It seems that everything these days has or is a twist on the original. I’ll state for the record that’s no bad thing – take The Departed, for example. A fantastic film considerably better than the first. Though let’s hope the redux Back to the Future rumours are just that…
Films. TV. Music. They all get the treatment. And we love a good twist on a classic, but none more so than when it comes to cocktails, which is exactly why an invitation to try Bourne and Hollingsworth’s new menu in a revamped bar was just too appealing to turn down.
As an expert meanderer and a fan of getting lost wherever possible, getting to the bar is simply easy. It’s not far from Tottenham Court Road at its brand new station, so it’s about as central as you can get (without being Centre Point, which is also just around the corner, obvs).
However, once you’ve got your bearings, it’s pretty easy to miss the bar completely. I walked past it twice before realising it wasn’t part of the newsagents on the corner. Pro tip: it’s below street level and hidden away from everything else. As I stepped in through the doorway my first impression was retro. Ok, so the bar wasn’t there thirty years ago, but it’s easy to imagine couples in the ’60s and ’70s meeting up somewhere like it to socialise.
The bar is a throwback to grandma’s house. Seriously. You can just imagine being led to your table followed by: ‘Come in, make yourself at home. I won’t pop the kettle on, I’ll make a cocktail. Oh, and have you seen our new chairs? How stylish!’
The décor probably won’t be to some tastes, but we absolutely loved it. The stripped back feel and the cosy interior – not to mention the cosy layout – meant we settled pretty much straight away. After work drinks with friends? Check. Second or third date territory? Check. Meeting your wife after she’s finished work for date night? Check. It’s pretty much made for any occasion. We thought space was a bit limited for larger crowds, which kind of gives it a ‘we’re fairly lucky to get a table in here’ feel.
The bit you’ve all come to see. The cocktails. I rather like a tipple or two. I also like my cocktails (who doesn’t? Seriously if you don’t we can’t be friends). To that end, flicking through the menu will certainly satisfy most – if not all – tastes and preferences. Gin, tequila, vodka, martini and bourbon all found their way onto our menu for the evening, but there’s so much more to choose from.
And here links to my original point; the cocktails are modern twists on good old fashioned classics. Mojitos and martinis, all made in the familiar way but with totally unfamiliar ingredients, homemade cordials and sweet syrups. And even Port found its way into the Bourbon. No wonder they called the cocktail Love & Hate.
We decided to sample three or four cocktails and the quality was right up there with those we had across the pond in New York – the home of some of the most classic cocktails: high-quality ingredients with tip-top spirits and lots of creative flair. Think Rebourne Redux. London Dry Gin, shaken with elderflower syrup, lemon and raspberry. Sounds great right? A little too normal? How about the Back in Black, made with coffee liqueur, with bolt loads of freshly-made espresso, Polish vodka and topped with winter spice syrup. Don’t fancy what’s on the menu? The bartenders will suggest and create, just for you.
Despite it being a quick flying visit, we loved it. The intimacy, the décor, the cosiness, the drinks, everything about the new bar made you feel at home. Sure the drinks are at the top end of the prices – you’re paying anywhere between £9-15 for the tipple of your choice, but they’re worth it. If it wasn’t for how unique each drink is – and they really are – then we’d probably say stick to an Old Fashioned or a Martini or a G&T. But they’re not, and that’s why we loved them.
28 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1JF
Tel: 0207 636 8228