You can’t really miss The Heron Tower, it’s massive and this is why I was happy to laugh in the face of directions from Mrs Boozer and take massive offence that she had brought a map. After fifteen minutes of looking aimlessly around Bishopsgate it dawned on us that we were walking in the wrong direction, a swift about turn and we finally arrived. It should be easy to find, you don’t need the map reading skills of a special forces officer, no, if anything, the struggle to find it speaks volumes about our sense of direction (think dead homing pigeon).
So, on with the important bits.
What drift bar says…
‘Escape to a bar & restaurant that wants you to stay, linger, explore & quite simply drift… a sanctuary in the heart of the city, the drift brims with quirky collectibles, hidden alcoves, a mixology table & fine dining nook, whilst offering delights such as a flambe menu, seasonal menu & innovative cocktails.
‘Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner & drinks, the drift can meet your needs any time of the day. quirky cocktails & a wide selection of wines sit alongside a carefully crafted seasonal menu, whilst music & a late license until the early hours on Thursday & Friday make the drift the perfect place to start & end the party.’
When Beautyking invited me for dinner at Drift Bar (all his real friends were busy) the first thing I did was peek at the online drinks menu, in particular cocktails. And not only did the cocktails look outstanding the menu quoted Alice in Wonderland “You’re entirely bonkers, but I tell you what….all the best people are.” And as everyone knows that the best people are most definitely the bonkers ones I couldn’t wait to get there.
First up was a Skinny Russian Rose Martini with Smirnoff Black vodka, leeches liqueur and ginger syrup, garnished with a rose petal. Not only did it look pretty with its flower, it also weirdly tasted pretty, sort of perfumed but in a nice way. As an added bonus you won’t be piling on the pounds as it’s listed as only containing 80 calories. What more reason do you need to have at least a few more?
Beautyking’s Mojito of choice was a mango one (he could have chosen mint classic, strawberry & lavender, passion fruit or kumquat). And from the sneaky bit that I drank whilst he wasn’t looking it was tangy with the fresh mint working well with the sweet mango. One to try at home for a summer BBQ, if I can eat enough jam to collect the jars to serve them in.
My Tiramisu Martini was listed as a pudding cocktail and I’m certain that I’ve never drunk a cocktail with mascarpone in it before. And I’ve drunk a lot of cocktails. I’m not sure you could taste it though, as the overwhelming flavour was of coffee and gingerbread. It was delicious though and worth the chocolate powder moustache that is every cappuccino drinker at work’s worst nightmare.
Beautyking’s pudding cocktail was a cranberry brulee (Tanqueray gin, cranberry sauce, egg white, sugar, lemon & a dash of danger) and almost looked too weird to drink. A tiny sieve was balanced in the drink with the egg white bit, leaving the cranberry cocktail underneath. I’m not sure what the dash of danger ingredient was though but it has an incredibly sweet taste and as someone who doesn‘t like Cranberries, Beautyking was adamant in between sips that this was a taste sensation.
The nicest thing for me was the unhurried service we received, while Mrs Boozer got slightly irritated by the wait I actually liked the five to ten minutes we were given to soak up the atmosphere, have a look around, do a spot of people watching and get an all around feel for the place.
The menu was impressive, I knew what I wanted weeks before I arrived. In fact, when approached and asked if we would like to go along the first thing I did was identify a meat dish that would knock years off my life (joke) it was so large and make up for the fact that I would be dining with a vegetarian (another joke). Step forward Reef & beef, but you’ll have to wait as the starters simply had me drooling.
I opted to start with Great British Bloody Mary mussels. First of all, the presentation, stunning, the aroma, out of this world, the taste, oh my god, it was like an orgy in my mouth (phrase probably copyright of Stewie Griffin from Family Guy). The mussels were cooked to perfection and almost melted in the mouth.
Rather than a fishy taste, the mussels blended with the thick rich tomato sauce to add an edge of bitterness that made this a match made in heaven.
The portion size was superb, not too much but just enough to take the edge off my grumbling stomach.
Mrs Boozer opted for roasted Portobello mushrooms and Taleggio cheese on bruschetta and with the speed with which they were demolished they must have been good!
So, onto meat overload, the Reef & Beef, half a lobster, and a 4oz steak with onion rings and a plant pot full of chipped potatoes. I shamed myself, I couldn’t finish it all, I was stuffed by the time I had finished this to the point where a) I couldn’t have a dessert, and b) had to force down my drinks. Satisfied would be an understatement at this point.
Once again, the presentation did nothing to let down the dishes, they looked amazing, I was provided with the right tools to attack the lobster (although I did fear that I would take out those at nearby tables with bits of lobster shrapnel once I started cracking the claw) and the steak was cooked to perfection and as I had ordered - medium rare.
Needless to say, the meat was tender, just hot enough and bloody in the middle. I broke out into the mental meat sweats in my head, and that is a sign that I’m really enjoying it. The lobster again melted in the mouth. When it first arrived I thought that it was tiny but looks can be deceptive, any larger and I would have had to have left it.
The onion rings were crispy, the batter light and fluffy. Normally onion rings can lack taste but not these, packed with onion I was hooked. Indeed, the chipped potatoes (chips to you and me) were also really tasty and I kept reaching for more until I physically couldn’t force any more down my throat.
Mrs Boozer went for an Halloumi & hummus burger with red pepper, roast mushroom & tomato chutney. Strangely enough this looked really nice. There was a huge, thick slice of halloumi and the aroma had even me feeling as I though I could wolf my way through it in seconds. Needless to say, she was satisfied with the burger and even managed to eat more chips than me (the plant pots conceal what appears to be a bottomless pit of chips).
With both of my dishes coming in at well under £30 in total and Mrs Boozer’s at £15 this really was great value for money.
The bars on both levels are wide and open, and it does have those little nooks with seats to get away from the crowds. I liked the interior, it was peaceful and the LED lights in the wall had me thinking my drinks had been spiked until I realised that they were slowly flashing!
I enjoyed what was a very civilised Tuesday night in the City. The bar was busy and I can imagine it gets packed on a Thursday and Friday. That said, it has that much space, two long bars and a great location. Combine this with the out of this world cocktails and lovely food and you do have an affordable bolt-hole to drink, eat or just be merry in the heart of the financial district.
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