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Tuesday 30 April 2013

Golden Bee - Callooh Callay - Cantina de Cuervo @ Jubjub - MEATmission - Rodizio Rico

Tuesday 23rd April - Despite having my ankle mauled (though not bitten) at football the night before, I stuck to my Shoreditch-based plan for the evening and met Will on the roof of The Golden Bee for a quick drink after work.  For some reason, everyone formed one long line to the bar, snaking around the whole rooftop - very British behaviour!  Once the sun comes out for good this will be a a nice spot for some beers and cocktails, though there are many exciting rooftop bars (I have a separate rooftop List!) so it isn't your only choice.  You can get yourself 2-4-1 cocktails from 5-7, Tuesday - Friday.

Golden Bee Rooftop Bar
We moved down the road, as fast as I could limp, to Callooh Callay who were launching their new menu that evening.  They have apparently had various themed menus in the past but this was my first visit so I haven't seen any previous incarnations.  We were greeted and led through a wardrobe door in to the lounge where our table was waiting.  Jane and Lee (List debutants but experienced Londoners) arrived a few seconds after we sat down.  I had originally made the booking for 2 weeks before, but the menu launch was postponed. Callooh Callay (or Marie) generously offered me the first round free for the inconvenience - not a bad deal when you are ordering four £9 cocktails.  The new theme is School which they represented by having a menu in the form of a High School Yearbook, and by dressing the bar staff in school uniform.  The first guy we saw when we arrived had a school tie for a bandana but I assumed he was just a hipster (he probably is anyway - he had the lumberjack beard).  The menus cost a fair amount to print so our waitress wasn't too happy when I pointed out a typo after a few minutes - elderflower iqueur anyone?  

The quality of cocktails varied.  I was lucky to have two of the best - 'La Penca and the Brain' and 'Monkey Nuts' were both excellent, but others seemed watered down or didn't quite live up to the description.  Thanks to our waitress for bringing us a free taster of Xante (Pear and Cognac Liqueur) which we hadn't come across before.  Perhaps they will continue to tweak them over the next few weeks.  Apart from the wardrobe entrance and the cassette wall, the design isn't too quirky and when you are sat down it feels like any old dimly lit bar.  I think once you have gone to the effort of concealing a door with a wardrobe, you should make the hidden room slightly more exciting! I can't comment on the atmosphere as it was a Tuesday night and everyone else in London was probably drinking outside in the sun.  The vibe was picking up by the time we left.

Wall made of cassettes in Callooh Callay
After a couple of rounds, we moved upstairs to Callooh Callay's secret weapon, the Jubjub bar.  It used to be a members club with different guest bartenders serving up their own menu each month, but now anyone can go up (booking advised).  Every 4 weeks or so, they completely change the bar to fit a new theme.  First off was a month as a Parisian Absinthe house serving up oysters and absinthe.  Currently it is Cantina de Cuervo, a Mexican Tequila bar.  It's a colourful little room with Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) playing on a TV in the corner.  There are several Mexican beers and cocktails on offer (as well as a wide range of tequilas), but you really have to go for the Tequila slushy made with pineapple and chilli.  It's one of the best drinks I've had since starting The List.  The Mexican street food was also tasty.  One thing that Jane ordered ran out, and so she was offered anything else for free. Obviously she went for the most expensive thing on the menu, a Chimichanga (a deep fried burrito).  This then took so long to arrive that they offered us another round of free slushies!  This took our freebies total to about £68 for about the evening.  I urge you to catch Cantina de Cuervo before it disappears on May 18th.  You may also want to head there on 5th May for the Cinco de Mayo takeover - Live Mariachi band. free slushies for those in Mexican outfits plus much more.

Despite the fantastic snack food, Will was still in need of a proper meal so we wandered over to Hoxton Square.  Red Dog Saloon had stopped serving food but luckily MEATmission (in the same series as Meat Liquor) was still open for business.  The red neon sign outside hints at the stunning interior design.  Having already eaten at Meat Liquor, I knew what to expect from the food.  I went for the Dead Hippie burger this time around which was messy and delicious.  Will went for the enormous Roast Beef Garbage Plate (order this if you are hungry) whilst Lee had the Peckham Dip (roast beef roll that you dip in bone marrow gravy and horseradish cream).  Although I was tempted by the 'Lagerita' tequila & beer slushy, we went for a jug of Brooklyn Lager to wash everything down. It's not all about the food. You can easily spend the whole evening sitting around the bar trying their mad cocktails.  The drinks menu is a great read. The description for the 'Dam Abassador' cocktail says "ACHTUNG in einem glas. Trockenbeerenauslese wine und finlandia vodka stirred down, garnished mitt ein ferroro rocher".  And how can you resist a glass of Argento Malbec? - "a cracking wine for just necking and giving you red teeth". I can see myself ending up here for late night food again pretty soon.  I was also intrigued by the mention of the MEAemisson Photobooth but we didn't investigate further this time around.  We left satisfied and went our separate ways after a successful Summer's evening out in Shoreditch!  Thanks to Will, Jane and Lee for getting involved.

Sunday 21st April - Just a quick mention for Rodizio Rico that I went to with Ali and others after her marathon last week.  She chose this Brazilian churrascaria (steakhouse) because 'rodizio' is a style of restaurant service where, upon paying a fixed price, waiters come round and bring you unlimited grilled  steaks until you can't eat anymore.  When you are finished, you turn a bar mat from green to red so that they stop offering you food.  I was only beaten by one person (yes, of course it's a competition) - the chicken sausage meat was the tipping point for me.  Final standings - Rich, me, David, Sophie, Natalie, Ali and Lauren.  There are various salads and extras available at the buffet which help to round out the meal, but the steaks are the main event.  It's good fun and you won't leave hungry!  Rodizio Rico is a chain and can be found in several places in London.  If there isn't one near you, try Rodizio Preto instead.

I don't know this woman.
Coming up: Blog on Street Feast London and more in Haggerston, plus I will possibly be ticking off more places in Farringdon and Brixton this week.

Square Meal

Square Meal

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Square Meal

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