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Saturday 11 May 2013

The Good Egg & Hangover Club - Midnight Apothecary - Mayflower

Saturday 4th May - When I attended Feast a couple of months back I wanted to try everything on offer, but due to a rookie cheese overload a few stalls escaped un-Listed.  One that got away was The Good Egg.  When I returned home I discovered that The Good Egg belonged to one of my musical friends, Joel Braham, who I had intitially met on a trip to North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam about 5 years ago and who I normally run in to once a year in the toilets in the Pleasance Dome at the Edinburgh Festival (that sounds worse than it is).  I sadly didn't spot him at Feast, and I have been trying to catch them around London ever since!  Luckily they have now taken up residence on Saturdays from 11-3 in the wonderful Skyroom venue in London Bridge with the Hangover Club

NOTE - SKYROOM IS NO LONGER OPEN - The Good Egg can currently be found at Cortado, and Platterform can be found in London Fields

Despite not being hungover, I made my way over from some extremely early morning violin lessons to meet Sam and Wrighty.  Skyroom is a brilliant location (although it is slightly open to the elements!) and will be one of the places to be this summer.  I had a quick catchup with Eggheadchef Joel before ordering their signature Shakshuka dish - eggs poached in a smokey, spiced tomato sauce served with merguez sausages and sourdough bread to mop it all up.  It is comfort food of the highest quality that I could happily eat over and over again - well worth travelling to London Bridge for.  There are other enticing options too - the burrito seemed to be particularly popular.

The Hangover Club also has a fun selection of Bloody Marys which Sam was in dire need of.  He could have chosen the Bloody Burro (with Chicken Stock Fat-washed Tequila and Chipotle) or the Bloody Bullfighter (Bloodshot vodka muddled with Beef Bouillon) but instead was coaxed by the barman into having a Red Eye (from the film 'Cocktail').  It is a pint of half tomato juice and half lager with a shot of vodka and whole egg.  What Sam didn't realise was that the drink is intended to be downed in one go, with the egg dropped in just before - see the video below.  My favourite moment is when his eyes widen as he sees the egg (his third of the morning) floating towards his mouth.  The barman later returned and said that he didn't think anyone would ever choose it from the menu, and that he had just put it on there for a laugh.  Look out for other great events on at Skyroom such as Gin Shed on Saturdays from 5 and Cock'n'Doodle on Friday evenings.

Sam and I moved on for a cheeky pint in the excellent Dean Swift pub near Tower Bridge - a hidden gem for beer lovers off the main road - before heading to his flat via Maltby Street market to watch a dreadful Spurs Saints game.  After a late Bale winner and a quick bit of retro Sega Megadrive Pete Sampras Tennis (couldn't resist playing as my female namesake, L.Hickman), we made our way to Rotherhithe with his flatmates and neighbours (Henry and T Rex from Katzenjammers plus Rich and EJ) where Team List leader Natalie was already waiting to add to her impressive points total.

Odd little café in Maltby Street Market
Rotherhithe is another stop on my new favourite Overground Line and is the new place to be on Saturdays and Sundays as one of 2012s most successful popup bars, Midnight Apothecary, has just reopened for 2013 on the roof garden of the Brunel Museum. It's a stunning outdoor space within sight of the Thames, with a central bonfire that leads to a sociable, festival atmosphere as night draws in. The brains behind the bar is Lotte Muir ("The Cocktail Gardener") who transformed the neglected garden last year.  The bar was initially just a one-off to promote events at The Brunel Museum but proved to be too popular! Ever the suckers for a deal, we bought 4 cocktail tokens each for £25 - they have to sell the drinks in a roundabout about way to get past various licensing issues.  Make sure you come prepared with fun fake names, as they take your order and call out to you when they are ready.  Most of us realised this too late, but Henry managed to get away with being called Leroy.  The cocktails are inspired by the garden, using such ingredients as silver rosed tea-infused vodka, lavender infused gin and hibiscus syrup.  The Sloe Gin Sour with rhubarb and ginger jam was the best of the bunch.  A more exciting beer option would be wise and we were sad that the advertised Foragers food wasn't there, but those are small complaints.  

T Rex and Leroy
A charming chap came round offering a £5 guided tour of the original Rotherhithe tunnel below the bar which I hope to go on next time.  T Rex gave us a quick summary including tales of a tragic tunnel collapse early on, plus possibly the first ever pop up tunnel-based dining experience held when it was all finished to prove that it was safe after all.  Keep your eyes peeled for various events such as popup Opera being held in the tunnel over summer.

Lotte the Cocktail Gardener came round with marshmallows and some branches which got everyone talking round the fire.  We befriended Rotherhithe local, Yen, and her group of friends whilst some were on the tour.  We eventually dragged ourselves away to get some food in the nearby pub, The Mayflower.  It felt like we were miles from London as we walked down the cobbled village street to get there.

We didn't get off to the best start as we ordered 7 main meals just as the kitchen was closing but they forgave us.  We sat outside in the lovely garden that overlooks the Thames, complete with heaters, blankets and hot water bottles for cold nights.  The Mayflower (est 1621) claims to be the oldest pub in The Thames and it certainly isn't lacking in character.  I would love it to be my local!  The evening ended in an amusing fashion as one of the girls from behind the bar came over with a classic calculator and tried to work out what was going wrong with the bill, and ended up going round and round in circles until she was told to give up by another member of staff.  It was a very enjoyable evening and has opened my eyes to the delights of Rotherhithe Village.  I highly recommend going along to both the bar and the pub in the same evening, just as we did, but save a fiver for the tunnel tour!  Saturdays and Sundays only for Midnight Apothecary.


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