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Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Worship Street Whistling Shop, Shoreditch

Marylebone’s much-admired Purl has a new gaff in Shoreditch. In what was once The Pulpit, converts to the owners’ mission for molecular mixology are already worshipping at the whimsically-titled Worship Street Whistling Shop: in Georgian times, a Whistling Shop was a euphemism for an illicit still-cum-speakeasy. Leftfield libations such as Exploded Vodka Martini and Radiation Aged Cocktail include arcana produced in a working lab, open to view; ‘chip pan bitters’ and ‘removed cream’ used to soften the juniper attack of a Black Cat gin martini, for example. Such experiments mostly pay off although virgin olive oil in my date’s lemony gin fizz is declared ‘pointless and salad dressing-y.' Adding an adult dimension to the ‘bottle v breast’ debate, baby’s formula milk appears in a (Substitute) Bosom Caresser: mixed with fine de Cognac, dry Madeira, echt grenadine and salt and pepper bitters, this better-than-Baileys balsam is suitably yummy mummy on the lash. Shades of Empire eats are provided by the bar’s catering partners, Temple and Shian, and enthusiastic staff are kitted out in suitably Downstairs duds to greet their Upstairs guests - City mouse manipulators, mostly, when I drop in.  As for TWSWS’s decor, I’m signing off a different hymn sheet to its growing band of devoted disciples. Give me dirty-sexy-louche or Sinatra suave: an austere Dickensian brick bunker in cough linctus browns that’s three amputee dragoons short of Flo Nightingale’s Crimean hospital ward isn’t my idea of seductive. Nor do I fancy a poky private room to hire for up to ten. Its focal grimy bathtub suggests murderous Chamber of Horrors psycho John George Haigh who dissolved his victims’ bodies in acid in his. Perhaps this too is a crucible for more experimental cocktail outlandishness?
63 Worship St EC2 www.whistlingshop.com