Cocktails at Lounge Lover, Shoreditch – Decadence and Detail:
Having visited (and loved) Les Trois Garcons an invitation to review the cocktail bar owned and managed by the same trio of Hassan Abdullah, Michel Lasserre and Stefan Karlson was one not to turn down. As it happens I’d spent the afternoon at the RAW wine festival and could quite easily have just gone home. But, since the invitation was also to Simon from By-Invitation, I did no such thing. Much like Les Trois Garcons, this is a fantasy bar in an unlikely setting. From the street, only the solitary stone lion marks the spot as anything more than the peat packing factory that once was situated here. But, go through the entrance lobby, with your chinoiserie bar menu in hand and enter a magical world.
Part of the joy of Lounge Lovers is the clever use of space. Form follows function may be a hackneyed phrase but it is one often forgotten in bars and restaurants. Visitors to somewhere like Lounge Lovers will range from canoodling couples to boisterous groups and accommodating all in a way that inconveniences none is something of an art. Lounge Lovers has clear areas, some which can be ‘private’ others which are open.
Each has it’s own identity and yet there’s consistency throughout the space. So, if you chose to sit in a dark corner there’s space, just as there is for those who are looking for more of a lively communal drinking den. Whilst it must be a nightmare to dust, the styling is fun and original with everything from anatomical prints through to a hippo’s head on show.
What of the food and cocktails though? Well, for my money the cocktails were superb (although unlike my companion I just had two!)
Pictured below I believe is the first I tried, ‘Jubilation’ Beefeater Gin with freshly muddled green and red grapes, sweetened with elderflower cordial, lemon juice topped with champagne and served long.
But, could I name any of the cocktails tasted by my companion?…well, no – although he did tell me that he thought it was the best cocktail bar he’d been to for years (and that pushes the American bar at the Savoy off the top spot). Cocktails are priced from £8.50 up to £13 if you want your ‘old fashioned’ made with Pyrat XO Rum 13 and there’s a wide range of both traditional and modern cocktails on offer. If you are looking for a simpler option, wine is available by the glass or bottle, starting at £19.
While Simon may have sampled almost the entire cocktail menu, between us we tried most of the food menu, including mini burgers, battered squid, tempura prawns and ceviche. I have a sneaky suspicion that I managed to eat most of the delicious battered squid with cumin, red chilli & fresh lime zap while Simon was busy drinking and watching the bar staff.
We both loved the sweet doughnuts that rounded off the evening which came with dill, cardamon & cinnamon.
This is a local treasure that is worth the journey for a special occasion. With prices around half those of a West End cocktail bar and with considerably more ambience it’s well worth a visit.
1 Whitby Street