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Friday, 29 November 2013

Cosy Kettle, Euston


("oops!")
Like arriving at a house party your antennae has assessed as a dreary dud, even before its host has finished air-kissing you at the front door, beating an inconspicuous retreat when you don't fancy what you find at any unfamiliar bar, hidden from view in a basement, can be  'hashtag-awkward' as people say (annoyingly). No more so, than when the place is empty save for three punters and two members of staff who look genuinely thrilled to greet you. That's the scenario tonight at a peculiar new cocktail and cake lounge beneath long-running, not-half-bad pub, Somers Town Coffee House. Quick as a flash, I've decided the decor doesn't do it for me. An inchoate mishmash of homespun ideas, twee recycled 60s gubbins, stage set doors, kitsch seats even Steve at Corrie's Street Cars office mightn't fancy; it reminds me of when some of my classmates, aged 11, did up Malcolm MacKenzie's old man's garage as a nightclub. Using stuff found in local skips, Malc and his equally moronic muckers fancied it looked like somewhere cool where Tony Blackburn might DJ, while my innate superior imagination was getting 'dump in Blackburn, Lancs.' For a cocktail lounge, this garish gaff's back bar's scant gins, vodkas and Bells whisky - presumably for wee hard man drinkers fresh off the Glasgow train at nearby Euston - don't exactly augur well - but reinforcements are apparently on the way. Thank God I'm not out on the pull (assuming there was anyone to pull): it's very bright for a bar. How many staff does it take to unscrew a few lightbulbs? Still, I'm here; the barman (pictured) looks the part and the menu promises he'll mix something else if I don't fancy the likes of Lynchburg lemonade, gin fizz or margarita on the rocks from a terse list of unambitious ‘cocktaails’ (sic). "How about a Boulevardier?" Negative. This, despite a Diffordsguide, an informative tome that includes its recipe, in clear view. "Er, OK. I'll have a sweet Manhattan," I say, now back on-menu. After what seems like an age, it is ready. Served not sweet, not perfect, but dry, it is also wrong. "Dry: that's the way I tend to make things" its maker's wet explanation for this disappointing £9.80 effort. Word up, fella! If I ask a bespoke tailor for a silk mohair suit, I won't wear tweed because that's the way he tends to make things. Gitme? If you, however, fancy trying on his French martinis for size at 1.30am, dive in; it's open until 2am. Only don't expect to cosy up to me at this queer Kettle. I've got bigger and better fish to fry. 
60 Chalton Street, NW1 1HS  7387 7377 www.thesomerstowncoffeehouse.co.uk