This week wasÂ all about press launches: between the slick press preview of Cocktails In The City at the Hoxton Hotel and Native’s launch night, here’s why you shouldn’t miss either.
Following the huge success of its Summer Edition, the team behind London’s most excitingÂ festival of cocktails will host Cocktails In The City 2016 from March 10th to the 12th atÂ One Mayfair.
If the March event is anything like its press launch last Wednesday, I’m buying tickets. Loads of them. Just for myself. On Wednesday guests of the event, set inÂ Shoreditch’s Hoxton Hotel, took part in various cocktail focus groups, trying spirits first-hand and learning the story behind each drink.
TheÂ never-ending drinks are not what’s cool about Cocktails In The City. It’s the line-up includingÂ some of my favourite bars in London and their bespoke creations in a stunning venue that makes it special. Bars taking part in Cocktails in the City 2016 include:
- Cahoots and Fentimans & Martin Millerâ€™s Gin
- Looking Glass Cocktail Club & their incredible Panettone Liqueur, a take on Makerâ€™s Mark whisky
- Reverend JW Simpson & Sauvelle Vodka
- Coq Dâ€™Argent & Diaego Reserve
- Dishoom & Lanique
- Oxo Tower & Patron Tequila
Produced by party specialistsÂ Bourne & Hollingsworth Group, you just know Cocktails In The City is going to be great. Located in one of Londonâ€™s most breath-taking venues,Â the eventÂ will alsoÂ feature international bars, including Parisâ€™s Little Red Door and Door 74 from Amsterdam. InÂ addition to the bars, there will be a long feasting table in the Great Hall, delivering creativeÂ dining at its finest and serving up a delicious cocktail-inspired menu.
Cocktails In The City
(Thursday 10th, Friday 11th and Saturday 12th March,Â From 6 â€“ 11pm)
13A N Audley Street
Tickets are Â£15 and include one cocktail, multiple complimentary experiences and cocktailÂ booklet.
Another addition to the already gorgeous Nealâ€™s Yard in Covent Garden, Native is a new restaurant specialisingÂ inÂ game, wild food and rare breeds.
Judging from the packed press night and from the sentiment of everyone at the restaurant, Native is going to be a success. Offering food you just don’t see anywhere else in London, Native’s menu is healthy without being boring and itÂ has that educational hook every foodie will love.
This just-opened, minimal yet classic restaurant is the creation ofÂ Imogen Davis and Chef-Patron Ivan Tisdall-Downes. The pair, both experts in the art of foraging wild food, met at university and ranÂ supper clubs before launching Native.
Native aims to change the public’s perception ofÂ game meat using innovative techniques, bold flavours and taking inspiration from street food. Native makes game,Â rare-breed meats and wild food more accessible in both approach and price.
The lunch and dinner menus will change every seasonÂ and will feature twists on familiar dishes,Â such as their signature wood pigeon kebab and southern fried rabbit, alongside foraged andÂ vegetarian dishes.
The afore-mentioned wood pigeon kebab is probably the most interesting dish on the menu, but I loved trying the venison fritters with rhubarb ketchup and their grilled carrots.
With starters and desserts from Â£5 and mains from Â£11, examples from the menu include:
â€¢ Braised Chicory, Walnut, Buttermilk
â€¢ Raw Sussex Venison, Treacle Cured Pheasant Egg, Hayonnaise
â€¢ Charred Cauli, Rye Bay Scallop, Tentsuyu Broth, Pennywort
â€¢ Confit Trout, Wood Ear Speltotto, Bone Marrow
â€¢ Pigeon, Liquorice Ash, Artichoke Puree, Pickled Turnips
â€¢ Pickled Pear, Winter Cress, Lord of the Hundreds
The drinks menu highlights British wines, beers and ciders as well as a regularly changing seasonalÂ cocktail.Â I tried two bottles of the lovely Wild Beer, the foraged fruits basedÂ RedwoodÂ and the Belgian-AmericanÂ Epic SaisonÂ wheat beer.
With a capacity of 30, Nativeâ€™s style is simple and clean cut. The rustic and raw dÃ©cor is set over two floors, with theÂ ground floor featuring counter seating surrounding an open plan kitchen where guests can interact with chefs. Window-high tables looking out onto bustling Nealâ€™s Yard. andÂ aÂ basement dining areaÂ withÂ wooden tablesÂ make Native both the perfect place for a snack and a great pre-theatre restaurant option.
3 Nealâ€™s Yard
Pictures by: Bourne & Hollingsworth, Carolina Are, Native