The Blind Pig in Soho: Innocence of youth and prohibition-era vibes fluidly blend together
Complying to its name, The Blind Pig’s door is semi-hidden in a dark recess next to its bigger brother Social Eating House. The bar is located on the first level – quite unusual for London – the basement used for the restrooms instead. The end of the staircase opens up to a warm space fostered by antique furniture, comfortable seating and subdued lighting. The muffled atmosphere is apt for mischievous behaviour or to unwind with friends and dates; the bartenders’ coordinated clothing completes the speakeasy setting.
Original cocktails are coming and going on the drink list but, pondering on the best concoctions famed and favoured by the regulars and new visitors, the current Greatest Hits menu proposes the best of the best from the last five years. The names in the series point to children’s literature, with the recurring addition of fruit. The result is a collection that steers towards the sweet – with very few exceptions – and pampers the mouth.
The first lovely example of this is Paddington’s Lost & Found, which straight away melted the heart of this reviewer. When the glass arrived garnished only with a label reading “Please look after this bear”, it is immediately reminiscent of Paddington’s story. The orange flavoured vodka dominates, made mellifluous by the triple sec toast and marmalade sandwiches.
Arriving in a simply-wrapped beer bottle, Harry Potter’s Best Bottled Butter Bitter hides an exquisite, sparkly liquid. The Monkey Shoulder Whisky gives the punch, the Samuel Adams beer adds the fizz, and the butterscotch confers a sugary finish.
There is time in between to taste some of the snacky creations from downstairs. The mastery of Jason Atherton shines in the Raw Lyme Bay Scallops: the smoky avocado gracefully marries the seafood, with tangy dashes of lime and wasabi seeds. The other gratifying creation is the “Bloody Mary” Beef Tartare. A thin sourdough layer covering the tasty meat is scattered with dabs of velvety yolk jam. The greasier bites make less of an impression. The fried chicken is coated in an odd mix of spices, lime and chilli yoghurt, that result in a heavy mouthful. The Cumbrian Spiced Hotdog leaves you questioning the amount of sausage used, especially because the overloaded onion jam and piccalilli would have been better savoured. For a safe choice and a crunchy nibble: try the Triple-cooked Duck Fat Chips.
Introduced as a liquid Turkish delight, Mr Tumnus’ Tumnus Tipple Delight reveals itself to be a genuine treat for the sweet tooth. The blue-tinted drink smoothly brings together Bombay Sapphire Gin and Lanique Rose, with a splash of white chocolate and vanilla. While the Kindergarten Cup’s silken texture and sugary taste are a bit over the top. Its endearing presentation in a teacup with skittles and a sprinkle of icing sugar encloses a concoction consisting of Aperol and wham bar syrup, on a vodka base that kicks off at a later moment.
The character and easy service of The Blind Pig lure you into its pleasurable environment. The cocktails are an interesting collection, dear for their aromatic flavours and for the beloved childish memories that they recall. The innocence of youth and the muck ambience of prohibition-era American bar fluidly blend together.
★★★★★Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina and Cristiana Ferrauti
To book a table at The Blind Pig, 58 Poland Street London W1F 7NR, call +44 20 7993 3251 or visit their website here.