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Friday, 26 September 2014

Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, Clerkenwell

Two Fitzrovia bars to the good, the owners of Bourne & Hollingsworth and Reverend J.Simpson have added a bigger, more ambitious, third off Exmouth Market. Like Derry and Toms, and Swan and Edgar, Bourne and Hollingsworth was originally the name of one of London's many double-barrelled department stores that in the latter's case, was on its last legs around the same period as this bar's mismatched skip-refugee furniture was fashionable: the mid-1970s. BHB is done out like the sort of Surrey wine bar one of that decade's great TV fixtures might have hung out in with her Rotary Club cronies, sipping Cherry Heering and sneering about a neighbour's ghastly common baby blue Ford Capri. That's no bad thing: The Good Life's Margo Leadbetter's style is bang on the current fashion zeitgeist. There's much else to like here; not least a handsome sit-up, cocktail bar, a chintzy Homebase pot plant-heavy conservatory/ dining area and floorboards painted light-bouncing white, always flattering to the sort of London bar flies whose complexions are a touch Gak Wan. The opening party cocktails we are served are fair-to-girly: port flower stinger; cider rose (apple and blackberry shrub stirred with cider brandy, charged with prosecco). Blokier stuff to try next time - for, unlike some recent lame launches I've attended, there will be a next time -  includes rum and plum (Santa Theresa 1796, prune vermouth and bitters). A posh pubby menu that has mint crusted cannon of lamb with ratatouille (not exactly 1970s pricing at £20), and Caribbean pork belly, sweet potato puree and plantain beignets bears investigation. The bar snacks we try are hit and miss: crispy bacon and potato maki rolls with horseradish cream strange, but strangely addictive; red bell pepper and thyme cake, whatever!; coronation chicken wrap with avocado relish the sort of outrĂ© buffet one-upmanship your aunt in Esher might have once served to a soundtrack of Demis Roussos.  
42 Northampton Road EC1R 0HU 3174 1156