Hola – this is meemalee – the third and I think the last person to hijack the lovely Grubworm’s blog as he swans around the land of the rising sun. Honeymoon indeed. Pah.
I agreed to do this as I thought I’d be festering in an office somewhere, but in actual fact I am also on holiday in the US of A right this minute, merrily neglecting my own blog, so I hope the Grubworm is grateful.
Incidentally, I don’t normally use WordPress (apart from on the Haiku Review which I update but rarely) which will explain countless formatting errors (I expect) although won’t excuse the content of this post – so apologies in advance.
So a little while back I was hearing some buzz about a new cocktail joint in Marylebone called PURL. Yes, it sounds more like one of those underground knitting clubs, but it turns out the place is fashioned after a Prohibition era American speakeasy.
In fact the reason it’s called PURL is as follows (according to Tristan Stephenson, one of the founders):
“The name Purl comes from a 19th century beverage that was commonly sold on the streets of London. The drink consists of warm ale, gin and spices. It’s in keeping with our theme of late 19th century birth of cocktails along with pre-prohibition cocktail culture and the art deco period… plus Purl is a nice word (it’s also the sound that water makes when it flows over rocks).”
Um, okay then.
The drinks they have on offer sound pretty wacky but in a good way, so I decided to rally up a group of ladies to try their wares.
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I have this slight compulsion to organise people.
It’s probably masochism, but I feel much better if I’m the one sending out the emails sorting out times, dates and venues for get-togethers.
So originally, there were maybe 18 ladies of Twitter coming along and then, rather typically, they dropped out one by one until there were only six – me, @Catalan_Cooking, @BribedwithFood, @KaveyF, @JudyJooIronChef, and @BeccaRothwell.
Thus our depleted band met one balmy evening on Blandford Street. We went down some stairs to a dark and cosy den and then sat in what looked like a small bunker (and definitely smelled like wet concrete) and began to peruse the exceedingly cool looking menu.
We figured we should sweep the whole menu and order pretty much everything, but then it turned out we all wanted the same drinks. In the end though we tried the following:
Myrtle Bank Punch – “Pampero Anniversario, Fresh Lime, Grenadine and a Maraschino Float” – maybe my favourite – understated with a sweet zing.
Little Moscow – “Smirnoff Black, Fresh Lime, Bitters and Fentiman Ginger Beer” – Another winner – refreshing and a little punchy.
Champagne and Caviar – “Tiny Balls of Homemade Mango and Pine Caviar bouncing around a glass of Veuve Clicquot Brut” – Wasn’t impressed by this one. The balls had next to no flavour so it was just like drinking champagne with irritating bits in it. There was also a random strip of orange peel.
Backwards Bellini – “Lavendar Bitters infused sugar cube, topped with Prosecco and finished with a Pomegranite [sic] foam” – Aside from the massively fun, wobbly, souffle-like top, this was just WRONG – like drinking essence of drawer-liner.
And last but not least:
Mr Hyde’s Fixer Upper – “A devilish elixir of Ron Zacapa 23, Cola reduction and Orange Bitters, served in a smoke injected Wax sealed Potion Bottle”
Never in all my days have a witnessed a more ludicrous drink. We had two – one with more sugar than the other and the sweetened one was definitely better. The smokiness was appreciated by me – not so much by some of the others.
by Hamish Jordan from Tristan Stephenson’s flickr
Would we come back? Probably – the prices are reasonable for cocktails (average £8) and the atmosphere is definitely fun.
More to the point, we need to try the rest of the menu.
50-54 Blandford St
London W1U 7HX