108 Brasserie & Bar launch new Autumn Tales cocktail menu in collaboration with Alex Monroe
Greek storyteller Aesop lived centuries ago but his fables about anthropomorphic animal characters are still well-known today. London’s 108 Brasserie has worked in collaboration with British jeweller Alex Monroe to create a new non-alcoholic Seedlip cocktail menu inspired by such ancient stories and myths. One rainy November evening we went there to try some of the drinks – and maybe gain some wisdom.
Set in the cosy Marylebone village just minutes from Oxford Street, 108 Brasserie offers all-day dining. The interiors of the spacious rooms reflect traditional style with red and orange upholstery, wooden parquet flooring and antique mirrors. The ambience works well with the food menu, which includes uncomplicated European classics as well as popular international influences.
The new cocktail card has a charming design reminiscent of book illustrations. It’s a pleasure to hold while you explore a curious concept: each drink is inspired by a specific animal and a fable about it. Read the story, choose your hero and taste the moral.
“The Tortoise and the Hare stand poised at the starting line, ready to begin their important race,” one story goes as we take a sip of Slow and Steady. Without giving away any spoilers, the one who won was unhurried – and that is just how we enjoyed this thick texture and well-balanced smooth combination of Seedlip Spice 94, Fresh Orange Juice, Monin Vanilla Syrup, Fig and Pineapple Crafted Soda.
“Be content with everything you have,” the wise Rooster tells us, and it is an easy task now because we have What a Fine Thing You Are! – a cheerful, bright symphony of fresh lemon juice, low-alcohol sparkling wine, Seedlip Grove 42 and elderflower cordial.
Jump In and Try It (but “look before you leap”) says the next character, and we follow the advice – the drink has a pleasant moderate sweetness and rich citrus notes. Seedlip Spice 94, Monin Orange Spritz, and Wild Life Botanicals low-alcohol sparkling wine – all inspired by both wise and not very wise Mountain Goats.
The cocktails are non-alcoholic or very light, which increases the chances of trying each one of them (“count not your chickens”), but if you’re craving something stronger, 108 Brasserie has a decent wine list. Predominantly French, it has a selection from well-known winemakers for fair prices.
For our drink tasting, we tried a steak tartare – the sweet ketchup slightly reduced the emotional uplift from the deep Greek stories – and Dorset Crab Linguine with Chilli. The vanilla crème brûlée with caramelised figs and hazelnut shortbread was beautiful and the highlight of our meal.
It seems, in the end, some kind of morality suggests itself: if you were singing all summer, you must now relax and pick a nice cocktail to cheer yourself up for the coming winter.
To book a table at 108 Brasserie, 108 Marylebone Lane London W1U 2QE, call 0207 969 3900 or visit their website here.