Tuesday, March 06, 2007


A plaster cast lion greeted us at the entrance. Two ceramic vases propped up the ceiling in the hall and a hippo's head started at us, open mouthed, from an inside wall. We were entering Loungelover, the bar owned by eccentric decorators behind Three Garcons (fully booked, alas, but we will try again) around the corner and Annex near Oxford Street. This is the kind of place where you don't need to worry about making conversation as any pauses can be spent staring awestruck at the decor. Immaculately made up waitresses handed us hefty leather-bound tomes filled with a bewildering array of cocktail descriptions (£8-10).

Famished we ordered everything from the short tapas-style bar menu (skipping only the £55 sevruga caviar - may be next time!). It turned out to be a variably, beautifully presented feast. A jar of juicy red fish roe, served on a bed of ice, with a jug of sour cream and encircled by cute little blinis was well worth the £18 price tag. The tender smoked salmon came with yet more blini. The cheese and meet platters were generous and varied (I particularly loved the salami with a hint of truffle), served with warm mini-baguettes. There were also two large chunks of pate, a nicely flavoured croque monsieur (though admittedly done more in the Belgian cheese toastie style than the French way), dinky crostinis with various toppings and lashings of salad, olives and sun-dried tomatoes to garnish it all. In my first cocktail, the mix of basil, lemon juice, limoncello and prosecco was sharp and unusual, but delicious. My second choice though accidentally contained whisky (which I don't like). For the feast, and two rounds of drinks for four people, the bill came to under £140. Not cheap, sure, but given the opulence of the decor and the menu it's a pretty good deal. I'd choose for a glamorous treat or somewhere to take to show off in for visitors.

Loungelove, 1 Whitby Street, E2 7DP, www.loungelover.co.uk; Tube: Shoreditch (when it reopens, otherwise bus, walk or taxi)

1 comment:

EdibleLondon said...

UPDATE We went back for their Sunday sessions, a first Sunday of the month extravaganza of soul/R&B bands. (It's free before 7pm and a fiver after that, though as the music doesn't start until 8-8.30ish the extra drinks spending will more than negate the entrance fee if you arrive early.) For the evening, they pared back their drinks list to half a dozen cocktails, and a few wines with only one of each colour available by the glass. The pont noir cocktail with cognac and port looked stunning, though was a bit too potent for my tastes. The red wine was delicious, as you'd expected for £8 a pop. The food menu has changed since our last visit, and is now all Japanese, with small tapas like plates of sushi and the like in the £4.50-7.50 range. We'd already eaten but our neighbours' king prawns looked and smelt stunning.