Wednesday 9th April - Two absolute belters for you today, hot off the press.
First up is Mother Kelly's, a 23 tap beer bar & bottle shop in Bethnal Green from the folks at Queen's Head (King's Cross) and Simon the Tanner (London Bridge). Network Rail recently got back 6 archways that were previously full of Balls Brothers wine, and have set about leasing the spaces to food & drink types to create a fun new corner of London.
From what I saw on Wednesday, with Mother Kelly's the first to open, Paradise Row (& Bethnal Green in general) will soon be a very popular hangout. Japanese Canteen and Craft Cocktail Company (from JJ Goodman of London Cocktail Club) should be the next two arches to open, there is already Redchurch Brewery & Satan's Whiskers round the corner, and Jason Atherton & the Talented Mr Fox team are soon taking over food & drink (Peg + Patriot) at the nearby Town Hall Hotel.
Anyway, focus! Mother Kelly's have got a massive space (as I suppose they all do!) and have kept it simple with a wall of unmarked beer taps, long tables, and a row of fridges at the side. They are trusting mankind not to just walk off with beer, and they aim to have a member of staff dedicated to selling bottles for takeaway so that you don't have to queue with the punters. One wall is covered in some "urban art" done surprisingly by the drummer from McFly!
|Artwork by the drummer from McFly|
10 taps were on for the quiet launch day, with familiar faces like Beavertown, Pressure Drop, Five Points & Kernel from London alongside some international offerings. A little birdie behind the bar told me that they are doing a De Molen tap takeover next week (probably from Thursday 17th April) which is a pretty exciting way to announce your arrival in London, and bodes well for the future.
Bar staff were very friendly and knowledgeable, especially Steve Taylor (previously of the very popular Mason & Taylor, now Brewdog Shoreditch), who matched his beer chat with some serious London coffee barista tips, making my list of places to go even longer.
Mother Kelly's is on course to be a huge success, so get over there quick before everyone else does!
A quick bus ride took Taro, Lucy and I over to Broadway Market to check out the 300 year old Cat & Mutton pub, which has recently been refurbished and relaunched with food from Licky Chops and Pearl's cocktail bar upstairs from the Ruby's Dalston team.
The ground floor pub was buzzing with locals even though it was supposedly not opening for another 2 days. They have done an excellent job with the décor on both floors - see Tuck and Vine's photos for a better idea.
After Mother Kelly's, the beers were always going to struggle to impress, but two Meantime taps will keep most happy. The Licky Chops food menu is slightly reduced in the pub area, so we swirled up the attractive spiral staircase to grab a table at Pearl's, the first floor restaurant / cocktail bar.
Cocktails are around the £8.50 mark (or 8 1/2 if you live in Hackney). I started with a Fiery Mare, a combination of gin, Kamm & Sons, cucumber, wasabi and lemon that shouldn't work but most definitely does! Taro's Bloody Ruby was an interesting smooth Negroni sour, and Lucy went for a boozy Charrington (Tequila, Scotch, Rum, almond syrup, bitters). Other highlights include Alfred's Porter (Cognac, Stout, Honey, Oyster Sauce) and the superbly named Seamore Drinkmore (Tequila, Campari, Passion Fruit, Lime, Honey).
|Cocktails at Pearl's, Cat & Mutton|
Then the food started arriving. Warning: The next picture is probably NSFW - food porn. We ordered some plates to share, starting with a show-stopping Burnt Broccoli with Yoghurt, Pickled Mustard Seeds & Almonds - make sure you get this. This was rivalled by the generous Onglet Steak with Chimichurri portion that easily (but sadly) stretched to 3. Licky Chops continued to hit the right notes with Jerk Chicken with Mango Coleslaw & French Fries with Garlic Aioli, and I would imagine that other dishes such as Octopus or Bucket of Mutton Chops maintain this high standard. This is food worth going out of your way for.
|Burnt Broccoli w/ Yoghurt, Pickled Mustard Seeds and Almonds|
|Onglet Steak with Chimichurri|
The new team behind Cat & Mutton have done a fantastic job putting this all together, especially as there has been a lot of build up and expectation in the press in the last few weeks. The locals have already set up shop, so expect it to be pretty busy when you visit!