Recently opened in Gerrard Street in the heart of Chinatown is the eagerly anticipated London outpost of that Parisian nu-classic, The Experimental Cocktail Club. Founders, Romée de Goriainoff, Olivier Bon and Pierre-Charles Cros, who are also behind the French capital’s Curio Parlor and the Prescription Cocktail Club have translated their stylish brand of Gallic cool to the mean streets of Soho.
Set over three floors of a restored Georgian townhouse, the ECC is accessed by an anonymous black door which, more than likely, will take a bit of finding. Then atop a staircase you’ll enter a Parisian speakeasy world of exposed brickwork, heavy curtains and ornately tiled ceilings – Chinese style murals being the only nod to the bar’s locale. However, just to prove they’re not taking themselves too seriously, the loos are decorated in tongue-in-cheek flamingo patterned wallpaper. The decor, inspired by the late Madeleine Castaing, was created by the up-and-coming interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon, who also worked on the Prescription Cocktail Club in Paris.
Mixologist and bar manager, Nicolas de Soto, formerly of Manhattan Painkiller and Brooklyn Dram has developped a cocktail list specifically for London together with the founding partners and innovative blends traverse the globe from the US to France via the sub-continent of India.
Standout cocktails include the Opium Express – purple shiso-infused Ketel One, goji liqueur and syrup, dragon fruit, lemon juice and poppy seeds; the Negroni de Provence – lavender infused citadelle gin and herbes de Provence infused lillet blanc; the deadly Jamaican Pogo – Appleton V/X rum, green chartreuse, homemade smoked pineapple syrup, lime juice and Jamaican jerk spicy bitters and the deceptively innocent-seeming Madras Flip – Grosperrin cognac, XM five year old run, cream, homemade organic chai syrup, egg and nutmeg.
Three vintage cocktails – sourced from Lyon are priced from a staggering £150 – £250 but the rest average at a rather less scary tenner!