Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Callooh Callay.

Sipping weird and wonderful concoctions in a Lewis Carroll inspired wonderland? Sounds like my perfect night out, so I was pleased as punch to be offered the chance to sample the acclaimed cocktail list at Callooh Callay. Named after Carroll's Jabberwocky poem, the bar and lounge is tucked away in Shoreditch among the Italian lunch places and coffee shops.  I invited Happiness Project London along for a blogdate after noticing she had the bar on her to-do wishlist. We snapped away like a pair of losers lunatics with our matching cameras.

Callooh Callay

Cocktails are taken seriously here. There are faithfully recreated classics alongside new mixes, including the award-winning Ale of Two Cities, created by bar manager Sean Ware. It's served in a half pint jar and looks just like ale but actually tastes like a wild forest tonic: an inspired mix of 42 Below vodka, Punt e Mes, angostura bitters, apple, lime, wild nettle cordial and malt syrup. Exactly the sort of drink that you might be surprised with in Narnia. (You have to step through Narnian wardrobe doors to get to the lounge, nice touch!)

These were wonderfully tasty Mai Tais, made as closely as possible to the original 1947 Trader Vic recipe. (El Dorado 12 year old rum, Wray & Nephew rum, orange curaçao, a dash of rock candy syrup and a dollop of French orgeat. Seriously tasty.)

Callooh Callay

I also enjoyed an All That Jazz, a mix of jasmine infused vodka, yellow chartreuse, lemon sugar and prosecco. Really subtle flavours and so refreshing. The individual food plates were perfect; generous enough to keep the tummy rumbles at bay and nibbly enough to munch whilst chatting.

Callooh Callay

The bar staff chatted away to the regulars at the bar whilst shaking it like a polaroid picture. Check the technique.

Callooh Callay

The ambience and decor of the place was perfectly quirky and cosy, it reminded me of the kind of the bar you find in Berlin, decked out with vintage pieces and lots of candles, but more lavishly done. The music was great, with the bar manager putting on his favourite tunes in between mixing cocktails and tending to his customers with great care. Even the loos were a talking point, the walls completely lined with old mixtapes set in resin.

Callooh Callay

With so much to see, try and talk about, Callooh Callay would be perfect for a first date or just a cosy catch-up with friends.  HPL and I felt quite at home, the last to leave having blown out our dinner plans in favour of staying in our cosy corner. I'll be seeing you again soon, that's for sure Callooh Callay!

Address: 65 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3AY
Telephone: 020 7739 4781

11 comments:

  1. Ooh, I can some on the tube there from my place direct. When??

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  2. I'll get back to you when I'm feeling a bit less delicate! (You'd like it, table service, v. chilled.)

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  3. Was a lovely night - treated like princesses by the staff (slightly sozzled princesses post-martini), delicious cocktails and a cool chilled out place. Wish it was open later but this is likely to be dangerous.

    Great post! Yes we were massive losers taking photos of each drink!

    Sasha @ The Happiness Project London

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  4. I'm glad you liked it - I had my last birthday there and the hangover was SO worth it! Gets a bit rowdy at the weekend but such a perfect friend date place x

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  5. Dear Caroline, this sounds right up my street. And luckily for me it's five minutes away. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I shall be visiting very soon. Hope all's well with you xx

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  6. Sounda fab. Oddly, I had a post on an old blog entitled 'twas brillig and it was inundated with hits from people searching for the phrase calloo callay a day or two later. It must have been a competition or something. Most mysterious.

    Reciting Jabberwocky used to be one of my dorkier party tricks.

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  7. Ooh this sounds just like my cup of tea - or should that be my glass of Mai Tai?! Will have to check it out.

    Sally from Louder Than Silence x

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  8. Looks fab Cazza. I do love a good cocktail bar...

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  9. this does sound great, I LOVE the mixtapes, what a wicked idea

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  10. Love that place. You weren't tempted to order the Gramophone (enormo- punch bowl thing)? My friends and I always are and never do...

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