Even though I had received a voucher for two free Gin turbos from Gin Time, my schedule was a tad busy and I couldn’t get over in time. I let Sian from Domestic Sluttery have a visit on my behalf, and you can see her review on Qype.
One of the first things I wrote about, since YetAnotherGin had a rework was about Purl opening after reading Tristans Wild Drink blog.
That was all great, yet I was disappointed in myself as i hadn’t managed to pay a visit to this hotly tipped bar. That has been rectified, and the brief review I gave that evening simply said ‘Snug, ace atmosphere, top notch drinks and theatrics.‘
The venue itself feels cosy, when you walk in you might just assume it’s a tiny bar, with just two seats at the bar and a few comfy chairs. Yet go explore and you’ll find hidden away snugs, a piano, old curiosities and posters and bookshelf wallpaper.
The place was quite busy for a Monday night, at 10PM, and I did have to find myself a menu from the bar. Though on sitting down and reviewing the cocktail choices I spotted what has set this bar apart from many others. Quite simply it’s the drinks, the cocktail menu lists around 12 drinks including ‘normal’ drinks like the Negroni to a Hemingway Daiquiri. Then you get concoctions like the Street Urchin, and the Mr Hyde’s Fixer Upper which are more unique offerings that you certainly won’t find elsewhere.
I wanted something, nice and simple so after spotting the block of ice behind the bar it meant that a Negroni was needed, (made with Aperol, Tanqueray 10 and Antica Formula), along with a hand chipped piece of that ice to chill it down.
When I was sat in the snug I noticed that there were quite a few ‘lost’ looking people, aiming for a seat, then rebounding to the bar to pick up a menu. There was a waitress on duty, but at times service was slow, and when my drink was finished there was not an attempt to offer me a menu, or ask if I wanted a new drink.
So I headed to the bar, I settled up my the bill (£9) and went to leave. Except, I didn’t make it too far, about 10 paces out of the entrance and then I headed straight back in. After all there were more interesting drinks to give a go, on my return I was lucky to get a seat at the bar (there are only two).
Throughout the evening I had spotted people with smoking, and puffing drinks. I’d heard that the Mr Hyde’s Fixer Upper was worth a tipple, and seeing it made was rather impressive. A base of Rum (Zacapa), cola reduction and orange bitters in a bottle that has been smoked filled (with a hand smoker) and then sealed with wax and placed in a metal cooler filled with dry ice. It’s then you start to realise that this is not ordinary bar, after all the KeteLN2 is a liquid nitrogen martini, that is measured with a thermometer and stirred till they are -50C. Also when looking across the bar I saw their bitters globe, full with bitter bottles, including a Campari cordial. All this adds up to the fact that this is not your normal bar for sure. I am glad that they are trying to stretch the normal definition of what a cocktail is, and how it should be presented.
When looking back even with the slow service to start, I came to really like this place. It’s snug, perfect for a date, and something a bit off piste compared to a normal bar. This will be a cocktail bar that has an evolving menu, with items you just will not find anywhere else. Head down there now, before everyone finds out about them!
If you want to see what else they are upto, they have just got some well deserved coverage in the Metro which includes the recipes to ‘Champagne & Caviar’, ‘Fizzy Cosmopops’, ‘GT Turbo’ and the ‘Street Urchin’. As well as covering the topic of bitters, including bobs bitters, and the fact that Tristan wants to recreate the flavour of Purl (an old drink) in bitters form.
Location: 50/54 Blandford Street, Marylebone, London
Website: Purl London
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