Eastside Inn cocktail bar and food

Jamon at Eastside Inn bar

Having been invited to the Eastside Inn for a cocktail and chat with restaurant co-creator Justine, I had images of leaning back Don Draper style, cocktail casually clutched in my hand, cooly dispensing anecdotes. I did not picture getting in an excited lather over seaweed infused Normandy butter and moaning ecstaticlly over some particularly fine jamon.

But that’s the Eastside Inn for you. I have talked – well, raved really – about it before. Twice. But this time I wasn’t stopping in for dinner. I was there to try out their newly-minted bar and maybe sample one or two of their bar snacks. Curious to see if they put as much into mixing drinks as they do into preparing food.

The room itself was laid back, simple rather than spectacular. There was no pumping music, no retro futuristic follies, no achingly hip minimal design. Thank goodness. This is a place to relax in, chat and nibble. The bar itself was a gentle timeless curve, with seats spread out along its length. As with the restaurant, the fireworks come with the snacks and cocktails.

Pork cube at Eastside Inn bar

First, those snacks. Put together with the same obvious passion for good ingredients as their restaurant food, they displayed the same light but highly skilled touch. Small cubes of deep fried pork turned out to be meaty dice loaded with flavour. A perfect combo of porcine cuts, they were moist, tasty, tender, and entirely ungreasy. I could have gobbled them by the handful.

Small triangular spinach and cheese parcels were perfectly seasoned and wonderfully crispy. If the same care and attention goes into their burger, Goodman’s and Hawksmoor may have a rival. Cant wait to test that out.

Margerita & Butterfly Martini at Eastside Inn bar

The cocktails were delicious too, and keenly priced for the area at about £8 a pop. The mojito and margerita were both suitably sweet/herby and citrussy/sour respectively. The brand new Butterfly martini was sweet and herby, the addition of elderflower and basil intriguing without overwhelming the carefully balanced flavour combo.

This was going well, and that was before the leg of jamon got wheeled around the bar. Conversations stopped and eyes stared with admiration and gluttinous desire at the deep red marbled meat. Slender slices were doled out to those who wanted them, and a plate, finished with some lightly pickled garlic. These were heavenly, intense mouthfuls, flavour not so much bursting as slowly oozing out as you chew them. Layer upon layer of intense porkiness building up. Divine.

Mojito & Old Fashion at Eastside Inn bar

Then there was my Don Draper cocktail. An Old Fashion, a mix of bourbon with a whole bunch of other stuff (I’m no cocktail expert), it was fabulous. A lot of places make their whisky cocktails too sour. Not here. The deep sweetness of the bourbon was brought out and beautifully balanced. I’m coming back for a couple these as soon as I can.

Butters at Eastside Inn

And the butters. The I-can’t-believe-they’re-actually-butter butters. By this point in the evening, my brain was almost frazzled and overloaded with unexpected post work foodie delights, and a couple of cocktails. But my word, the butters. I’m still tasting them.

Made by a small producer in Normandy these butters were smoked, salted, infused with seaweed, red pepper and yuzu. It was all I could do not to lick the plate clean. My faviourites were probably the smoked (perfect for spreading on some sour dough bread) and seaweed (pungently, saltily intense – it’d be perfect to finish off a fishy sauce). But the most impactful was definitely the yuzu. It was so very very citrussy, it almost burned, in a pleasent way, as you ate it.

Overall, a most unexpected evening, and one i hope to repeat soon. There is a duck egg on a large mushroom, those pork dice and of course the burger still to try out. And the Old Fashion… Maybe i should get me a slim line suit and skinny tie just really put me in the right mood.

12 Responses to “Eastside Inn cocktail bar and food”

  1. Tom

    Now you are just making a concerted effort to make me homesick. EInn does seem as though it is getting more and more special.

  2. Vic

    That leg of jamon is exquisite. It is the high point in their sourcing of the best produce. I tried it in the restaurant earlier this week and can’t remember tasting something so comforting, sweet and mellow, with such intense depth of flavour and long finish. I wanted shavings of it on top of everything. Better than truffles! Like you, I’m itching to go back to try the burger, but their summer restaurant menu also has 2 tempting new dishes – pork cheeks and duck with peaches!

  3. Willem van der Horst

    Nice post! If you like an Old Fashioned, I’d recommend trying out the Man after Midnght cocktail next time you go – it’s really good! And the burger is excellent (Sure, I’d say that – but it is). Leaves you full but really wanting some more ;)

  4. Lizzie

    Phwoar. It all looks lovely. Eastside Inn has never been on my list but it will be after catching sight of all that.

  5. Mr Noodles

    Those butters were superb – the seaweed one was my fave with the yuzu, a close second. Thanks again for extending the invite to me.

  6. Justine van der Horst

    Hi Grubworm, thank you so much for not only coming in and joining me for some cocktails and nibbles but for taking the time to write such a nice article and taking beautiful photos. You are always welcome and are now considered part of the ESI family. Hope to see you very soon! Justine x

  7. The Grubworm

    @Thursday – it was, and those butters, my goodness me, they were good! Still tasting the seaweed one (in a good way)

    @Tom – it’s a conspiracy to get you back… ;-) I’m getting envious of all that dimsum and noodles

    @Vic – it was sublime, and i love the way it was just wheeled round and doled out to those who wanted some

    @Willem – thanks! Good to know about the Man after Midnight, I’ll be sure to have one with a burger when i’m back

    @Lizzie – Phwoar – yes! That was my reaction. I haven’t even talked about the English veal chop i had last time i was in there for dinner… Phwoar covers it nicely though. Please do go, it is good.

    @Mr Noodles – no worries, it was fun. We’ll just have to do a butter and cocktail night again… ;-)

    @Maninas – thanks! It tasted even better!

    @Justine – thank you for wonderful evening! It was fun just having a natter over a cocktail. I’ll be back in for the burger on my return and I’ll tell you all about my rather exciting August – it’s going magically so far :-)

  8. tim

    lol it’s an old fashionED. and i dont think any place would be able to make an old fashioned that was sour?? it never involves any sour ingredient, usually the problem is they’re too sweet

    but anyway…. drinks definitely look good

  9. Greedy Diva

    You MUST try their burger too (on the bar menu). It’s incredible. I’ve recently reviewed it on my blog but so blinkered was I that when I had some comments asking me about the rest of the bar menu, I’ve turned them your way! Hope the honeymoon is going well! (jealous, me??)

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