The Handbook
The Handbook

It’s love verses war where two of the capital’s upcoming launches are concerned. Coquine is the flirty French coquette of Old Brompton Road and Avalon is Shoreditch’s new Elysium, named after the legendary island where King Arthur went for a bit of Morgan Le Fey magic when he’d received a particularly nasty pounding on the field.

Veteran entrepreneur and owner of Valmont Club, Dipak Panchal is launching Coquine at the end of March. The intimate two-storey venue has been designed by the multi-talented Lee Broom with a seductive French theme. The ground-floor restaurant showcases Victorian tiles, decorative ceiling and Broom’s bespoke Decanter light of vintage crystal, there’s a real Persian carpet in the bar and then the opulent basement lounge is decorated with Rococo paintings as if you’d accidentally strayed into The National Gallery after hours.

Food is French international fusion with tapas style comfort bites and more substantial affairs too. Smaller bites include Fish Tacos – white crab meat, horseradish & mango ceviche and Tiger Prawns Tartine – grilled tiger prawns with guacamole & baby cress and then larger dishes feature Foie Gras Burgers, Guinea Fowl, and Lobster BLT. Cocktails from master mixologist, Thierry Brocher incorporate nostalgic combinations of liquorice and bubblegum and even Slim Drinks using fructose instead of sugar.

But we’ll have to wait for the summer for the launch of Avalon, East London’s newest cocktail bar, lounge and club. East end hipsters will relax on flamboyant chaise-longue s, Louis XVI chairs and silver velvet banquettes to a glamorous backdrop of Oriental design and state-of-the-art LED technology: intricate Chinese screens are back-lit by coloured LEDs and a black marble bar is peppered with LED strip-lighting. Ours is a Karma Sip-tra – muddled blackberries and basil leaves, fresh lime juice, sloe gin & Mandarine Napoleon liqueur.

But with co-founder Rob Gribbin ‘s hedonistic pedigree – and the relaunch of Pushca – party animals won’t be disappointed either. The adjacent club is super sexy and atmospheric, boasts a serious sound-and-light show and promises to host some of the best DJs and performers in the capital.

And when you’re ready for a breath of fresh air (or a cigarette for that matter), Avalon’s stunning outdoor terrace walled in by red-brick railway arches will be the new secret garden of Shoreditch. Set to host an eclectic array of happenings in its own right, there are plans for an outdoor cinema, silent disco and summer garden parties aplenty. And with rumours of a lower-level spa with mosaic-tiled Jacuzzi bathing pools, private mini Pool Party Rooms, this newcomer is sure to give the nearby Aquarium and Shoreditch House a real run for their money.

But then again, all’s fair in love and war.

Coquine, 160 Old Brompton Road, SW5
Avalon, 141-143 Shoreditch High Street,E1