Monday, 22 August 2011

Callooh Callay, Hoxton 19/20*

Location: 65 Rivington Street, Hoxton/Shoreditch

Visit: Friday 8pm

To Note? Book a table in the Jub Jub bar and consider how good life would be if granted membership

Ambiance 5/5
Design 4/5
Drinks 5/5
Staff 5/5

Extra LBS star: *

After a warm greeted at the main bar I was handed over to the more than capable Jub Jub host Dan. It does not take long for the bar name to become apparent as – Alice-in-Wonderland style - I was whisked through a cupboard door and up some curtained stairs where a key was produced allowing entry to this attic bar.

This is not Callooh Callay. This…is the Jub Jub Club.

This free-but-you-need-to-be-a-member club is all about how much you enjoy cocktails. Every Thursday to Saturday there is a mixologist in residence often from further flung areas than when we visited – bar manager Andrea Montague was on call with her “breakfast menu”. She may be local but we sampled some, quite frankly, mind blowing drinks.

I must draw attention to that fact that we were presented – and topped up – with water as we perched at the bar. It’s a small gesture but as with Bramble a good one. From the menu online I was set on starting with Something For The Kids; a heady mix of whisky, orange juice and nutella. The flavours were amazing, layered one after the other to constantly surprise. My companion – a braver woman than me – opted for Alexander Kellogg’s. This was surprisingly, well, breakfast like, and all the more dangerous for it.

We progressed to a Ristretto and Soy Milk Latte’ini’ which was another perfect example of layers of delicious flavours and a hundred miles from the average Espresso Martini. My friend outdid me again opting for Bacon and Eggs which arrived with a cinnamon dusted pig in a blanket. Not only was this combination of sweet and savoury delicious, but the deep yellow glutinous drink it sat upon was so good I was verging on order envy. After this it was off-piste from the menu and anything that came our way!

To be somewhere on a Friday night where the mixologist has time to chat about your drinks, different flavour combinations, your favourite animal etc…is a delight. Leaving this haven to visit the toilets however caused a minor problem getting back in without a key. This is a small point but probably related to the fact we outstayed our alloted time slot when the Club really is “member only”. Music was good, people were all very friendly and obviously looking for beverage excellence, even the tarragon and parmesan popcorn got sticky thumbs up.

My LBS star is for a very similar reason to Scaredy Cat – yes the bar is secret but there are no pretentions here to be anything other than at the top of the cocktail game and if that means issuing members key then so be it.

I say this with my membership request pending so caveat this will be continued…

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