Monday, 15 September 2014

Mission - Craft Cocktail Company

Thursday 4th September - Ah, Bethnal Green.  Why aren't you slightly closer to SW11?

Regular readers might have spotted my fondness for this rapidly improving area for food & drink after numerous posts featuring the likes of Redchurch Brewery, Peg + Patriot, Satan's Whiskers, Mother Kelly's, Dead Doll's Club and more.

All the way back in April, Mother Kelly's opened up on a quiet Paradise Row in one of a number of archways that Network Rail decided to capitalise on.  Japanese Kitchen followed soon after, then Craft Cocktail Company, and now Sager & Wilde's Mission has arrived, but more on that in a bit.

No trip to E2 is complete without a couple of beers at MK's, and that's where our evening began. Rather conveniently, they were hosting the UK launch of Left Hand Brewing (from Colorado).  They are known for their Milk Stout which was available on nitro (smoother pour akin to Guinness) as well as regular taps. Stranger Pale Ale and 400 Pound Monkey IPA went down rather nicely too.

Outdoor seating on Paradise Row

Left Hand Brewing UK launch at Mother Kelly's
It was a flying visit though, as dinner beckoned next door at Mission, the new "Californian wine bar and kitchen" from the popular duo of Michael & Charlotte Sager-Wilde.  The name refers to the Mission grape variety, the first to ever be planted in California.  Their small but perfectly formed wine bar (Sager + Wilde) on Hackney Road has been a huge success, and this time they are back with more than just grilled cheese sandwiches.  James de Jong (previously at The Drapers Arms) is their secret weapon, bringing "Californian-style cooking with Italian influences" to Bethnal Green.

All the arches on Paradise Row are more or less the same plot, so it's interesting to see how differently they all approach the design.  At Mission, you arrive right in the heart of the dining area, with the wine bar behind separated by some exotic plant life.  Looking down on it all is a mezzanine reserved for private functions. Some of the best bottles are stashed up here too.  Lighting is just on the right side of the romantic / too dark to see your food line, even as early as 7pm.

Let's chat about the drinks first.  There's the wine of course.  Of all the booze groups, wine is the one I know least about, but Charlotte, Michael and the rest of the staff were on hand to fill in any gaps.  At any rate, it's an excellent list.  Then there's a small but interesting selection of bottled beers including contributions from North Coast & Pine Street, two Californian breweries.  

But what's this? £4.50 cocktails? Grab a "three sip" Sazerac / Manhattan / Rum Old Fashioned / Martini - a great idea which I'm surprised I haven't seen elsewhere.  I always find a full-sized cocktail looks a little out of place on the dinner table, and tends to hang around too long.  I guess I could drink them faster of course...

Anyway, on to the food.  We started with 'Nduja Arancini (£6.50) - difficult to divide between three, but worth the effort.  This was joined by Duck Pappardelle (£8.50)- simple but effective.  I would happily eat a boat load of this.  Our third small plate was Octopus, Farro, Tomato & Aioli (£8.50) - a generous portion of garlicky goodness and a contender for best plate of the evening, though not advisable for first dates!

'Nduja Arancini

Duck Pappardelle

Octopus, Farro, Tomato, Aioli
Then came the Salt Ox Cheek with Lentils & Salsa Verde (£15).  Three hefty pieces of wonderful meat arrived in the most glorious sauce.  Great value, high quality sharing food.  I hope it's still on the menu when I return.  We followed this with Rabbit Leg, Pancetta, Polenta & Girolles (£17) - very popular on the other side of the table, but not in the same league as the Ox Cheek for me.  More-ish Garlic & Rosemary Potatoes (£3.50) kept everything company.

A pair of guys near us went straight for the Lamb Scottadito (£37) that we had been eyeing up - supposedly for two or three, it could easily have fed a small town.  Food jealousy ensued.

Salt  Ox Cheek, Lentils, Salsa Verde
Not for long though, as my Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Honeycomb arrived.  I'm sure the Lemon Sorbet with Prosecco on the other side of the table was nice enough, but there was only ever going to be one winner in  that fight.  It was one of the fluffiest examples of the genre I have ever had the pleasure of demolishing, with a subtle vanilla flavour backed up by the supporting cast on the plate.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Honeycomb
Considering this was Mission's first evening of service (soft opening and all that), everything ran extremely smoothly, staff were calm and friendly (one smashed item was cleared up before I even managed to turn my head), and the food was confidently dispatched.    It opens fully on Monday September 15th, and will no doubt be busy from day one, so get booking!

N.B. They are also opening up for brunch at the weekends, see you there.

We picked up a few more people at Mother Kelly's en route to our final stop, Craft Cocktail Co.. This doodle demonstrates just how far we had to travel all evening.  Archways 252 & 254 are currently empty, but a little birdie told me Pitt Cue Co might be the next arrival - very good news indeed.  

CCC's neon sign drew us in to their attractive bar which was sadly rather empty compared to the buzzing Mother Kelly's & Mission a few arches down.  The upside though was full attention from the friendly staff, starting with a quick tour of the site.

I should explain - Craft Cocktail Co is no ordinary cocktail bar.  Hidden round the back is their own little factory for creating large batches of cocktails.  These are either bottled (to be sent away to festivals, sold for takeaway on site, or opened and served up for punters), or put through draft lines to be served in pint glasses on tap.

And so we went round to look at the process with words like vats and pasteurisation being thrown around - not necessarily what you want to hear when talking about making cocktails but there you go.  Then we moved back to the bar, and were kindly offered samples of all of the pre-made cocktails - much like getting tasters in a pub which I approve, especially if you are going to buy a pint of the stuff.

Here's what we tried:

Sparkling Bottled Cocktails:

The Southern Fairy - Petit Pois infused Gin, Lincolnshire Elderflower, Hand-Pressed Lemon Juice and Russet Apple Juice

Sunset Boulevard - Craft In-House Gin, Aperol Aperitif Liqueur, Blood Orange Juice, Hand-Pressed Lemon Juice and Acacia Honey

Lavender Paloma - 100% Agave Tequila, Hand-Pressed Pink Grapefruit Juice, English Lavender, With a subtle touch of Juniper and Fennel

Geisha - Craft In-House Gin, Rose Water, Hand-Pressed Lemon Juice, Lychee and a hint of Raspberry

Cult Classic - Craft In-House Amaretto Liqueur, Black Cherry and Hand-Pressed Lemon Juice


Alcoholic Ginger Beer - Hand-pressed ginger, Raw unrefined cane sugar and a touch of citrus to balance

Hard Iced Tea - Lots of cardamom... can't quite remember the rest!

Hot Blooded MaryCraft in-house vodka infused with Kashmiri chilli peppers, tomato passata, Henderson Yorkshire Relish and smoked Tabasco

Summer Fruit CupIn-house Craft Gin, Antica Formula Vermouth, Merlot Triple Sec, Angostura Bitter, Raspberry , Blackberry, Hand-pressed lemon juice and hand pressed ginger

Sampling a Hot Blooded Mary

Pints of Alcoholic Ginger Beer
For me, they are were all lacking one thing.  Alcohol.  Or rather, the taste of it.  They were all perfectly drinkable, but not very adventurous, with rather uninspiring base spirits.  The slightly more exciting drinks with the likes of Petits Pois infused gin, Lavender and Rose Water failed to sparkle.  I hope that they will continue to tweak the recipes and create a few more challenging concoctions, as they've got such a great setup. 18 year old me would probably absolutely love it, £6 for an easy-drinking pint of Alcoholic Ginger Beer (effectively a giant Moscow Mule) or Summer Fruit Cup (Pimm's alternative), but now I'm in my early-mid-late twenties, I go for quality not quantity.

In the meantime, you are best off going from the classic cocktails list that includes Negronis, Martinis, Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs.  These are made to order by the barmen, though I believe they intend to bottle these too, which would be more up my street.  There are also top local beers from Redchurch and Hackney Brewery in the fridge.

It's clearly a work in progress, and I would love to see them succeed as they are trying to do something different.  It could be a fantastic place to hangout, especially with the rest of the Paradise Row dream team nearby, but for the moment it is a little disappointing and the house cocktails need a lot of work.  When the competition is Peg + Patriot and Satan's Whiskers, you really have to raise your game.


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

M1lk - Bobo Social - Society Club

Sunday 31st August - After many a fine brunch in the States this summer, I decided to up my game in London starting with highly-rated M1lk in Balham, located on work-in-progress Hildreth Street.

The "no reservations" queue was in full flow by the time I arrived at 11.20, but their superb Workshop coffee was available and the sun was shining - so far, so Williamsburg.  The atmosphere was buzzing, and with good reason judging by the look of the food being brought out.  Before too long we had a table for five indoors and were eyeing up the menu and the striking décor.

View the menu and follow Matt The List on Zomato

3/4 pint of Lois smoothie & pot of tea
Brunch isn't a meal for messing around sharing everything on the menu.  It's about getting a massive portion of something delicious (potentially with hangover cure benefits if necessary) and keeping it all to yourself. This led to three of us ordering the same wonderfully named Convict muffin (did I mention M1lk is run by Australians?).  It was a criminally good choice - English muffin, drycure bacon, m.moens sausage, burford brown egg, poacher hash, hangover sauce - £7.90. I don't know what hangover sauce is, but I want it every Sunday.

The Convict - English muffin, drycure bacon, m.moens sausage, burford brown egg, poacher hash, hangover sauce
Non-convicts went for Billy The Kid (Red Clover Honeycomb, Goat's Cheese, Sourdough, Flowers - £6.90) and Young Betty (Poached Eggs on Woodfired Sourdough, Drycure Bacon, Burnt Butter Hollandaise, with Young Spinach & Chinese Chive - £7.80 + supplement), both of which looked smashing.  Next time...

Billy The Kid - Red Clover Honeycomb, Goat's Cheese, Sourdough, Flowers

Many treats on display at M1lk

And brunch is as simple as that. No starters. No menu explanations. No small plates. Isn't it great? I should write about it more often, it's a lot less time consuming.  M1lk stands up to the best that New York & co. have to offer, and I expect I will be back again very soon, not least because there is a brand new beer & homebrew store round the corner called We Brought Beer.

One place that might soon compete with M1lk for my affections is Fields Café, their sister joint which is currently taking shape in the building next to the skate park on Clapham Common.  Get a load of these potential dishes:

- Coal-grilled sausage bao, kewpie, pickled shallot & iceberg
- Peat-smoked mutton & beans, garden herb butter & sourdough
- Smashed peas, hay-smoked goat’s curd, garden herbs & sourdough
- Sticky rice pudding, apple, soured cream ice-cream & sake
- Banana bread, Nesquik mascarpone and salted panela

Exciting.  Keep track of their progress on Twitter.

N.B. M1lk is open 8am-5pm Monday – Saturday, and 9am-5pm Sunday - so brunch isn't limited to the weekend! No reservations.

M1LK on Urbanspoon

Tuesday 2nd July - Just over the road from upmarket hot dog establishment BubbledogsBobo Social is setting out to do something similar with burgers, envisaging more of a 3 course affair with patties in the middle where they belong.

Ushered downstairs, we settled in with a bottle of Buxton SPA and a Guava & Rosemary Margarita.  The cocktail list didn't excite me hugely, but good on them for keeping prices under £10 in Fitzrovia.  Black Basil Cosmopolitan and Café Old Fashioned would have come next but I moved on to beer for the remainder of the meal.  Décor is nice enough, a bit of a mishmash of hipster lighting (a bit orange for any budding Instagrammers) but a room without natural light is hard to pull off.

Impressionist Bobo Social 

First came a couple of small plates - Salt & Pepper Crispy Squid with Pickled Cucumber, Rocket, Sweet Chilli & Lime Jam (£6.50) and Sea Bass Ceviche with Pomegranate, Rocket, Chilli, Chive & Lemon Dressing (£7.50).  Salt & Pepper Squid never fails to delight, and chilli & lime jam was a clever accompaniment. The greens weren't an afterthought either  The ceviche was less impressive, lacking the acidic kick that we were craving.

View the menu and follow Matt The List on Zomato

Salt & Pepper Squid with Sweet Chili & Lime Jam
On to the main event, burgers cooked in their Kopa Charcoal Oven with silver birch (they rotate which wood they use to enhance the flavour).  Felix's Peanut Butter burger (£11) made use of Dexter beef, though this is also changed regularly. 

"No, we didn't kill a cow called Dexter", replied the waiter to Felix's witty enquiry.

Dexter was swiftly devoured and given the thumbs up.  Pink, juicy, and a sensible size given the expectation for ordering more courses.  The B branded buns are a nice touch.

6oz rare-breed beef, peanut butter, Monterey Jack, and maple drizzled cured bacon served in a buttermilk bun with lettuce, tomatoes, charcoal roasted onions and Bobo sauce
I knew what I was ordering before I walked through the door. Debauchery.

£20 worth of Wagyu beef, Ogleshield cheese, confit shitaki mushrooms, bacon mayo, truffle & onion compote, shaved truffles, described by Fay Maschler as "sort of a breakthrough burger".

I enjoyed it thoroughly but most of London's best burgers can be bought for under £10 and this wasn't in a world of its own.  Wagyu beef is a treat worth paying for every now and then though, and who doesn't love bacon mayo? Quiet veggies.

Wagyu beef, Ogleshield cheese, confit shitaki mushrooms, bacon mayo, truffle & onion compote, shaved truffles
Sides of Sweet Potato Chips with Truffle Salt and Apple Slaw with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds hit the spot. Skin-on, Beef Dripping Chips and Deep Fried Pickles with Spicy Buttermilk Dip wait in the wings for next time.

Sweet Potato Chips with Truffle Salt
We finished with two small but rich dessert pots, fresh from the fridge rather than the kitchen.  Dark & Milk Chocolate Mousse with Salted Caramel was the better of the two, though a lot denser than we imagined (I've been waiting to use "over-egged the pudding" but I don't really know what I'm talking about).  White Chocolate Cheesecake with Lemon & Ginger was fine but uninspiring.  A bit more innovation or presentation might be needed for the desserts to leave an impression.

Dark & Milk Chocolate Mousse with Salted Caramel

I do like the sound of their Experimental Burger Society nights, held every Monday.  It's £25 per person to create a brand new burger with the Head Chef, making use of Alligator, Ostrich, Kangaroo and Venison if you so wish.  The best burger goes on the menu for the week.  The price also includes a welcome drink, and you get to eat your creation of course.

Felix and I both agreed, there was plenty of enjoyable food, served with a smile, but the burger section leaves the rest of the menu without a real focus, leaving you with a quite random selection of dishes to choose from.  The prices are reasonable and the Debauchery burger is bound to be talked about, but in my opinion, Bobo Social needs something else to tie it all together, and perhaps a stronger drink offering too.

Bobo Social on Urbanspoon

We left very full and in need of a good walk, marching off in the direction of Soho with no real destination in mind.  We walked past Soho Grind (on my to-do list), but it's currently only open late on Fridays and Saturdays.  Look out for Holborn Grind opening soon too.  Instead we wandered down to the other end of Beak Street to find The Society Club.

The Society Club was recommended to me some time ago by a reliable source as one of Soho's best kept secrets.  It's a tiny independent bookstore, gallery & café by day, and relaxed cocktail bar and Soho refuge by night, with regular book launches, poetry readings (not poker evenings as I first heard), talks and workshops.  By the looks of the piano and guitar (extra points instantly) there is live music occasionally too. It's also very much dog friendly.

However, I should have gone a lot sooner as I fear it is just about to switch to a members only system in the evenings which would be a shame.  Annual membership is £175 (effectively a pledge to buy books) which will grant you access to their Bohemian sitting room bar after 6pm.  

We stuck to two classics, a Negroni and an Old Fashioned, both well executed, and soaked up the atmosphere as regulars wandered in and out, always warmly greeted.  It captures that drinks after a dinner party vibe perfectly, with jazz playing softly in the background and classy characters chatting away in cosy corners.  If  The Nudge / Barchick decided to send out an email alerting everyone to a bookstore / gallery / café / cocktail bar in  the heart of Soho, the place would be awash with hipsters in no time.  Maybe it's for the best that it doesn't remain open to everyone.  Does anybody want to lend me £175?

Negroni & Old Fashioned at Society Club

Society Club on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Trinity - Pizza Pilgrims - Basement Sate

Wednesday 3rd September - A return to Clapham Common for another leisurely lunch with my parents. Last time out, The Dairy swept us off our feet.  How would Adam Byatt's Trinity do? 

We arrived hungry at 12.30 and found, for a while at least, that we had a dining room all to ourselves, with windows opening out on to a sunny Clapham pavement.  Yes, that is Starbucks, not a delightful independent coffee shop.  Give Clapham a few months.

We went straight for the lunch menu.  2 courses for £22 or 3 for £27 (Tuesday-Saturday).  A La Carte is of course available, or you can go for the £50 tasting menu.  We ordered a trio of greengage bellinis (one boozy, one water, one lemonade) which were accompanied by a complimentary snack box of radishes, cheese sticks with olive tapenade and roe mayonnaise.

Greengage Bellini

Complimentary snacks - radish, olive tapenade cheese sticks, roe mayonnaise
More treats turned up before the starters - a bowl of sourdough that was the product of 14 years of fermentation (!) and triple whipped butter.  This threatened to steal the show, and seconds were ordered. Funnily enough, the only other place I have been served butter on a rock since starting this blog was at The Dairy round the corner.  Clapham knows how to serve its bread.  I shall be triple whipping my butter from now on, but I'm not waiting 14 years for the perfect sourdough.

14 year fermented sourdough with triple whipped butter
The starters soon made their grand entrance.  Staff were balletic in their approach to serving, with plates going down in unison as details of the dish were almost whispered to the relevant diner.  A quail's egg sat atop a fort of potted smoked trout whilst watercress soup was poured all around - great presentation with flavours to match.  My mother meanwhile had a generous portion of Vitello Tonnato (a Piedmontese dish of cold, sliced veal covered with a tuna-flavoured mayonnaise) which was wrapped around bobby beans, with crackling and ravigote (a lightly acidic, classic French sauce).  Could Trinity keep up this high level throughout?

Watercress Soup, Potted Smoked Trout, Quail's Egg

Vitello Tonnato, Bobby Beans, Crackling, and Ravigote
There was no sign of a dip in quality (or quantity) in the mains.  That second portion of bread might have been a mistake (I said might).  Beautifully cooked warm roast salmon with bonus crispy skin, leaning on a spaghetti of vegetables, was surrounded by al dente agnolotti (another import from Piedmont, beef and vegetable stuffed pasta) and a crab vinaigrette.  Wow.  I might have to rush back for more before the menu changes with those pesky seasons.

Warm Roast Salmon, Agnolotti, Crab Vinaigrette, Spaghetti of Vegetables
My Dad's plate of Lamb Offal was an impressive sight - not something that I would order, but right up his street.  It firmly got the thumbs up, an empty plate telling most of the story.  If you've got lunch plans to eat at Heston's Dinner (£39 for 3 courses, 2 Michelin stars), it might be time to change the booking.  

Lamb Offal: Liver, Kidney & Sweetbread, Fricassé of Peas, Lettuce and Onions
After a brief discussion about sharing desserts, we greedily ordered three separate bowls, spurred on by the superb staff's enthusiasm for their favourite pudding making it back on to the menu. 

That enticing, inverted fried egg looking thing you can see is a Valrhona Chocolate Hot Pot with Salt Caramel Ice Cream.  Granted, the salted caramel struggled to compete with the gooey, rich Valrhona chocolate, but who cares?  I was ultimately defeated, but I ate way more of it than I should have.  

And then they went and brought us some macaroons on a bed of cocoa nibs.  I managed to fit one in - only polite, right?

Valrhona Chocolate Hot Pot with Salt Caramel Ice Cream

Macaroons on a cocoa nib bed
As you might have noticed, we were rather happy with our lunch.  Not just the food and drink though as the service was second to none.  I shouldn't think it will be too long before we are back for the tasting menu. Well done Trinity, you (and The Dairy) are doing Clapham and South London proud.

N.B.  Trinity has some unexpected opening times: Lunch is served Tue-Fri 12.30-2.30pm, Sat midday-2pm, Sun midday- 3.30pm. Dinner is served Mon-Sat: 6:00-10pm.  On Monday bank holidays Trinity is also open for lunch.

P.S. Adam Byatt has another restaurant, Bistro Union, on the charming Abbeville Road. I might go along for a Sunday Supper Club evening when corkage is free.

Trinity on Urbanspoon

Right, now, don't judge me, but there's a chance I was hungry again a few hours later.  Ahead of a bar launch, Natalie and I decided to check out the new Pizza Pilgrims Pizzeria & Friggitoria in Kingly Court, already being very familiar with their Neapolitan pizzas from street food events and their Dean Street home.

I won't go in to too much detail, as you can read about their original pizzeria here, but I will mention a few new things.  Firstly, space! They have lots of it, including plenty outdoors in Kingly Court and also downstairs, where there is a full-on Super Mario mural.  An arcade machine (supposedly Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) is soon to be added there too.  

Coffee. They have a separate little coffee outpost next to the pizzeria with their friends at Terrone Coffee Roasters, who run a popular stall at Netil Market.  The Terrone owner, Edy Piro hails from just outside Naples, so that's all good.

Booze.  Collaborating with Chase Distillery, they have crafted Sohocello, their own take on Limoncello with Luigi Aceto’s Amalfi lemons & Chase English potato spirit. They have also sensibly sourced some exciting Italian beers from Birra del Borgo, a brilliant brewery.  It's about time Londoners knew that Italians make more than just Peroni.

Friggitoria.  Not content with nailing the art of pizza, they have turned their hands to frying, including Pizza Fritta (mini deep-fried calzones), Carciofi Fritti (deep fried artichoke hearts with rosemary salt) and best of all Frittatine di Maccheroni (macaroni cakes with parmesan, ragu & buffalo mozzarella).

Outdoor seating in Kingly Court

Pizza Pilgrims & Chase Distillery Sohocello

I did manage a bit of food after my epic lunch.  We shared a Salsiccia & Friarelli pizza (Bianca base, fresh fennel sausage, wild broccoli, parmesan, basil, olive oil  time- hard not to order this one every time) and a cup of those fried macaroni cakes.  I'm happy to report that the pizzas are still of the highest quality even though James & Thom are spreading themselves thinner with two sites and various street food commitments. And the Frittatine di Maccheroni were everything I hoped for, and oh so healthy.

Salsiccia e Friarelli Pizza

Frittatine di Maccheroni
It's good to see them expanding, especially as now there's space for everyone.  Kingly Court is clearly the place to be, with fun foodie neighbours like Stax, Rum Kitchen, and Wright Brothers already settled.  Senor Ceviche is the next arrival on the horizon.

Pizza Pilgrims next residency adventure is at the three month pop-up that has been causing quite a stir, Swingers.  No, not a leave your keys in a bowl affair, but a MINI GOLF / BAR. I'm pretty excited.  Book your tickets here before they are all gone.

Pizza Pilgrim Pizzeria & Frigittoria on Urbanspoon

That's enough food for one day, I think.  To balance it out, we made our way over to Broadwick Street for the launch of Basement Sate, a cocktail and dessert bar (that's a thing now) in the space that Soho institution The Player used to inhabit.

It's a good-looking bar - all dark wood, red brick and low lighting (to the extreme), plus a very funky back bar arrangement with spirits on small stepladders.

The booze and pudding idea is down to Dublin born Cathleen McGarry, co-owner of the excellent Sherry Butt in Paris.  The 12 strong cocktail list has been devised by Byly Tran (Prescription Club), and Dorian Picard (Club Gascon) is the pastry chef behind the puddings.  Enough name dropping for you? Expectations were understandably high.

After a bit of a scrum at the busy bar, I started with a moreish Arboriculturist (Calvados, Cinnamon & Pear Syrup, Sherry - £10) - boozy fruit with more than a hint of Christmas.  My bottle of Calvados is normally reserved solely for making many a Sidecarriage, but I might just have to branch out if someone divulges the specifics.  

Next up was Eagle in the Tub (Gin, White Port, Fernet Branca, Ginger Ale - £11) which didn't stick in the memory, but long drinks aren't really my thing.

The unlikely winner for me was Beet Me Up (£11), a fiery mix of vodka, beetroot, ginger and Moscato d'Asti. My vodka bottles rarely get an outing from the drinks cabinet (mostly when Big Lebowski is on) but now I have a new excuse.  Another recipe needed please.

There's plenty more fun to be had on the short menu including Patrick the Wombat (Rosemary-infused Tequila, Aperol, Umeshu, Grapefruit - £10), Prairie Meuh Meuh (Cognac, Suze, Punt e Mes - £11) and Salty Granny (Japanese Whisky, Wakame-infused Vermouth, Granny Smith syrup - £13).  

Arboriculturist - Calvados, Cinnamon & Pear Syrup, Sherry
On the dessert front, we tasted three miniature versions, but below are some photos of the real deal for you to gawp at.  London - Brest (black sesame choux, praline cream, "hidden" hazelnut, tonka creme anglaise) was the mini winner on the night, but I'd have to have the £10 full version before I could really pass judgement.  It will be interesting to see whether the desserts get as much attention as the cocktails over the next few weeks.

Others of particular interest on the menu:

Bulle - spiced blood orange sphere, Visitandine biscuit, passion fruit gel, Granny Smith foam £9
Mille Feuille Fromage & Truffle - filo pastry, truffled cream cheese, honey&rosemary, pine nut pesto £11
Raviole - cocoa ravioli, raspberry ginger cream, cassis chocolate truffle, gin & citrus gel £12

London - Brest (black sesame choux, praline cream, "hidden" hazelnut, tonka creme anglaise) 

Vacherin (Lime meringue, basil cream, strawberry sorbet, cranberry and orange coulis)
It's a bizarre concept, though similar projects such as After Hours Dessert and The Pudding Bar have proved to be very popular, and the bartending is strong enough without the additional sweet course, so I'm sure Basement Sate will do well.  I will probably avoid returning on the weekend when a "high-octane party atmosphere" is promised - a chilled out jazz vibe midweek sounds more up my street.  Take your pick.