Sunday, April 21, 2013

Drift by The Drift....

Just off London’s Liverpool Street, you’d be forgiven for drifting past this place without realising just what you’re missing out on…So thank goodness I’m here to tell you…!

Located in Heron Tower and overlooking a giant indoor aquarium which is said to be the biggest in Europe, The Drift won ‘Best Standalone Bar’ in the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2012 and is the latest creation from the people behind The Folly, The Refinery, The Anthologist and The Parlour.  

And what a beautiful creation it is…  Described as ‘An island of calm in the heart of the city’, the restaurant’s cool, calm, relaxing colour scene will have you instantly forgetting about the pressures of the day… Meanwhile the marble, mosaic tiles, kitsch comfy furnishings and fabulous high shelving adorned with treasure chests, shells and empty bottles, will definitely make you feel like you’ve been washed up on the shore of a tranquil utopia.

Now that’s not a reflection on the atmosphere…  Occupying both the bigger picnic style captain’s tables and the smaller round marble tables near to the bar, were a surprising cross section of clientele –girl friends drinking cocktails, couples enjoying an after work dinner, mixed groups taking advantage of the very reasonably priced steak night and city boys winding down after the stress of the day….  And that’s the great thing about this place, the menu offers something for everything.  In fact it’s one of those menus which will take your tastebuds on a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end while you decide which dish or drink to choose.

So, once you’ve taken in the fabulous décor, a delicious selection of nibbles, flatbreads and sharing boards, mains, salads, sides and deserts await... 

There’s also a very good selection of carefully thought out aperitifs, skinny cocktails for the calorie conscious, twisted classics and Bloody Mary’s to satisfy all manner of tastes and thirsts.  Choose your wine ‘by flight’ – a quirky breakdown of the glasses which offer ‘life beyond pinot grigio’ or ‘soft, buttery, mellow whites’, while there’s also a vast collection of bottles available (76 at the last count) and that doesn’t include their sparkling and champagne collection!

We selected a lively, fruity 2011 French Viognier which was reasonably priced at £23.95 and served by in a huge perfectly chilled glass by the very friendly and knowledgeable restaurant manager who was happy to chat through the wine lists and direct us to something we’d like.

Choosing food proved a huge dilemma – way too much choice!  Time consuming, but definitely not a negative!  In the end we opted for the aromatic shredded crispy duck which came with a pile of pancakes and the richest and most delicious hoisin sauce I’d ever tasted.

Having already perused the desert menu (and knowing full well that I’d not be able to refuse…), I decided on a salad for my main course – Californian hot smoked salmon with pine nuts, sun-blushed tomato and teriyaki dressing.   Again, the presentation was amazing and as far as salad’s go, I’d have to say this one was pretty special… The salmon cooked to perfection, the dressing just tangy enough, the sun-blushed tomatoes bursting with flavour.  My friend ordered the steak which she said was perfectly rare (as she’d requested) with sweet juicy tomatoes and those perfectly crispy home made chips served in a mini plant pot!  Needless to say, we both cleared our plates…

Desert, I’d have to say, was the highlight.  Our mini pudding shots at a very reasonable £7.95 we more than big enough to share and consisted of 3 pots – chocolate brownie, white choc and raspberry crème brulee, and knickerbocker glory.  For good measure, I also ordered a blackberry and apple crumble with creamy vanilla custard served in a super cute milk bottle.  Result!  Totally more-ish and if we’d had any room left whatsoever, we may have tried to fit some more in!

We rounded off the evening with two delicious cocktails while raving about how delicious our meal had been.  I opted for the Raspberry Daiquiri made with pamper especial rum, chartreuse and fresh raspberries.

I’ve read other reviews which suggest the service is slightly sloppy… I’d definitely have to disagree.  I found the service excellent, the atmosphere just right, the menu – vast, creative and experimental and the food – well, just perfect.  We seemed to be surrounded by happy customers too.

Although we ate on a week night when the restaurant was slightly quieter, there’s also a great after work vibe on a Friday night with a cool city crowd propping up the long marble bar.  And there’s also a more chilled out vibe at the bar downstairs with seating areas where you might want to indulge in a champagne or two.

Well worth a visit… drift by The drift, you won’t be disappointed.


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