Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Farringdon’s New Lounge Bar

By Leo Owen

“No matter where you are in London it takes at least half an hour to get anywhere,” a rule I recall being informed of when I first moved to the city and one that was proved incorrect for the first time this evening. Entering the postcode for Eastside Inn into Google Maps I am pleasantly surprised when I realise it's a mere 15 minute walk from my current abode and a direct one at that.

Virtually arriving as the celebrations kick off, I am amazed by how busy the venue is already. To the right of the main restaurant is the entrance to this new, more intimate, light and airy lounge bar – a long thin room heavy on the wood, mirrors and soft lighting all clad out in mulberry and black. Naturally gravitating to the bar, little sis and I begin with the house speciality cocktail, the Amelie. Unfortunately, there's only one “mixologist” (strangely reminiscent of a more adept Manuel), so the wait for drinks is noticeable, but then this is the launch night and he has his work cut out. I'm certain it wont be like this every night. Occupying myself, surveying the room, I am amused by the unnaturally high number of suited men clutching pretty coloured cocktails in martini glasses, some looking a tad self-conscious.

Never one blessed for my ability to sip a drink, my Bacardi, strawberry, cucumber, honey and Prosecco concoction has slyly slipped itself down my throat within minutes and I'm eager for the next. These things are delish! Upping the stakes seems like a good game plan, so to save hassling the chap behind the bar too often, we order two drinks each. A Butterfly Martini, Smokey Rose, Goa and Jungle Fever are among the deceptively strong culprits that later leave me wishing I'd stuck to one drinks order at a time; The arrival of a monstrously huge bottle of Rose, which is making the rounds, makes decisions about what to sip next even more tempting.

There are a few tasty but scarce canapés circling the room, and we sample soft goats cheese and rabbit on French toast, shredded pork croquettes, vegetable spring rolls and spinach cheese pockets. I begin to wish I could eat more of them as I sink lower into my comfortable window seat.

Eastside Inn’s new addition is aptly categorised a “lounge bar” (background music quietly discernible over the natter of chatter). As the minutes pass, I’ve certainly become a lounger and am pleased to stumble, grinning, into the cool air and begin the uncharacteristically brief journey home towards my bed.

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