Phileas’ Fantastic Gin Joint
Mr Fogg’s Tavern on St Martin’s Lane offers a warm welcome to the thirsty…
Review by Rupert Watkins
Those desirous of a good drink in the environs of Theatreland should saunter down to Mr Fogg’s Tavern and Gin Parlour. The sister establishment to our Victorian adventurer’s Bruton Street Residence, this has a rather different, less clubby feel but is nonetheless a delightfully quirky place for a quiet and high quality snifter or three. Downstairs is the actual Tavern, wood panelled with a slight air of both the late Victorian music hall and an Austrian ski chalet. However, head upstairs for the Gin Parlour & Salon.
This small and intimate bar (left by his Aunt Gertrude in her will to our hero apparently), sits no more than 20 on an array of sofas and low comfortable chaise lounges. The décor is different from the Mayfair Residence; less masculine it revels in Victorian bric-a-brac and potted palms. Waitresses are dressed in becoming corsets and skirts though we did wonder whether that was a trifle more Belle Époque Paris than your mad aunt’s front room… Next to the salon is the gin parlour and here lie the 300 gins and specialist gin mixer.
Despite a small and interesting array of cocktails, the allure of an unusual and stonkingly good G’n’T was too great for both myself and my guest and we were soon perusing the shelves. The gin mixer was courteous and knowledgeable. Having worked and lived in Spain for some time, my guest was keen to hunt out Citadelle gin (very popular in Madrid) whilst I was keen to try a flavoured gin – settling on a tea scented one after the recommendation of our guide. Leave the correct choice of tonic and accoutrements to the house as the drink will come to your table with the appropriate mixer, lime, lemon, herbs or extra juniper berries dependent upon your gin choice.
A small array of interesting bar snacks are available (more robust food can be found downstairs in the Tavern), our quails eggs with sea salt and mustard infused sausages were delicious. These small bites weigh in at between £7 and £15 whilst the drinks are in the vicinity of £10 to £14.
Further gin experimentation bought another round of interesting G’n’Ts proving how varied and tasty this wonderful spirit is – and how essential it is to have a stray couple of hundred bottles of Mother’s Ruin lying around. Those searching for an unusual gin joint and something a little different should hasten down St Martin’s Lane.
Reservations are essential upstairs for the Gin Parlour and Salon. Downstairs in the Tavern, pre-booking not needed.