'Tis always the season for rooftop drinks and with the opening of London's latest right next to Aldgate East station, there's another reason to get drinks in the diary and enjoy the stunning city skyline.
PocketSquare Skyline Bar & Terrace, situated on the 9th floor of Whitechapel Road's new Hyatt Place London City East Hotel, not only does this new gem have THE views, but the gin-led bar describes itself as 'where the City meets the East' with its menu of inventive cocktails and matching bar bites.
Bar Manager Kristian Smith and his team have designed, created and tailored each recipe at PocketSquare Skyline Bar & Terrace’s own cocktail laboratory, where extensive experimenting has led to intriguing and new flavour profiles not found anywhere else in London. The lab also allows the team to utilise all parts of ingredients where possible in order to create new variations, such as transforming pineapple leaves into bitters. The result is eight expertly-crafted seasonal cocktails that form the PocketSquare Collection, with each drink carrying its own unique story.
We popped in on a Wednesday evening a couple of weeks back to find we had the place almost to ourselves, the perfect excuse to try a few of the cocktails and nibbles. We loved the Taiyo, a delicious combo of Roku gin, yuzu and plum wine meaning ‘big ocean’ in Japanese. This creation is influenced by the navigator and first known Western Samurai William Adams, whose London office at the East India Company was a few blocks from the bar. With each cocktail designed to be paired with one of the bar bites, this one accompanied a very delicious tiger prawn bao bun with sweet pepper, yuzu and crème fraiche.
The smoke-cured, vodka-infused salmon with compressed cucumber, salmon roe, wasabi and crème cheese foam was matched with the vodka, banana and strawberry Aqua Vita, while the partocularly potent choice of the Sedition, with Hendricks, absinthe, white port, champagne acid and herbal salt (inspired by a remedy for scurvy no less...) was the assistant to a great tempura oyster with ponzu dressing.
The salt beef sliders were great, with a tangy beer onion chutney, blue cheese and rocket, but the candied bacon, drenched in demerara sugar and honeym was a little much. Unsurprisingly very sweet, we admittedly didn't get round to the matching cocktail - the Marketa with Maker's Mark, roasted pineapple and 1757 rosso, so perhaps that would have taken the edge off.
While we probably didn't get the best of the vibe, there will be regular DJ appearances setting the scene and it's bound to be buzzier at the weekends, not to mention once the seasons change again; with that view I doubt you'll get a spot up there for love nor money.
For more information, bookings and exclusive hire visit www.pocketsquarelondon.com.