Hell, it was a little chilly, but the one thing we learnt from being early birds at the brand new Jellied Eel pop-up is that you’ll be able to soak up the evening sun. Even when “it feels like” five degrees, according to your shivering Iphone. Brrrr.
So, wrapped up in the requisite four or five layers, we basked outside Strange Brew, on one of the four bierkeller benches – there’s seating for 28 – and pretended we were sipping a negroni in an uber-cool Scandinavian second city. After all, you have to take a holiday where you can these days.
Ah yes, those negronis (main picture, above): blood-red and potent as ever, this was our first one out in an Actual Licensed Establishment since early December. Which made its addictive bitter-sweet notes even more welcome. The other surprise was the Blood Orange Margarita, a must-try which pairs gold tequila with blood orange cointreau, campari, a little bit of marmalade and salt. Down in one. Nearly.
After two rounds, with no heaters (as yet), we ‘fess up: we gave in and scurried back home for a hot dinner and lashings of red wine.
But, as we left, it was cheering to see that every table was taken by hardier souls, and the atmosphere, with its gentle soundtrack, was brilliant. In fact, it almost felt like a new corner pub on Francis, underlined by the fact that the team also serve beers (bottled only) and wines, as well as mocktails: it’s not just about eye-watering libations.
Post-May 17th, says owner Paul, there’ll be seating inside Strange Brew, too, whose interior will, we think, easily mutate into a cosy, candle-lit speakeasy.
Oh, and if you’re hungry, order Francis Road Korean Street Food from Francis Road’s Zaxx (see our review here) straight to your table.
Jellied Eel at Strange Brew, every Weds-Sat from 5pm till 10pm, follow @jelliedeelbar, 179 Francis Road E10 6NQ