The London Fox | Currently on sabbatical in New York City

Month: December, 2012

The Bar With No Name

Too many times has the Fox seen people pretend to be someone they are not, only to falter at their efforts and end up appearing uncomfortable in their own skin. That’s why the first rule of the Transaction of Love is to ensure you are having a good time. Pick a place you will enjoy, crack the joke that you will find funny, be yourself, damnit and the rest will follow.

One of my favourite London hang outs is the bar at 69 Colebrooke Row. I don’t think anyone knows the name of this place, but it has a great big Martini sign outside. Hidden away in a corner off Upper Street, this is a tiny, delightful speakeasy serving great cocktails with the widest of smiles. I will always have a good evening here.

The waitress, tall, blonde and French lures us to our seats. We each take a menu from her slender, diamond encrusted hands which we squint to read due to the ungenerous lighting. A piano sits in the corner yearning to be played. Next to it is the bar, behind which two bearded bartenders shake up gorgeous looking concoctions. The tiny room is packed with Islington’s most handsomely dressed, a couple of whom sit on the steps leading up to the washrooms due to a lack of space. Condensation drips from the windows to the beat of the jazzy rhythm that fills the room. The waitress returns as soon as we are settled, bringing glasses of water and takes our order.

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Usually I pick the Spitfire, which is no longer on the menu. I have no idea what is in it, but it is delicious. It is kind of a light cider, quite sweet with a tinge of sour. This time round, I picked the Avignon, which I believe is cognac with a splash of camomile liqueur. It was great. My guest chose the Apple and Hay Bellini of which I had a taste, but can’t remember if it was any good.

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Conversation flows as easily as the martini in this bar. I always find myself excited at the prospect of coming here. There are also snacks on the menu for the fiendishly peckish, and those who don’t drink cocktails can choose the beers or wines available.

The waitress returns, as beautiful as ever. She fills our glasses with fresh water and asks us if we wish for any more drinks. What great service.

69 Colebrooke Row
N1 8AA

Amendment

Amendment

Duck for breakfast

It’s 6:30am.

The Fox is soaring vertically up towards the misty London sky at an incredible pace. The London skyline gradually becomes a pool of clustered buildings below his paws.

No, I wasn’t high from shooting smack. I was in fact shooting up to the 40th floor of Heron Tower in the City in a glass lift. The tower is a relatively new addition to the City, and I had previously been here for drinks and canap├ęs at Sushisamba which I enjoyed immensely (for the views if nothing else).

It had been a long night of partying and afterpartying. Then someone had the idea of going for breakfast at Duck and Waffle at 6am.

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Open twenty-four-seven, Duck and Waffle boasts incredible city views coupled with clean, non fussy food. At least the breakfast menu at 6:30 was not too fussy anyway. Of course I went for the signature dish: a leg of duck, perfectly cooked, with two slices of soft waffle and a fried duck egg, drizzled with a mustard maple syrup. Sounds pretty strange at first but the combination works. I’m not sure I’d have it for breakfast or brunch, but noone can doubt how well they’ve executed the dish. The skin on the duck has just the right amount of crisp, and the waffle never too soggy.

Admittedly, I don’t think anyone is going to rave about the signature dish, and it’s certainly not amazing to warrant a host if copycat restaurants. However, the novel experience and location (and loose opening hours) means it should receive at least a look in.

Duck and Waffle
EC2N 4AY

Christmas past

Meet me at Hoxton. Dress code: Christmas jumpers. I text her.

London at Christmas time is a great period for activities. The crisp, chilly air, twinkling lights and festive spirits sets a magnificently romantic scene. If only we had some snow.

What are we doing? x She replies.

Going back in time

The Geffrye Museum by Hoxton station runs an annual Christmas past exhibition. It’s a beautiful location, despite the area that is surrounding it. The premise is this: 11 rooms which represent typical rooms from 1600- present day decorated as they would have been during the Christmas period. Think interior design ideas, conversations about how people lived in the past, interesting objects and mistletoe.

I meet her there at 4pm, just before the museum closes. I grab a couple of teas from the Fabrique bakery around the corner and wait outside the station (in retrospect we should have gone there after the museum as you can sit and have some cakes too). We stroll over to the museum and sip our teas on one of the benches in the courtyard. The grounds are calm and in the setting sun, are reminiscent of an Oxbridge college.

The exhibition itself was rather disappointing. I was hoping for a more interactive experience where you can go and wander around the rooms, instead, it was more a stare and read state of affairs. Not to say it wasn’t fun. There are plenty of interesting things to look at and talk about.

I had a great time today, thanks. Would you like to come round and help me decorate my place for Christmas? x

Geffrye museum
E2 8EA

Fabrique bakery
Arch 385, by Hoxton station