On a recent trip to London, we arranged to meet up with a dear friend who works on the Bakerloo line so we figured it was a perfect opportunity to finally visit Marylebone cocktail bar, Purl London. In the past, it had always seemed a bit out of our way but we actually ended up walking there from Oxford Circus, wondering why we’d never visited before. We quickly discovered that even if it had been the trek we’d imagined, it would have been worth the effort.
If you’re interested in molecular mixology, you may have heard about Purl because of its reputation of having a magically experimental cocktail menu. And when you walk down the steps into this basement bar, you do feel like you’re entering a magic realm of sorts.
The decor is delightfully eclectic and as you walk through the bar there’s a feeling of exploring the enchanted home of a some hitherto estranged great aunt, with nooks and crannies, charmingly decorated and perfectly designed for intimate conversations. The lighting in this bar is just spot on; it gave everything a dreamlike quality… undoubtedly aided by the drinks.
We were lucky to be able to reserve a booth online at the last minute, albeit at 5pm for 90 minutes, and this gave us the perfect setting in which to enjoy our cocktails. After being directed to our seats, we were brought a small plate of cucumber sandwiches while we perused the menu (quaint!) . We had the great pleasure of being served by mixologist, Rémi Satony Bena, winner of UK Bartender Guild’s Young Bartender of the Year award in 2013, who was very helpful in walking us through what turned out to be a literally spectacular cocktail experience!
The drinks we chose were all expertly crafted; clearly borne from a mix of imagination and expertise. And when they were delivered, Remi and his colleague talked us through each one in detail and completed the serve before us, in many a magical fashion including the use of a bubble gun to finish off a Glass of Bubbles!
Our recommendations include:
The Culotte Givrée, which I understand to mean “frosty pants” (this may or may not be correct). A platter is brought to you with a flute containing Suze, Chambord and the house orange sparkling wine and a meringue nest, cradling warm wild berries. If you have a sweet tooth then you can not go wrong with this. The meringue and berries provide the perfect accompaniment to the drink.
The Fig-Frog, made with Absolut Elyx that has been ‘fat washed’ with foie gras, is a serious cocktail for serious people. Not to everyone’s taste, however we enjoyed the velvety texture and savoury flavour of the drink, matched with the accompanying apricot and rosemary jam.
The Cerez Joker, served in a coupe, this cocktail contains Jack Daniels No.7, Luxardo Sangue Morlacco, a cherry juice liqueur, and fresh lemon. This cocktail really was the coup de théatre of our visit. Not only for the ingeniously whimsical way of adding a maraschino twist by popping a balloon over it, but also for the layer of sour froth that coated the imbiber’s moustache!
Objectively, we know that there are people who might dismiss all this as superfluous pomp, but no, not us! We revelled in the theatre and would urge anyone who enjoys culinary arts to pay a visit to Purl.
We’d love to hear how you get on.
We would highly recommend reserving a booth in advance if you can; reservations can be made in blocks of up to two hours by clicking here.go back