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Friday, 10 October 2014

Basement Sate, Soho

Around the time Teflon Tony hijacked Britpop for his own propagandist ends (and musos that should have known better were lured to smarmy Blair's lair for THAT Downing Street photo op), The Player was the Soho Oasis where Boys and Girls partied. Fast forward a decade and half: those giddy times are a distant Blur; Blair is (gasp!) GQ's philanthropist of the year - as opposed to 'lying warmonger of the century' - and, with most of the Britpop bands long since gone to the (wonder)wall, The Player closed. Into the void, hot on the heels of her hit bar Sherry Butt, a beau monde magnet in Le Marais, comes Basement Sate, a new drinking den from Irish coleen, Cathleen McGarry. Some of my friends are creaming themselves about the so-now, so-posh-Parisienne concept: cocktails et désserts. This old pudding? Not so much. The sweetest thing I'll brook when mainlining Manhattans, is the requisite maraschino cherry. Not, please, as a rookie JJ Goodman once served me, a glacé cherry - the petard by which the poor chap is forever hoist in my mind. Thank God I don't go a bundle on brandy snaps, blancmange ( whatever became of them?) Battenberg, Black Forest gat-o, Paris-Brest and the likes: Kim Kardashian's saddle bags in my slimline Slimane strides? Kanye imagine? But if mini vacherin (lime meringue and basil and raspberry cream) does it for you, try it here with vodka, beetroot, ginger and Moscato d'Asti coupette, beet me up. "Am-AZ-ing" coos one girly guest, enraptured. "Got any Twiglets?" I grumble - peckish, after my second martini. What other drinks I do try - eagle in the tub (gin, white port, Fernet Branca and ginger ale), for example - are just fine...sans puds. Basement's Sate's decor, however, is - in parts - a bit of a sunken soufflé. Hefty high chairs block access to the bar as effectively as Nazi tank traps on a 1940's Normandy beach; the prospect from the bar into an open kitchen is ugly and the Mulligatawny-tone den's soupy gloaming drains the barmen's boats of all life. Right the wrongs; pull in the pudding and prosecco massive and "Things Can Only Get Better" - as phoney Tony promised before that D-Ream turned sour.
8 Broadwick Street W1F 8HN 7287 3412