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Monday, 20 February 2017

Alpha Beta Bar, Finsbury

"SAS flight 1974 to Stockholm now boarding at (Moor)gate 1"

When he’s not tending at, and to, his other bars (White Lyan, Dandelyan, The Fount at Selfridges), esteemed champion of cerebral, experimental peculiars, Ryan Chetyawardana (aka “Mr. Lyan”), is likely to be found at the standalone bar at chef Anna Hansen’s Modern Pantry off Moorgate. Brightly lit, all Scandi-style blonde woods with pressed flora, pine cones and other forest-foraged finds masquerading as art, its peninsular bar’s stools the only seating, the room suggests a Nordic airport bar circa early ABBA. What Alpha Beta (the name sounds like one of the group’s songs but relates to the title of the building it inhabits) lacks in louche lounge lizard appeal, however, is compensated by Mr L’s high flying botanical-inspired fixes that harness spices and ingredients integral to Hansen’s cooking; the subtle kick of a dhansak masala minced veal-filled omelette a highlight of a menu of appealing, affordable bar snacks. Killer combos include mini brioche buns stacked with smoked mussel, crab and guacamole paired with Iranian Gimlet - both ideas flavoured with dried down Iranian lime;  and crab rarebit doughnut with squid ink and the same Urfa chilli salt used in homemade bitters that inform Hellfire, a sophisticated Wild Turkey bourbon old fashioned sweetened with honey. Twisted aperitivo hour classics - an Aperol spritz prepared with black moscato and hibiscus - and interesting hi-balls - Byrrh with San Pellegrino’s  bittersweet orange cola-esque soft, Chinotto, and Amer Picon mixed with Meantime Pale Ale, an Anglo take on the French farmer’s vieille école fave - are further reason to head tot Hansen and Lyan’s commendable collaboration.
at The Modern Pantry, 14 Finsbury Square  EC2A  1AH 3696 6965