I’ve been very busy lately, what with Imbibe last week, and checking out a number of new bars and cafes. Of these one or two really stood out. In particular, the Lonsdale relaunch was very glitzy and a lot of fun, promising a revitalised bar presence and a buzz that harks back to their glory days a couple of years ago.
A brand new opening, Entree in Battersea, offers quite a different experience – speakeasy elegance with a sophisticated drinks list. The Negroni (Old Tom gin, Punt e mes and Antica Formula vermouths, Campari) made by Pasquale Fais, was perhaps sweeter than some I’ve sampled but a wonderful example of Anglo-Italian harmony. Cant wait to go back to both of these bars and give them a full workout and review.
But my very latest experience was at the Bombay cafe Dishoom – ‘dishoom’ is an Indian word which can mean ‘mojo’ or the sound of a punch being thrown – like ‘pow’ or ‘bam’. Their launch was full of good things, from the succulent spiced squid to the incredibly friendly team behind the venture.
Again, I’m not going to do a full review but for now I will just share what was the most exciting offering of the night – the Chai-ijito cocktail.
Don’t get me wrong, the small but interesting cocktail menu was well-executed (even under huge pressure), with the St Martini (Gin, pomegranate juice, chilli syrup) leading the rest of the pack. It’s just the Chai-ijito was, and I use this word deliberately, sensational, with flavour exploding with a ‘dishoom’ in your mouth.
After enthusing for ten minutes to the bar-concept team about how gorgeous it was, I was kindly given the recipe for this fantastic drink. I now share it here, so all can partake in this lively version of what is currently London’s favourite drink.
35 ml Masala Infused Pampero Blanco (recipe below)
5-6 sprigs coriander
6 leaves fresh mint
20 ml fresh lime juice
15 ml homemade masala syrup (recipe below)
Churned through crushed ice & topped with splash of soda, garnish with fresh mint.
1 bottle Pampero Blanco
14 cardamom pods
½ vanilla pod sliced
6 g cinnamon bark
5 g ginger root
Remove 75 ml from bottle, add spices, shake and store for 24 hrs shaking every few hours, strain rum, remove spices and bottle.
Chai Spiced Syrup
1.5 kg caster sugar
1 litre water
12-14 cardamom pods split
5 g cloves
8 g dried ginger root sliced
1/2 vanilla pod (sliced)
10 g pieces cinnamon bark
Bring to the boil and simmer, whilst stirring for around 5-6 mins, making sure all sugar has dissolved and there are no crystals. Cool and fine strain.