Who better to sample ‘Man Up!’ cocktails than, well, a man? Guest Reporter Will Brown reviews Anise Cocktail Bar & Lounge…
I visited the Cinnamon Kitchen’s Anise bar on a depressing Monday evening in the coldest March for 50 years, suffering with a hefty dose of man flu for good measure. Luckily for me, the selection of creative, spice-infused cocktails and delicious Indian bar snacks on offer turned out to be the perfect antidote for my self-pity.
I first opened the drinks menu, appropriately, to their list of ‘MAN-UP!’ cocktails. Deciding to try something a little different, or perhaps out of a sense of morbid curiosity, I opted for the Chilli Chocolate Manhattan, topped off with a chilli cherry…with some chilli rice crackers to nibble on alongside. Needless to say if you’re a lover of all things chilli you will be spoilt for choice at Anise. Far from the fiery confusion my taste buds were prepped for, it was a surprisingly tasty combination that perked me up immediately. As one cocktail led to another, we were treated to yet more creative concoctions – a ‘Mocha 99’, with tequila, espresso and chocolate bitters; ‘Ghandi’s Gimlet’, with gin, lime and a touch of lychee; and an Almond and Pistachio Sour which was – if this isn’t too enthusiastic a way to describe a drink – incredible. And outside of their cocktail selection, I was pleased to see a decent variety of beers and wines to choose from, including London’s own Meantime Stout and Lager – a drink ironically difficult to find in the pubs of its birthplace of Greenwich.
Alongside our drinks, we were able to sample several of the bar snacks on offer. In fact, to call them bar snacks would be doing them a massive injustice – with the lofty reputation of their sister-restaurant to live up to, the food selection at Anise didn’t disappoint. A variety of both meat and vegetarian dishes, from melt-in-your-mouth stir fried pork, to spiced lentil fritters, each complemented the cocktails beautifully. My favourite plate of the evening would have to be the Chilli Paneer – Indian cheese, battered and tossed in a chilli and garlic sauce. Sure, too many of these would be a fail-safe way to a heart attack, but oh what a delicious way to die.
Anise is certainly a breath of fresh air from the stuffy, uptight pretension that typically characterises most London cocktail bars; it’s unafraid to indulge the taste buds, take cocktail making a little less seriously and have a fun with its menu. What’s wrong with an adult beverage that’s bright turquoise? Why can’t you mix tequila with chocolate, and coffee, and cardamom? And who says you can’t top a cocktail off with a big dollop of whipped cream? You only live once, said someone, once. This is a bar I will definitely be returning to. And if they could just trade their background muzak for something that better reflected their menu then this is definitely somewhere I would regularly choose to wind down after a gruelling day at the office.
Will @ FashionBite xxSign-Up To FashionBite’s Weekly News