Last night I celebrated my 19th birthday with some of my absolutely lovely London chums. It feels like just yesterday that I FINALLY turned 18, but now i'm over the hill... One step closer to being 19, The Sequel.
Like, a proper grown up.
To celebrate my birthday, I had initially planned to head to Ping! in Earls Court, but unfortunately it was full booked. Struggling to think of somewhere new and exciting to try, my lovely flatmate Harriet (of Rsplndnt and Discover and Escape) told me about this gorgeous little bar in The Heron Tower called The Drift Bar.
Harriet is turning 21 next week, and the lucky ducky is being treated to a celebratory meal at Duck and Waffle, also housed in The Heron Tower (nearest station: Liverpool Street). Anyway, while doing a touch of menu-research she spotted The Drift Bar and told me about their broad menu and, most importantly, their Skinny cocktails. As you can imagine, I was sold.
The restaurant is charming and relaxed with a constantly buzzing atmosphere, even on a bitterly chilly Tuesday night. It is full of slick City sorts and bright young things looking to have a good time without blowing the budget.
This contemporary but cosy place is a lovely refuge from this vicious January cold, and the perfect way to really indulge.
I am a stickler for a lovely, sweet cocktail, but i'm less fond of the inevitable calories. The Drift Bar, thankfully, offer a selection of lower-calorie cocktails ranging from the sweet but tangy Skinny Porn Star (my choice) to the Skinny Mojito. C'est magnifique!
The Princess Sparkles cocktail is a popular choice at the venue, and my reliable sources have informed me that it is, indeed, delicious.
Another little touch at The Drift Bar is that each table is scattered with little Oyster card holders- perfect for poor little souls who have lost their Oyster card holders (moi.) I scooped up a couple, but don't tell anyone... The card holders also include a little info about the Slim or Sin offer for this month which is just fab. For £10 you can go Slim with a skinny, no-carb burger with low-cal wine or you can be naughty and Sin with a hefty, hearty burger washed down with a bottle of beer.
The cocktails are pretty reasonably priced, cheap by London standards, but I must admit that I spent nearly as much on drinks as I did on food... So be careful! The delicious cocktails range from around £6.95 to £9.95, so great for relaxing at the weekend.
The service was great- efficient but not rushed- and our waiter was lovely and friendly which always makes the occasion that teensy bit more special. It's a great way to spend an evening as you have time to actually enjoy your meal, rather than having it thrust upon you only to be ushered out at 9.00PM.
(Wahaca, I love you, but please let me take off my jacket before delivering my churros and bill.)
The menu boasts a number of delightful smaller plates for sharing. From duck and hoisin pancakes through to crispy fried prawn lollipops and hearty, warming soup. I suggest you get three or four to share if there is a larger group of you.
I'm a total squid fanatic, so I was excited to try The Drift's offering, but was slightly disappointed. The crispy squid was tender and the dipping sauce nice and hot, but the squid itself lacked seasoning and spice. I am not sure i'd order it again. It's not in the London Squid Edit 2013 (coming your way soon... not really though.)
If you can't overindulge on your birthday, when can you eh? Though every detoxing bone in my body was urging me to plump for a naked salad, the duck and hoisin flatbread was calling me, and I think I made the right choice. It was really more of a pizza and i'd be lying if I said I ate it all... It was HUGE. Unless you are really hank marvin, I would suggest sharing a flatbread if you can- or perhaps ask to take it away in a doggy bag if you can muster up the courage to ask for one! It was fantastic value for money though at £9.95 and is the perfect comfort food in this weather. I'd been craving duck for a while and this meaty concoction with a sweet, sticky sauce was just the ticket.
They offer a number of main dishes, sharing boards, flatbreads, burgers and sandwiches so there really is something for everyone and I guarantee that you will NOT leave without a food baby. I was carrying twins.
The lovely Nicole (of Pink Flamingo Kisses) opted for a duck club sandwich (bitchez love duck) on fruit bread which she thoroughly enjoyed, though couldn't eat it quite as elegantly as she might have hoped.
The puddings are ridiculously naughty, but delicious all the same. At least the salted caramel and roasted plum sundae has no calories...
As it was my birthday treat, I was offered a complimentary brownie, which I had to pass on after, you know, eating a duck. I tried to swap it for a cheeky cocktail but that was not possible, sadly, so I bought myself another.
It's my birthday and i'll get drunk if I want to.
My favourite treat of the entire meal had to be this Skinny Rose Martini which was delectably sweet. It was strong, but syrupy and rosy, it tasted like a Laduree macaroon- absolutely beautiful!
I must admit that it did go to my head a little bit, but thank goodness for that as it provided me with the ultimate defence from the biting wind on the way home: the cosy coat of vodka.