Bar Termini, Soho

Type of Bar: Tiny, Cafe, Italian
Damage£
Ideal for: Date, Small Groups, Coffee, Aperitifs

News about Bar Termini is spreading like wild fire. Probably because Marco Arrigo, and Tony Conigliaro (of ZTH (Click HERE) and 69 Colebrooke (Click HERE) fame) decided to open it without announcement or event – it retained a mystery that everyone wants in on.

Term pic

And what it is, is probably my next favourite study spot in Soho. A teeny tiny room with bar next door to the much more demanding-of-attention, La Bodega Negra, Bar Termini provides a pale blue, vintage Italian haven for coffee and cocktail fans. Inspired by Arrigo’s introduction of Illy coffee to London, and the many coffee shops that serve it in Soho, Termini serves up Italian classics in a chilled out space.

Firstly with coffee, true it a tiny bit pricier than your usual – espressos at 3 pounds, bicherins at 4 – they still impress. I honestly wasn’t expecting to enjoy Illy coffee as much as I enjoyed it here at Termini. With sides of pastries and mini-paninis, what’s not to love?

The Negroni Rosato

The Negroni Rosato

‘Mini’ might be a useful term here – the Negronis are positively miniscule, yet are incredible.

Three Negronis are presented: the Classico, Rosato, and Superiore. Each bottled (in their distinctive custom Art Deco bottles!) in advance, aged for up to three months – provide intense flavours, and surprisingly calm on the Campari (a result of aging).

The Classico provides a smooth Negroni experience, the Rosato and Superiore are infused with further ingredients:

The Superiore, my preferred of the three, is infused with pink peppercorns, to add a slight spiciness to it. It’s a bit subtle, and I certainly would prefer a more intense infusion, but spectacular as a Negroni – not too dry or sweet, subtle on the Campari, good roundedness from the vermouth. Excellent.

The Rosato can split the table depending on your appreciation of sweet drinks. Infused with rosebuds and rose water, this deep red Negroni brings forward a strong – but not sickly – rose to the cocktail. An interesting choice, rose and Negronis, but one that works. A bit sweet for me, but a wonderful drink overall – in this case, the small serving seems rational with the intense flavour.

The Marsala Martini

The Marsala Martini

The Marsala Martini: Beefeater gin, dry vermouth, marsala dolce and almond bitters, with an almond garnish stored in Champagne vinegar, salt and sugar. Oh my, this is strong. On first sip: a quintessential dry, dry Martini. Then the marsala dolce seeps in, leaving an empty ground for the almond bitters to shine. What a fantastic aperitif. The serving was a perfect size, took a while to take this one down. And the almond at the end? Sweet-sour, balsamic. An excellent twist on a Martini, served with crisp parmesan (as any marsala should).

Another exciting drink on the menu would be the Terroir, described as ‘Distillates of flint, clay and lichen’. Right. I was initially cautious, but I have always rested my faith in Tony, so went straight for it and was delighted by what I got. The Terroir is prepared by distilling the ‘grape’ flavours out of wine, leaving only the flavours presented by the terroir where the vines grew. However it is prepared, one must approach it like a new spirit unto itself. Beginning with a sourness at the back of the jaw, it moves forward with a mineral and surprisingly floral flavour – very reminiscent of sake. This is a drink I must recommend, especially for its uniqueness.

The custom Rosata bottle. Gorgeous.

The custom Rosata bottle. Gorgeous.

On a much more familiar note: A Bellini (Prosecco, peach puree, almond blossom) prepared so fresh, that even my normally bubbly-avoiding self enjoyed it. Finally, a good old Aperol Spritz (Beefeater gin, Aperol, prosecco) and rhubarb cordial. Hm, here is a drink I didn’t quite take to. Primarily because of the overpowering rhubarb cordial.

Service is excellent, no complaints. Very approachable, conversational staff dressed immaculately, all screaming Conigliaro’s personal specifications in uniform design.

The Bicherin

The Bicherin

In short, excellent list of cocktails for excellent prices. If any question regarding price can be raised, it would be the size of some of the cocktails (The Negronis and Bellini). In which case, my finger hovers over deciding the score regarding drinks. But the rest of the cocktails are sized accurately regarding their flavours. With excellent service, design, and attention to detail, Bar Termini is certainly a new spot in London that must be seen!

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

Bar Termini

7 Old Compton Street, Soho
London W1D 5JE.

http://www.bar-termini.com/

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The House of Peroni Press Launch

Beer giant Peroni relaunches it’s massively popular pop-up – House of Peroni – in London, a ‘celebration of Italian culture’.

A multi-storey affair, it presents Italian art installations reflecting Rome, with food provided by Bottega Wapping (Yum), and cocktails innovated with Peroni beer.

Now I ain’t no art critic, so let’s go over the drinks as we wander through the various installations munching on canapes.

"The Secret Garden" art installation

“The Secret Garden” art installation

Unfortunately, the launch only served 3 of the 6 cocktails proposed – which to be honest, was a massive disappointment. If this was a matter of using certain ingredients sparingly, a token-for-cocktail affair could have been organised. A real shame since couple of the drinks not being served at the launch seemed to be far more promising that what was served in the end.

Let’s begin with the best of the lot:

The Nerone, inspired by the myth of Nero standing by as Rome burned, evoked the fire and smoke of a city-wide conflagration. Peroni Nastro Azzurro shaken with chilli, passionfruit and smokey Lapsang souchong tea. The smokey tea really mellows the normally overpowering passionfruit, simmering with spiciness. Unfortunately, the flavours separate if the drinker takes time, leaving the last half of the drink to taste almost entirely of Peroni instead of a steady mix, or slight layering of the drink. Nonetheless, a successful cocktail.

The following two were a bit less enticing.

Fellini’s La Dolce Vita inspired the La Dolce Vista (geddit.) – meant to be sipped slowly, a twist on the Aperol Spritz. Peroni NA, orange, grapefruit and Prosecco; demands a VERY long sipping time. And though mediocre, would be probably more enjoyable as a shorter drink. In any case, mixed well, and something to relax in the outdoor area with.

Finally, the Honey Peroni brings together Peroni NA, vanilla infused rum and honey for a drink described as well-balanced – but is anything but. Painfully sweet on vanilla and honey, and left unfinished.

The "Roma Phantasma" art installation

The “Roma Phantasma” art installation

Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the last three drinks that were not served on the night, so cannot review them. Which should have been considered since a press launch would demand, well, people giving a fair review of what a venue has to offer. Similar with the sparse canapes. In any case, service was excellent, employees were absolutely wonderful.

In any case, the House of Peroni provides an interesting, if not university-house-party-esque atmosphere for a night out, even if the coffee leaves a lot to be desired. For an evening of socialising, worth one drink.

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

The House of Peroni

64 Lincoln’s Inn Fields,
London, WC2A 3JX.

http://thehouseofperoni.com/

Mission, Bethnal Green

Type of Bar: Wine Bar, Bar/Restaurant, Italian
Damage: Cocktails –£, Wine per glass: £-££
Ideal for: Wine, Food, Small Groups

Wine legends of Sager+Wilde are back with a new venture, Mission, presenting primarily Californian wine (by the glass, bottles from round the world) alongside (primarily) Italian cuisine.

Décor is simple, efficient, and fairly sparse – with the beautiful bar dominating the scene (although the palm tree, though channelling California, could be done without), and an excellent outdoor area.

Three Sip Martini

Three Sip Martini

To the important bits: Mission may primarily serve wine, but there is a short selection of (primarily aperitifs) classic cocktails at a shocking 4 pound 50. Though short, said cocktails were of spectacular quality that are difficult to rival. A Three Sip Martini, exactly what it sounds like, caught me by surprise since I certainly wasn’t expecting one made so well – considering what a snob I tend to be with them. Especially with Tanqueray, which isn’t usually my first choice.  The Rum Old Fashioned came enviably delicious, simple and effective, the highlight of the night’s drinks. A definite order.

Enormous Globe Artichoke and ‘Nduja Arancini put away, a fantastically crisp, peppery Californian Gruner Veltliner, and an Italian red blend entertained a main course of rabbit leg cooked to perfection with polenta, pancetta and girolles. The evening ends with a rather short list of desserts – but I couldn’t complain about the Dulce de Leche cheesecake with Master Obayashi’s Hijiri Hojicha – a roasted Okinawan tea, strongly tobacco and toffee – necessary to help with the overwhelming sweetness of the cake. Not to mention these guys certainly aren’t stiffing you on portion size.

Dulce de Leche cheesecake, with Hijiri Hojicha

Dulce de Leche cheesecake, with Hijiri Hojicha

Service was impeccably polite from beginning to finish, food and drink served with incredible swiftness. Unfortunately, on the more than one occasion the Hoodooist has visited, there have been errors on the bill and delays or confusions with orders. Nonetheless, it all gets sorted out, and certainly does not dilute the experience of wonderful food and drink.

Essentially, with cocktails – there often isn’t much one can add to elaborating on classics, but the delightfully dry gin Martini and rounded Rum Old Fashioned are worth coming down to Mission almost exclusively for – and what value for money! A cocktail, wine and tea for 15 pounds, I’m certainly not complaining.

Mission runs a soft launch till 14th Sept 2014(reservations only); opening on the 15th Sept.

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

 

Mission

250 Paradise Row,
London E2 9LE

http://www.missione2.com/