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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Pearl's at The Cat and Mutton, London Fields

After 10 years as a gastro, Broadway Market's landmark pub was more overcooked Mutton than Top Cat when I visited last year. Not long afterwards, it shut, sold to new owners appaz. If the pattern in similar gentrified pockets of London held true, I reasoned, the new owners would be a chain of burger barons, bento box pimps, Carluccio's, Space NK, Oliver Bonas or some other yuppie knob wank. Would I mourn the Cat? Not really. I'm not local. Even if I were, there are more interesting places to drink on this East End strip where, perversely, the rarest sight these days is the genuine article. Eastenders don't, as a rule,  go by India or Hugo, rather Mason and Paige. Presently, I heard good news. The Cat and Mutton would reopen as a pub not a branch of Foxton's and, most interestingly, with Tom Gibson at the helm - he of dishy Dalston dive bar Ruby's, a gaff that's well worth crossing town for. Come April, I'm schlepping out East again -  a tedious habit since my manor, Chelsea, became about as cool as chlamydia. I'm here for the CaMutt's re-launch. Roadblock! The old girl is as stowed out as the first day of a Sloane Street sale, only with a crowd that doesn't look like lumpen X-Factor audition losers, what the queue for Gucci's sale appears to consist of these days. And lovely, the new improved Cat turns out to be. A more attractive but not unrecognisably different spin on what went before, it has craft beers and Licky Chops on kitchen duty downstairs and, of more immediate interest to me, Pearl's, a cocktail bar upstairs. Gussied up like an Edwardian bordello, Pearl's is accessed via a vertiginous spiral staircase whose polished steps should be approached with caution when well-oiled. How to get that way? £8.50 cocktails called fiery mare (gin, Kamm and Sons, lemon, wasabi and cucumber) and frisky Nellie or some such similarly hoorish handle. Alfred’s porter is an interesting Victorian-style fix that says much about London Fields' now. Asking for brandy, stout, honey and oyster sauce would have got you laughed out of the Cat when I first drank on Broadway Market long before it talked with a Mockney accent. In the punk days of my childhood, bootleg vodka and Vimto with a Dexedrine chaser was how to start your night.  
 76 Broadway Market, E8 4QJ 7249 6555

based on my review for