Grown-Ups @ Black Vanilla, Greenwich

Type of Bar: Gelato, Sorbet
Ideal ForDate, Small Groups


Anyone who’s been down to Greenwich Market has seen the queues into the gelateria on College Approach, and with the coming of summer, Black Vanilla has expanded their offerings into the cocktail world!
Readers will recognise Black Vanilla from the Hoodooist’s Guide to Greenwich (Click HERE!)

In partnership with World of Zing’s world food emporium (you might remember their flavoured salts at El Nivel: Click HERE!), the upstairs at Black Vanilla is officially for #GrownUps! Painstakingly chosen summery sorbets are paired alongside Zing’s ready-to-drink bottled cocktails.

Black Vanilla cocktail sorbet gelato

Perched on a high-winged armchair beside the fireplace, under crystal chandelier overlooking Greenwich, a sorbet and cocktail pairing come at about 7.50-8.50 GBP on Fridays-Sundays, till a glorious 11PM.

Black Vanilla cocktail sorbet gelato

Persian Lime & Nori Seaweed Margarita, with Kiwi Sorbetto

The first round brings in a Persian Lime & Nori Seaweed Margarita, paired with a Kiwi Sorbetto: Ocho Blanco and Reposado tequila mixed in with agave syrup for a Tommy’s Margarita, then World of Zing’s Dried Persian Lime and Nori Seaweed infusion added in. The Persian lime seems to heighten the citrus notes of the Margarita, with a fairly powerful bite, blending well the light saltiness of the Nori. When paired with a lightly textured kiwi, the sweetness of the sorbetto is highlighted wonderfully.

Black Vanilla cocktail sorbet gelato

Bordeaux Barrel Aged Negroni, with Sicilian Lemon Sorbetto

Probably the Hoodooist’s favourite: the award winning Bordeaux Barrel Aged Negroni brings Tanqueray Export Strength to Gancia Rosso Vermouth, Campari and Zing Bespoke Serenity Bitters. It’s good to see Gancia Rosso being used, it doesn’t make much of an appearance in many bars these days. The aromatic Gancia comes through well in the Negroni as the aging allows the vermouth to mature, powering past the strong flavours of the Campari. When paired with the spectacularly refreshing and lively Sicilian Lemon Sorbetto, you get a confident, and certainly Grown Up, couple.

Black Vanilla cocktail sorbet gelato

Steel Aged Manhattan, with Black Cherry Sorbetto

Now this one was interesting, the Steel Aged Manhattan: Bulleit Rye Whiskey, Gancia Rosso Vermouth, Zing Bespoke Anaesthetic Brandy & Zing Bespoke Euphoric Bitters. You will want to be specific about your garnish! Using either a fresh or a maraschino cherry can alter the flavour of your drink entirely.

When served with a fresh cherry, expect to have the vermouth and brandy take centre stage, with the woody roundedness heightened. When served with a maraschino cherry, the mineral and biting Bulleit Rye will make itself known – and these are from the same bottle!

A classic rye Manhattan, paired with a supremely creamy Black Cherry Sorbetto, powerfully sweet to take the edge off the Manhattan.

Black Vanilla cocktail sorbet gelato

Blackberry & Tamarind Rum Punch, with Mango Sorbetto

Finally, the Blackberry and Tamarind Rum Punch is a truly unique combo. The rum is softened with blackberries, then married with the tangy flavours of tamarind, with a touch of honey and chamomile water to provide a smooth, sweet cocktail to pair with the rich Mango Sorbetto.

Black Vanilla cocktail sorbet gelato

Barrel Aged Negroni Sorbet!

Finally, a surprise visit from a cocktail and sorbet in one! The Barrel Aged Negroni Sorbet is a double whammy at a whopping 6% ABV, and communicates the Negroni wonderfully, tinted pink with hibiscus.

Black Vanilla cocktail sorbet gelato

A fun, unique, and frankly, invaluable, addition to Greenwich, Grown Ups took an already excellent gelato bar and presented us with something fantastic. Here’s to hoping Grown Ups has found a permanent residence at Black Vanilla.

Kudos to both Black Vanilla and World of Zing for little something for the grownups to enjoy!

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


The Cooperage, Greenwich

Type of Bar: Basement
Ideal for: Small Groups, Date

Greenwich finally gets its own cocktail bar! In the basement under Davy’s Wine Vaults, The Cooperage offers a whole host of twisted classics, with an enthusiasm for infusions. Dim-lit, sprinklings of armchairs and larger group booths makes the venue reminiscent of the Worship Street Whistling Shop in many ways, and unsuspectingly took up a speakeasy meets pub vibe.

Down to business, let’s start with the star of the night: the Pepper and Paprika Margarita. Pepper and paprika infused tequila, Cointreau, lime and a dash of bitters with a spiced rim brings for a spectacularly bright and exciting cocktail that raises the bar for the rest of menu – if in Greenwich, it is certainly worth stopping by the Cooperage purely for this beauty.

The Fig Sidecar, fig infused Martell VSOP, Cointreau and lime, as one can imagine, tastes pretty much exactly like your everyday Sidecar considering a fig’s subtle flavour, which only makes an appearance as an aftertaste – if you’re looking for it. On a similar note, the Cucumber and Elderflower Collins provides a simple long gin/sugar/lemon/soda combo with a cucumber and elderflower kick.

A drink that surprised though, would be the vodka/lime/ginger beer Chilli and Lemongrass Moscow Mule infused with, well, guess. The first few sips were bit disappointing, but further in, the lemongrass comes in full force. A drink that could do with better presentation.

There was a hiccup though, with a friend’s Rittenhouse Rye Sazerac, where I have to thank our eagle eyed bartender for spotting the reaction to, and switching it out for the Cucumber Collins above. This did not come as a massive surprise though, since I’ve found Sazeracs tend to be a risky order in most venues. The Hoodooist avoided the Old Fashioned for a similar reason, call it a louche’s intuition.

Service was very positive, bartenders were attentive and chatty, and happy to help if your drink doesn’t work for you. With great value for money, The Cooperage might have a small case of hit and miss, but can be avoided if you rely on your intuition. In short, simple, affordable, effective, a great spot to chill on a weekday.

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

The Cooperage @ Davy’s Wine Vaults

161 Greenwich High Road,
London SE10 8JA


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

The Greenwich Food Festival

Greenwich doesn’t get enough attention. Well, for the right reasons at least. The whole ‘Nelson-Queen’sHouse-Observatory-CentreoftheWorld’ thing can get a bit tired for a Greenwich resident like the Hoodooist.

The GFF (not to be confused with Greenwich Market, though they share the same venue) was set up to raise money for the Greenwich Foodbank is exactly what we needed to get Greenwich to recognize it is more than cosy village and tourist trap. The Festival was spearheaded by students of the University of Greenwich and contacted food vans and stalls across London to sign up for the event.

Considering we’re looking at roughly 40 stalls, the Hoodooist will narrow it down to what he thought could rank as the top 5 in separate categories:

For lunch spots, I was a bit disappointed at how many wanted to put food in a toasted brioche bun. The burger fad is losing momentum, but it didn’t take away from the fantastic work of Sambal Shiok’s spectacular Beef Rendang (NOT A BURGER). Marinated in 10 spices and dripping with further chilli sauce, the melt-in-your-mouth meat was coupled spectacularly with the cool Kerabu pickled cucumber and red onions. And though I complained that brioche buns are overdone these days, it was nice to not have a burger for once. Sambal Shiok’s (NOT A BURGER) rendang was easily the best food stall of the day, although did run out really early around 2PM, three hours into the event. Mandy Yin who runs the stall is an absolute diamond as well – hunt Sambal Shiok down if you haven’t been yet.


Sambal Shiok

We had some of the usual suspects like HornOKPlease (who I still find odd considering its mixture of food from various parts of India served up in one box) and Burgatory, who I finally tried for the first time. I wasn’t as impressed as people make it out to be. Not saying it’s a bad stall, but I’m not going to go charging to find it, is all.

For desserts, the festival was absolutely *laden* with sweet stalls. And we get two winners to tie. First, usual suspect Bad Brownie for their incredible creations. The Bacon and Maple brownie did not really do it for me, regardless of its uniqueness, but at their flagship-pop-up on 19 Greek Street, I will always hold their Chai Tea Brownie as the best brownie I have ever had that wasn’t slightly illegal.


Bad Brownie’s assortments, including their award-winning Salted Caramel Brownie

The Comptoir Gourmand gets a necessary shout out because I’d like to distinguish brownies from patisserie. The Pistachio Financier was to die for; not to mention bread and butter pudding that an Englishman would never be able to whip up.


Comptoir Gourmand’s delights

Drinks stalls had everything from wine to smoothies, but the Kalopsia Coffee wins by a landslide. Decent coffee vans are few and far between, and the smoothness of their Allpress Beans coupled with the incredible service made them natural winners. The van can be hired for various events and I am definitely keeping an eye on these guys.


A truck full of dreams

For stores to buy ingredients from, Bee Mercy takes it without a doubt. Smooth talking Stefan is more than happy to walk you through tasting and benefits of each of the raw, unpasteurized honeys on sale – and remind you of all the ways they can be used mentioned on their website from treating hypertension to facemasks. You can also eat them (in case you missed that). Each honey comes from hives that feed either on separate flowers (for example, hives that live around primarily oak trees, or lavender fields); or in specific environments (1,700 meters above sea level in their ‘Mountain Honey’ or in deep forests with ‘Forest Honey’).



Bee Mercy’s to die for raw honeys

Will throw in a mention of That Cheese Stall with their wonderful wild garlic yarg (pair this with Bon Bon Café’s preserves and jams); and CoCo Gourmand for their coconut brittles and tablets.

In short, the GFF kicked major gastronomical ass and is highly encouraged to be hosted again – and I’m excited to say that is has been considered. Follow it, folks!

Greenwich Food Festival

Greenwich Market,
London, SE10 9HZ