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By AIMEE BRANNEN
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Aimee Brannen quaffs the delights of liquid dessert in the city
Never before have I left a restaurant raving about a dessert so much. Not that the starter and main meal weren’t delicious, but on this occasion I just have to fast-forward to the afters.
I’m not known for having a sweet tooth and I’d normally always opt for an appetiser rather than dessert if made to choose. In fact, I rarely have room for a pudding – which I suppose is why the ‘liquid desserts’ at The Drift in the Heron Tower in Bishopsgate, are so special.
My sister and I had enjoyed a lovely meal at this vibrant city bar/restaurant and were both full when our attentive waiter James presented us with the dessert menu. Sadly, I knew I couldn’t squeeze in the chocolate fondue with marshmallows – but was immediately intrigued by the liquid dessert menu.
There were a number to choose from – all alcoholic cocktails in pudding flavours. We were a bit sceptical – I mean, how can a drink really bring you the same taste? But we most definitely drunk our words and were left wondering how they did it.
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2
0845 468 0103
Mains: from £7.25
Wine: from £13.95 a bottle
Disabled access: Yes
Children welcome: In the daytime
Mine was the crème brûlée martini – and I can honestly say I never wanted it to end. It tasted exactly the same as my favourite pud – delicious, smooth, creamy and satisfying – but I could actually move afterwards.
It was made from ketel one citron vodka, lemon curd, house vanilla sugar and double cream served with caramel dust.
My sister had an equally delicious ginger cake cocktail equivalent and nearly sobbed when she took her last gulp.
While it may not have had such a novelty value, the actual food left an equally good impression.
For starters we opted to share a crayfish cocktail flatbread with avocado, tomato, sliced red onion, rocket and marie rose sauce. The bread was thin and crispy and the crayfish tails fresh and juicy.
The very reasonably-priced menu was extensive, but after much deliberation I opted for the fish pie – and I wasn’t disappointed. The filling was a mixture of salmon, prawns and mussels while the texture was creamy and bursting with flavour, but not heavy like many are.
The potato and cheddar crust melted in the mouth and was perfectly crispy on top.
I ordered a portion of cheesy potato wedges to go alongside but they weren’t needed – a lighter option such as green beans would have been a better accompaniment.
Meanwhile, my sister chose the mascarpone and wild mushroom-stuffed chicken breast wrapped in crispy pancetta with herbed potatoes.
The meat was succulent and beautifully infused with the smoked flavours of the pancetta and the filling was scrumptious.
All was complimented nicely with a crisp bottle of Riesling.
The Drift calls itself an “island of calm in the heart of the city”. I have to say, the relatively glamorous atmosphere, buzzing with the chitter chatter of suited and booted city types, didn’t exactly tie in with the description. But, the place was by no means formal and the whole experience was a real treat.
It’s perfect for a midweek drink or meal, and a trendy night out at the weekend – I’ll definitely be back.