Kombucha, either you’re totally fer-mental about the stuff, or you’re reading it back and wondering if it’s a Japanese sex thing. Kombucha is the terribly fashionable fermented drink that’s apparently great for gut health, as well as being mildly pleasant to drink. Made from sweetened tea, fermented with a culture called ‘scoby’ (scoby stands for ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts’ – we didn’t have a scooby what scoby was either) the bacteria (yum) and yeasts yeasts turn the sugar into ethanol and acetic acid, which gives kombucha it’s rather specific sour taste. It’s also non-alcoholic, so double the health boost.
Clearly that’s all rather delightful, so where can you get your taste buds around the stuff? Here’s some suggestions…
It’s one of our favourite haunts, the dark and mysterious surroundings of Hakkasan, luxurious and reassuringly uncheap. But if you head over to the electric blue bar then you’ll discover a cocktail menu including The Orchard List. The list includes Dry Dragon, Buckinghamshire real Kombucha, a gently sparkling fermented tea.
Where: 17 Bruton St, Mayfair, W1J 6QB
Jarr Kombucha Bar
Pretty much the home of kombucha, Jarr is the place to come for kombucha done proper. They make their own kombucha and supply the sour nectar to stockists throughout the capital, but if you want to head to kombucha ground-zero then make your way to the Hackney tap room and experience it for yourself.
Where: 8a, Queen's Yard, Hackney Wick, London E9 5EN
As well as having some of our favourite taxidermy in London (it’s a stuffed antelope covered in peacock feathers), Waeska in Fitzrovia’s Mandrake Hotel is notable for its kombucha cocktail, called Hops. The alcohol-free cocktail contains hops, combined with kombucha, fermented and effervescent tea, infused with Darjeeling tea and completed with rhubarb and red fruits cordial and topped with a garnish of dehydrated strips of pink rhubarb.
Where: 20-21 Newman Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 1PG
They must be high on something at High Mood Food Kombucha Bar because they’re obsessed with the ‘five Ks’, which they list as Kefir, Kimchi, Kombucha, Kraut and Kamut Soughdough. And this ethos forms the basis of their shop and bar and their kombucha is some of the best around.
Where: 16 Horner Square, Spitalfields, E1 6EW
We love the smooth grey and black palette of Farmer J, not to mention the ‘forkin’ good food ‘ (thanks guys, loving the punnage) but we also adore their kombucha, which they brew themselves. The cucumber kombucha is infused with mint and lemon and so it’s refreshing as well as healthy.
Where: 107 Leadenhall Street, EC3A 4AA
Bethnal Green’s just got a new joint, a 50s and 60s West Coast American style bar and kitchen called the Fugitive Motel. The cool new opening not only maxes out on the craft beers, but also features kombucha on tap. You couldn’t get more hipster, or on-trend.
Where: 199 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green Gardens, Bethnal Green, E2 0EL