Monday, August 19, 2013

Ruby's, 8th August

As I was saying to my friends, when I go to a new cocktail bar, I rarely have the same cocktail twice - I want to try as many different ones as possible, and invariably whoever I'm with tries different ones to me as well so we try a full range. So it says something about how much I liked the chilli apple martini that, once I'd had it for my first 'round' I decided to end with it too. And so did my boyfriend.

If Ruby's was a piece of furniture, it would be described as 'distressed'. But you get the feeling that, unlike with designer furniture, no process or procedure has been applied to Ruby's to create this look - this is just how it is. There's attention to detail (take a trip to the bathroom to see that no space has been left forgotten) but there's no pretension to the place. 

I see Ruby's described frequently as East London's best secret and worried that this wasn't so. We went at about 9:30 on a Thursday night and my fear was that it would be packed (you couldn't make bookings after nine). We could hear a little hubbub as we went down the stairs but - hallelujah - there were plenty of tables free. It got busier as the night wore on but it was by no means heaving. It had enough people to create an atmosphere but few enough that the waitress wasn't overwhelmed and came back at about the right frequency to get us drinks when we wanted them.

We ended up having three drinks apiece in there before closing time. They're very reasonably priced for a cocktail bar. Mostly around £9. Like I said, I had the chilli apple martini to start, which was garnished with a chilli on the side. Just hanging there I couldn't resist but to take a bite - I figured they wouldn't use a chilli TOO hot for a garnish. I was wrong. One tiny bite from the end was all I could really take, though I did use it to stir my martini which imparted some extra heat.

It was such a good creation - you could definitely taste the vanilla which of course gave the cocktail a sweet flavour but the bite of the chilli tempered this so that it didn't feel like a 'dessert' cocktail. And the apple taste was the main flavour.

Stephen had a morello julep because he likes cherries so much, but as with most juleps it mostly tasted of alcohol with the cherry flavour just lending it enough sweetness to take off the roughness of the bourbon. The pepper sprinkled on top was a nice touch when you got some of the ice on which it had settled. 

I think I had the apricot cooler for my second drink, and it was nice but I can't remember much about it. This isn't to say this was a bad drink, I know it wasn't - I would have remembered it vividly if it had been, but it was eclipsed by, you guessed it, that martini. Stephen had the rhubarb sour which sort of suffered the same fate.

The cocktail list is relatively short, which I liked as it made choosing much easier. I can see myself making a beeline for this place in the cold winter nights, to bask in its cosy dim where I can happily work my way through the cocktail list developing a 'beer coat' especially in the winter when its cosy intimate aura will be like a warm blanket. 

Square Meal

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