07 Dec 214 Bermondsey
After a long walk from London Bridge station (well, it was a long walk when you have been sent in three different directions!) I had finally arrived.
There was hardly a soul on Bermondsey Street on this dark November afternoon when I stepped in to the Antico Italian restaurant. That’s because they were all inside. It was brimming with people and the air was vibrant with the busy hum of commuters, hipsters and students.
I was greeted by a tall Amazonian woman who showed me down stairs to the 214 Bermondsey Gin & Cocktail Bar. A steep stairwell that leads down to the right is ok at the start of the evening, but, at my tender age, I wouldn’t like to tackle that after a few rounds without said Amazonian as a guide!
The low-lit bar area is dotted with low wooden tables and stools and is surrounded by studded leather benches which give it a cosy intimate feel.
Obviously the sip of the day is Gin.
And, at 214 Bermondsey, you can get a taste for a great list of local niche distilleries. In fact, you get a ‘Tour of London’.
The Tour consists of three local, but distinctly different, London Gins that are served up in three chilled tall glasses on a wooden plinth. With this you are served an envelope and the establishments own artisan tonic water – BTW. (see our ‘Ginterviews’ section for more on this)
Printed on the envelope is:
Tour of London (not to be opened until after tasting)
Moonshine Kid Dog’s Nose (W1)
Light & aromatic, 2 American beer hops dominate the finish.
ELLC Dry (Bow)
Big & creamy on the front, with soft citrus giving way to dry spices on the finish.
Little Bird (Peckham)
Juniper up front, zesty orange & grapefruit finish.
The idea is that you take your time, taste, re-taste and put in order on the front of the envelope which one you think is which. I used the common numerical order of 1, 2, 3.
After tasting the neat Gin, it is advised to then pour the BTW and re-taste them all with tonic to see if your choices change.
Once you think you have nailed it, you then prize open the envelope to reveal what an utter waste of time your tongue is! No, I actually did get the hop aromas of the Dog’s Nose but the other two were mixed up.
The folded card inside then gives you the full tasting notes and the twitter contacts of each, which is nice. The only slight confusion was that on the front of the envelope the Dog’s Nose was stated as W1 and on the card it was Bethnal Green? Just goes to show that you can’t keep a good dog down.