Having heard of the bar '&Co' underneath Central & Co just after Christmas, I was pleased to notice on Saturday that it is just opposite my friend's office and so would make the ideal place to go for a drink before having dinner. So we were a little disappointed when we walked in just before 6pm and the rope barring the downstairs bar was blocking the way. We enquired as to what time it opened and the girl upstairs was kind enough to go down and see if the bartender down there was ready to open up. He apparently was, and we went down and proceeded to have the whole place to ourselves almost up until we left to go eat. If we felt a little guilty about making Chris, the bartender get behind the bar when no one else was there, we felt even worse after he kindly explained the menu to us and the idea behind all the tasting notes and in the end all we did was order wine. (The original concept was to have only unbranded spirits, and you choose based on the tasting notes but this proved unpopular so they're gradually moving towards brands as per every other bar, which I think is a total shame.) We promised to come back and try something stronger later.
Our jerusalem artichoke and potato gratin rebluchon had a nice thin crunchy topping and a lovely firm texture with a cheesiness and creaminess that was just right - not too rich or overpowering. This came with the gurnard with capers, brown butter and braised cabbage that we'd ordered. Lemon provided a lovely zingy dressing to the dish.
& Co (again)
Central & Co is a stylish, spacious bar upstairs, but if you want someplace that is a bit more intimate and feels a little more exclusive then go to the smaller, darker '&Co' bar downstairs. And if you like the idea of being a little adventurous with your spirits, and having them served out of some beautiful decanters, then go quickly, before they have phased out this idiosyncracy.