Nutella Negroni special @ Duck and Waffle, Bishopsgate

At first, the Hoodooist met the ‘World Nutella Day‘ with the same cynicism he meets most marketing holidays from that to Valentine’s – I mean, even in the same month!

But he changed his mind quickly enough at the Duck and Waffle in Bishopsgate.

For one month only, the sky-high bar and restaurant will be hosting their limited edition delicacy, the Nutella Negroni!

Masterminded by resident Head of Cocktail and Spirit Development, Richard Woods, self-professed love of ‘obscure’ flavours, decided to go with the all too familiar and well-loved flavour of Nutella for this February 2015’s limited edition drink, the Nutella Negroni.

The Nutella Negroni

The Nutella Negroni

40 floors high, enjoy Bombay gin double distilled with Nutella, Martini Rosso red vermouth, and Campari to make a sweet drink for those of us who generally avoid sweet drinks – and a surprisingly still rather effective apertivo.

On the nose, the enveloping signature aroma of Nutella, but also something heady, like orange zest and spice.

The texture is cool. Smooth. Thick and layered. Even the texture is seductive.

Flavourwise, this is a drink that is distinctly a Negroni, as well as distinctly, well, Un-Negroni. Perhaps it is the melding of Negroni flavours presented in a sweet drink instead of the quinine-bitterness that causes that uncanniness.

The most notable flavour is undeniably the Nutella, with its chocolate hazelnut. But the spirits add great complexity to this drink. After the initial sweetness, you will notice winter spices like cloves or cinnamon (maybe nutmeg?) on the sides of one’s tongue, the sudden tangy overture of orange – flavours strongly present in the Rosso and Campari, yet without the dryness or bitterness that accompanies either.

The aftertaste is strongly nutty, with the more complex notes of the Martini Rosso.

After a few sips, the gin is slightly more notable, but never takes centre stage here. No, this drink belongs almost entirely to the Nutella. A powerful flavour, but a lovable one.

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In short? It’s a brilliant drink. I was almost surprised by how much I enjoyed this – not the overly-sweet cocktail I was expecting, and neither a bitter Negroni, the Nutella Negroni still makes an excellent apertivo while being a well-balanced, complex phenomenon that I highly suggest should be enjoyed before the month is over.

Get thee to Duck and Waffle and grab yourself one of these!

Damage: 14 GBP

40th Floor of Heron Tower,
110 Bishopsgate,
London EC2N 4AY

http://duckandwaffle.com/

Basement Sate, Soho

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.

L'Entree Des Artistes (L); El Pampa (R)

L’Entree Des Artistes (L); El Pampa (R)

 

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.

 

The Vacherin

The Vacherin

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)
Atmosphere: ****
Service: ****


Basement Sate

8 Broadwick Street
London W1F 8HN