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Thursday, 4 April 2013

214 Bermondsey, The Borough


I wish I had bought a pad on Bermondsey Street when early adopter friends first spotted its soaraway potential and moved in (£300k to £2 million in 18 years? Jammy bastards!)  As things stand, I can just about stand you a round of drinks in one of this stylish enclave's numerous bars - The Garrison, Hide, East Village and now 214, a reboot of the cellar bar at Italian face-filling opportunity, Antico. Small comfy, cosy, all soft lighting honey-tone woods and tabasco leather, 214 eschews big design statement - a plus in my book in a city that now has more 'speakeasies' than the Chicago Mob could collect protection money from in a month of Sundays. In the absence of Bugsy Malone trappings, the adult theme here is a stonking range of great gins - I counted 50 on a smallish back bar where premium rums and whiskeys also vie for attention. Flights of three gins (from £12) come with house tonic - dry, peppery, earthy, bark-y, bitter, Fernet Branca-ish. Gin cocktails include aviation; Bermondsey negroni using local gin, Jensen; The Copenhagen (Bols Genever, Heering Cherry, lime and bitters, good at £9) and The Peck'em, SE15-distilled Little Bird shaken with Aperol, Cinzano B, grapefruit juice and bitters - more Portofino than Peckham to my mind. Gin junkies will be happy to find Death's Door,  Gilpin's, No.209, Bathtub Navy Strength, Xoriger various genevers and  current pash of mine, Saffron from Dijon's Gabriel Boudier. Gordon's? The barman tuts - although I retain a soft spot for the old girl having mixed it, aged 11, with bitter lemon and Dad's Eau Sauvage in an early experiment that led to a pubescent high I will never forget....followed by a tanned hide and tears before bedtime. My only gripe is 214's happy hour. If you aspire to owning a gaff in this deeply desirable faubourg, you're chained to a desk between 5 and 6pm, surely?
214 Bermondsey Street SE1 3TQ 7403 6875 www.214-bermondsey.co.uk/