I had planned to do a tour of London roof gardens on Sunday but given the rotten weather forecast I’m instead considering a re-run of last weekend’s tour of Spitalfields and Shoreditch.
It was one heckuva day. First off was a few glasses of cava and a whirlwind tour of Spitalfields and Up Market (which I love and seems like it’s expanding weekly). I then found myself corralling my party of out-of-towners down Brick Lane in search of further ‘refreshment’.
This turned out to be a jug of Pimms at the Vibe Bar (hurrah for courtyards in the summer) and some poor quality fizz at one of those amorphous open-fronted bars that abound in the northern end of the lane. Things improved from there as we cut into Commercial Street and wandered across Boho Mexica.
Boho Mexica is one of the new breed of Mexican cafes and restaurants popping up lately. London has a deserved reputation for serving some of the worst Mexican food in the world but it seems things are starting to improve with a trend for sourcing authentic ingredients and employing a lighter, fresher touch in the kitchen. Boho Mexica is certainly part of this movement but more importantly, and in spite of a limited drinks list, it also served really good cocktails.
Naturally the emphasis was on Central American style drinks. Our party had a Mojito, classic Margaritas and a pomegranate Margarita. All were served on the rocks and all were good but the last drink was the stand out with a fresh zingy flavour and a real Tequila kick. I usually avoid Margaritas on the rocks as being too dilute but that was not a problem here – in fact, they were so good I could be converted from straight up for good. I will definitely be back to check out the rest of the menu.
A yen being expressed for some kind of activity, we then headed north in quest of fun and bar games. After a few rounds of pool at the shabby Griffin on Leonard Street, I felt it was time to up the ante. It was time to play ping-pong. There’s a shameful lack of table tennis facilities in pubs today, so luckily we were right opposite the Book Club as it’s blessed with a well-lit and decent table. Even if nothing else was right about this place I’d come here just for that.
But it also vends fairly decent drinks, has decent food and a huge window down one side so even on a dark, rainy day is full of light. Depending on its programme The Book Club can get very busy but Sunday evening found it in mellow mood, ideal for kicking back and relaxing over a few cocktails interspersed with the odd game of ping-pong.
The drinks menu is reasonably short and a little eccentric with drinks such as Shoreditch Twat and a Hoxton Tea referring to the locality. We plumped for a Lagerita (Tequila, lime, sugar syrup and lager), a Queen Bee (42 Below, Manuka honey, Stoli Raspberry and Creme de mure) and a Black Apple (Captain Morgan, apples, lime, Creme de mure, Maraschino). The best of the three was the Queen Bee which was strong and fruity with a delicious honey finish. The Black Apple managed to be a little weak and bland but was still enjoyable and the Lagerita was pretty much as you’d expect.
Neither venue is a destination venue for cocktails but as cheerful, low-key bars that serve reasonably priced and reasonably made drinks, both are ideal for whiling away the last hours of your weekend whatever the weather.
Remember, rainy days and Sundays don’t always have to get you down.
The Book Club