A couple of days ago Editor Daniel and I were extremely fortunate to be invited to the opening night of Hawksmoor Spitalfield’s new bar in their cellar. Once again it demonstrated that boss-men Huw and Will are unswerving in their desire to provide quality venues for good times for their customers.
Let’s make one thing abundantly clear from the start: it’s a great bar. If you want to go somewhere near Liverpool Street for quality drinks and brilliant bar snacks then this is the prime option. You will have a cracking time.
The room itself is the perfect cellar bar. It has enough lighting and mirrors to keep things busy, but also dark painted walls with expansive booths to hide in with your chums. The bar is a polished delight from 60s Paris. You feel you are going to get very improved when you walk in. It got a bit loud when it was full but I think the air-conditioning worked a treat and stopped everyone melting into a communal pool of sweat. It just seems a great place to hang out.
Cocktails are up to the usual Hawksmoor standard of excellence, but the list is not as encyclopaedic as in the restaurant bars – you are going here to drink not read about drinks. The list has some permanent features and a revolving selection from the bar-staff of Hawksmoor. For the opening period this selection has been chosen by Huw and Will from their original 2006 cocktail list. Try the tankard of Cognac, Claret and tea punch; I rather liked it.
Bar snacks are brilliant. Hot dogs and chilli cheese dogs (modelled below by Dani and me respectively) are the greatest hot dogs I have ever tried with brilliant sausages and highly delightful garnishes.
The best of the bar snacks I tried were the shortrib nuggets, which I model below. These are lumps of pork rib meat in cheese fried up in little crispy balls. They are amazing. I said at the time they were the best thing I had ever eaten, which they weren’t, but they were definitely the raccoon’s rude bits.
We also tried some Tamworth Laab which could have been brilliant such was the porky wonderfulness of it, but it needed more fish sauce, lime juice and chilli. Since they were not afraid of making the chilli cheese dogs fiery they could have fuelled this up a bit as well.
Then I’m afraid it all got rather loud and busy for this poor nutcase after a long day tasting wine (report to follow), so we slogged the easy journey back to Winchester. That aside, we had a great time in the bar and we will be returning there on many occasions. They take bookings if you want food but you can just roll up for beezer cocktails and I really wish I could do that right now.