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Monday 15 December 2014

Mast Brothers at Bulldog Edition - HotBox and 46 & Mercy - Ginstock 2014

A speedy, photo heavy round-up of recent excursions on the blog today, featuring Brooklyn-based chocolatiers at the Ace Hotel, BBQ & basement booze from HotBox London, and juniper japes at Ginstock 2014.

Wednesday 26th November - On a recent trip to New York, my friend Tim & I dropped in to the Mast Brothers chocolate factory in Williamsburg after getting a caffeine fix at Blue Bottle Coffee and a fantastic brunch at Egg (all highly recommended - stay tuned for a MTL vs NY special edition). Short story: Their chocolate is superb.

Fast forward a few months, and I hear the excellent news that the Mast Brothers are going to be residing in The Bulldog Edition café space in the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch until early next year.  The even better news - that this is just a precursor to them opening a London based factory & brew bar on Redchurch Street.  Win.

At The Bulldog Edition, alongside their chocolate bars (a classy stocking filler if ever there was one), they are serving up their special Brewed Chocolate beverages - not your average indulgent hot chocolate, rather a serious cocoa creation akin to a finely crafted coffee.  

"Made with freshly roasted, ground cocoa nibs steeped with water and served in hot or cold iterations, brewed chocolate is intensely fruity and complex, drawing direct connection back to the cacao plant."

They recently opened a Brew Bar in New York to showcase them, and will do the same here.  

You can also get yourself a Masthattan cocktail which makes use of the brewed chocolate along with the usual rye, maraschino & vermouth suspects.  

And don't leave without getting your hands on an incredible Mast Brothers doughnut, if there are any left that is.  Apparently they start appearing around 10.30am.  

For more info, check out coffee guru Chloe Callow's post on Mast Brothers here.

After one or two Masthattans and far too many pre-dinner doughnuts, Luke and I sped over to the launch of HotBox on Commercial Street.  HotBox is the latest street food sensation to settle down for good indoors, though I'm sure we'll still see them out and about occasionally.

"After smoking its way around the capital with residencies at Street Feast’s Dalston Yard, Hawker House and Battersea Power Station, as well as pop-ups at Wireless and Field Day festivals, HotBox is parking up its industrial smoker permanently in the heart of Spitalfields."

Upstairs you'll find all of the meaty goodness, including smoked chicken thighs, beef short rib, and house creations such as The Dirty Swine Sandwich (pulled pork collar, hot link sausages) and The Smoky Bandit (aged patty, smoked short rib, jalapeno, red pepper).  

Look out for specials such as Fish Glazed Pork Belly Masa Tacos, Slow Smoked Char Siu Pork Buns, and Hot Smoked Gravlax Salmon.  Sides include Smoked Mac'n'cheese, Ham Hock Pinto Beans and Grilled Elote. Finish off with Deep Fried Oreos or Molten Chilli Chocolate.

There's also a short cocktail list on this floor too, alongside a selection of draught, bottled & canned beers, and a strong whisky offering.

But that's not all.  Take a trip downstairs to find 46 & Mercy, a stylish basement bar from the Hotbox team.  I got distracted by the stunning menu designed by Arm & Eye for some time, and wasn't surprised to discover that they also worked on Hoxley & Porter in Islington.

Cocktails are more serious down here.  You'll find me drinking Stirred Mercy Brown (Scotch, Tea-infused Amaro, Sweet Vermouth, Oloroso Sherry), Blessed Thistle (Vodka, Pork-Fat & Thyme Washed Aromatised Wine, Lemon), and the outstanding Statler & Waldorf (Olmeca Atlos Blanco Tequila, Apple & Beetroot Shrub, Lime, Walnut Bitters).

A welcome addition to Spitalfields!


Saturday 30th November - Last but not least, a rather boozy week ended with the reliably messy Ginstock.  After problems with a whiny Hackney council led to postponing the summer event, the Tweat Up team took their time and relocated to a handy warehouse space just off Bermondsey Street, which they have now named Bermondsey Stores.

Bermondsey Stores - a new location for Tweat Up & Street Feast events

8 gins teamed up with 8 bars for a 5 hour long cocktail competition judged by several hundred thirsty juniper lovers:

Beefeater & Graphic
Boxer Gin & Mark's Bar
Butler's Gin & Loves Company
Dodd's Gin & The Lost Angel
Half Hitch & Cecil's
Langley's No. 8 & Barbecoa
Sipsmith & Soho Grind
Williams Chase & The Whip

The Whip brought a hot cocktail completed with a knob of butter carved from a salami style sausage. Soho Grind twisted the Negroni with three types of gin.  The Lost Angel got it horribly wrong with tea-infused honey cream.  Several played it a bit safe.  I'd tell you more, but it's all a bit hazy.  Just make sure you get tickets for next year; there's no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

At the end of the afternoon, Butler's Gin and the highly entertaining Loves Company team were crowned Ginstock 2014 champions with their East Side Fizz - Butler's Gin, Purple Passion potion, lemon juice & soda.

East Side Fizz - the winning cocktail from Loves Company & Butler's Gin

Lobster Mac'n'cheese from Bob's Lobster

Ella with the Loves Company boys
For more photos from Ginstock 2014, head to Matt The List : Facebook

Exclusive : Some high-ranking Tweat Up officers whispered to me that Bermondsey Stores is going to be a new hub for them in South London, with the site in their hands for at least five years. Who knows what exactly they would do with it - fingers crossed for a Green Street Smoked Meats / Fette Sau style experience.  They would aim to open it during the week as well, something that Street Feast fans have been longing for.

P.S. Hawker House will be returning to Broadway Market on Friday 30 January - great news.

Green Street Smoked Meats in Chicago

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