The launch of The Manhattan Project‘s residency at POND Dalston saw a dream team of tasty and crafty cocktails matched with Hawaiian food.Â The weirder the better.
The Manhattan Project’s odd twist on retro cocktails -Â all consisting of four main ingredientsÂ focusing on the season – is the brain child ofÂ Felix Cohen, who thought up the projectÂ in theÂ basement of Broadway Market’sÂ Off Broadway.Â Whatever drinkÂ you pick, you know it’s going to be weird and delicious. I couldn’t resist the OrgasmÂ #2 (Â£8), a blend ofÂ St George coffee liqueur and Jim Beam Devilâ€™s Cut, topped with condensed milk foam: jumping on the return of the dessert cocktail trend, this drinkÂ will help you enjoy the taste of coffee without keeping you awake at night.Â
Born in a rainy summer launch night,Â the Boozy Hot RibenaÂ (in the dark glass, Â£8) was my second choice and a stroke of genius.Â Hot ribena mixed with gin and St. Germain liqueur is just set to keep you warm with enough of a twist to get you going.
However, the best cocktails of the night were The Manhattan Project’s twist on the classic Negroni: the picky Italian in me was won over by The Flight, Â a selection of “boozy sliders”, cocktails in small servings.
I would have never made it home without having tried the special and tasty food by POND, the Hawaiian restaurant and bar where the event was held. Encompassing Asian cooking techniques taken from immigrants from the Pacific, the food at this fusion restaurant makes up for the confused service on a Thursday night.
At POND you can choose between full-on meals and tapas-like small plates. We went for a starter of Hurricane Popcorn (Â£1.50) – with spicy and salted Wasabi peas – and Spam Fries (Â£4.50), spam coated in dried shrimp served with yuzu mayo.
We moved on to a selection of small plates. The Beef Poke (Â£11, pronouncedÂ /poÊŠËˆkeÉª/), a raw saladÂ made with handcut beef tartare, shiitake mushrooms, egg, sesame and crisped rice paper, was the perfect level of spicy;Â the Poke Pines (Â£12.5), another raw salad ofÂ ahiâ€™ tuna and salmon with mixed tobiko (fish roe for you and me), Thai basil oil and coconut lime was similar to a refreshing, satisfying ceviche; and last but not least, the spicy salmon maki roll (Â£3.5) was everything you expect from good sushi.
Nothing’s as heart-warming as this dream team: go try The Manhattan Project’s cocktails and match them with POND’s food. You might wait a while – but it’s worth the wait.
Pictures by: The Manhattan Project, Kapranos PR, POND Dalston, Carolina Are