Perfect for those who like to feel at home when they are out, like a naughtier version of teatime at Grandma’s. Teapots and china have never seemed so appealing!
Jack and I received an invite to head down to the prestigious Bourne & Hollingsworth and with little give away on their website, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Rathbone Street is just a short walk from Tottenham Court Road and is an area filled with bars and restaurants of all shapes and sizes, a very nice central area to head after work or post-Oxford Street shopping. The address of B&H on their site is Rathbone Place, but the entrance can actually be found on Rathbone Street. I walked past the place about six times before spotting it, what you are looking for is the side of a building and a small, metal staircase down to the bar.
As you walk in the door, you could be mistaken for accidentally ending up in someone’s living room – which I know is kind of the point. The floral wallpaper looks as though your Gran was their decorator and the mismatched furniture is cute and kitsch but slightly untidy looking. The bar, however, is far more comprehensive than I expected from first impressions, stocked to the ceiling with bottles of anything and everything you could think of, making me extremely jealous.
I have to say that although it was a little strange having a live DJ in such a small space, the taste in music was spot-on! Nice relaxed, jazzy tunes, perfect for unwinding at the end of a long day and not too interfering when you are trying to hold a conversation.
So, onto the cocktails….
B&H’s cocktail menu is pretty comprehensive. Laid out in a quirky fold-out menu, the 25-strong list is broken down into groups of five drinks. This isn’t somewhere where you’ll find your sex on the beaches or your pina coladas, this is a whole other level of mixology.
My first selection was The Gatsby, vodka, pomegranate syrup and raspberries, shaken then made into a long drink with champagne. Served up in a round fifties-style glass, it’s easy to see where this beverage got its name from. The drink was light and tasty, with a strong punch of flavour from the fruits. Being someone with a very sweet tooth, I found this a little dry but very tasty all the same.
Jack went for something a little different…
J: I picked The Junipear – quickly and easily sold on the idea of combining gin with blackberries and pear with a citrus twist. My impulsiveness was rewarded with immediate and delicious feelings in my mouth. I suppose in my mind I was wondering what kind of stuff they drunk in 1920’s tearooms, and how to evoke that bygone mood. Realising I had no idea whatsoever, I just opted for something that sounded good.
So yes, I really enjoyed mine – if I were a patriotic man I’d be proud of how palatable the English have managed to make gin as part of a more delicious whole (gin along with sambuca is probably the only thing I don’t dare drink straight). I’m pretty sure I enjoyed my ‘first course’ more than Bryony since The Junipear disappeared in about a quarter of the time that hers did. It wasn’t too sweet, either – considering my sweet tooth, which is a lot less uh…sweet than Bryony’s…
We then decided to go for one of the more unique offerings – teatime cocktails. Most of these are served up in individual teacups but we opted for the Colonial Iced Tea, served in a teapot for two. This is a gin-based cocktail, made with actual tea (mango & lychee flavoured) and coconut water. I can honestly say this is one of the most refreshing cocktails I’ve ever had. The mix of tea and coconut water was light, fresh and so delicately tasty. To complete the experience, the tea set that is delivered is not only a teapot of cocktail and teacups to serve in, you also get a glass full of fresh fruit chunks (chunks of orange, lemon, lime, raspberries and mint) to flavour your beverage to your liking. I had one cup where I added lots of citrus and another where I added mint (which I am usually not a fan of) and raspberry. You’ll not only enjoy the drink but also the processes of playing and creating your own perfect mix.
J: I echo everything that Bryony says above – the idea of giving you your own selection of fruits to combine with your cocktail is, like many great ideas, so obvious in hindsight. I tried a number of combinations involving lime and blueberries (all of which seemed to work quite well).
And the fact that it comes served up in ornate teacups makes it ever so slightly hilarious and ironic. A new but fine way to enjoy the cocktail drinking experience.
The Overall Experience
This place is great to head to for a few hours after work or post-shopping to de-stress, chat away and remember how unique London really can be. Don’t think I’d chose it as a place to spend a whole evening, but with plenty of other establishments in close range, you should definitely check this little gem out. Drinks range from £8 to £16.
28 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1JF
020 7636 8228
Open: Mon-Tues 5pm-1am / Wed-Sat 5pm-1:30am