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Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Betsy Smith, Kilburn

I’m keen to sample outlandish cocktails at a new brekkie-to-late DJ bar. Will Relish The Thought - tequila, rhubarb liqueur, lemon, apple, roast parsnip, caramelised red onion relish and dolcelatte - be the dog’s nuts or just cheesy boll****? Who knows? ‘Ve do not hav’ ingri-juntz,’ offers Olga from the Volga in that matter-of-fact tone adopted by hard-faced Soviet era cabin crew. Instead, I try Quincy, a gin, quince and rose petal martini. It’s punchy enough as, gauging by the way two girlies are weaving through the long bar, are £12 cocktails served in teapots. The Betsy Smith, from the guys behind The Winchester in Islington, is already pulling Kilburn's burghers in numbers. Prices are fair; there’s a reasonable grub offer that includes a Sunday roast for £8.95 and staff are generally sweet, if a bit ditzy. The locals - from not the most fashion savvy postcode in London, I swiftly conclude -  seem particularly taken with the decor: think Artful Dodger does Victorian Poundland. Perhaps they’ve never experienced this jumbly Narnia/ Alice In Wonderland trip done miles better at Shoreditch’s Callooh Callay and Loungelover? Talking of trippy, having been shown the door, a dolally old cove in a camel coat is ranting outside as we arrive. Waving a plastic tote emblazoned with an ac-ieeed smiley at Betsy bar-bloke, he insists his drink has been spiked with LSD. Smirking, the accused motions him away  ‘I hope your insanity keeps you warm.’ On Kilburn’s chaotic pavements, such street theatre passes unnoticed. "He's a regular' confides another staffer. Charming!
77 Kilburn High Road NW6 7624 5793