory Jim Beam White Label Pickleback. A 5GBP Margarita does the job (if you’re being charged more than a max of 6 pounds for a Margarita, someone’s cheating you). A sip of a friend’s Lucky Stag, though (Jim Beam Red Stag, Maraschino, egg white, lemon, sugar) was cringey.

 

Knob Creek, and Woodford Reserve Old Fashioneds

Knob Creek, and Woodford Reserve Old Fashioneds

Killer desserts roll in – Peanut Butter Pie with Chantilly cream, Pecan Pie with Jim Beam Honey cream, and Iced Honeycomb and Chocolate Parfait Sandwich help you find your dessert stomach as your dessert cocktails arrive.

The Espresso Martini: Stoli vodka, Kahlua, sugar syrup and espresso use the spirits I would normally avoid for the cocktail (there are far more impressive coffee spirits out there) – though is still moderately successful. Unfortunately, the Devil’s Frappe doesn’t work particularly well, and went unfinished – coffee infused Jim Beam, chocolate cookie syrup, espresso, double cream and milk – coming off powdery and awkward.

 

pickleback

Picklebacks!

This all makes Joe’s Southern Kitchen’s drinks difficult to rate. Comfort food makes the experience a lot of fun, and one pays less attention to the drinks, absolutely – but as a cocktail blog, unfortunately a decision has to be made. I found the menu to be a bit all over the place, and the classics most tempting to order. The Old Fashioneds and Margarita turned out rather well (as long as you know your whisky, and very few can ruin a Margarita). And I wish I saw more drinks in the style of the Bullish Negroni.

The other cocktails still leave much to be desired.

I’d return to stuff my face with a whisky in my hand, or take on classic cocktails. Which isn’t necessarily undesirable!

Service is attentive, explanatory, conversational – and somewhat formal, considering the surroundings – no complaints here!

….

BOURBON MAPLE SYRUP.

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

 

Joe’s Southern Kitchen

300 Kentish Town Road,
London NW5 2TG.

http://joessouthernkitchen.co.uk/