Review: Eve Bar, London | The Week UK
How close is Eve to a Michelin star? Oh, about ten feet: It’s located under the Frog, Adam Handling’s appropriately acclaimed restaurant in Covent Garden. And, as you might expect with that connection, there’s a similar level of creativity and detail in the drinks and food offerings.
“Try this! You can’t even taste the wine!” There are very few things in the world of drinks that I really hate but that line is one of them. If I have to drink squash, I’ll drink squash. But I love wine and if I’m paying £15+ for a drink, I like the taste of the wine involved.
That’s not a problem at Eve, where cocktails are creative, clever and very clearly feature wine – and the finely influenced, inventive takes on that. These are not drinks you drink and ignore, these are drinks you drink, question, share, drink again, check menus and drink some more. They are, as they should be, the stars of this particular show—even though some of Frog’s signature dishes are available as bar snacks.
The new(ish) menu is called “V” and, unsurprisingly, it’s divided into five sections: agave, juniper, buckwheat, malt, and corn and sugarcane. Each section has three cocktails using the relevant spirit, as well as “complementary flavours”. Each drink title is accompanied by a hilariously eccentric three-word description, making it easy to understand exactly what’s on offer. For example, “Red Flags” – from the juniper section – includes boatyard gin, Hendricks gin, apple juice, miso and champagne, and is described as “fresh – bubbly – croissant”. And, to my satisfaction, it tasted like a boozy, buttery French pastry.
From the Malt & Corn section, “Pink is for Boys” – made from Yellowstone, Baldoria Sweet Vermouth, anise, fennel and Campari – is described as “bitter – texture – harmony” and as the ingredients suggest Maybe, somewhere in the Negroni zone only bizarre and, arguably, boulder.
Bringing in the back is the “Perfect Three Cherries,” an elaborate take on the chef handling favorite drinks. This cocktail embodies a level of in-house experimentation and the team (preparation) brings original twists to the table, housed in the Glass Lab within the bar. Cherry stones are lightly toasted to bring out their natural almond notes, then doused in sweet vermouth. Dried vermouth is flavored with cherry blossoms, while the drink is garnished with three cherries dipped in whiskey. This is the cocktail that will make me return to Eve sooner rather than later.
If drinks are what separates Eve from many rival bars, the food menu takes those differences to a whole new level. I had it in cheese donuts, but as good as they are, they’re actually beef tartare (made using “uncooked” beef from the restaurant) and served in egg-shaped cups in the form of an egg tartare. Grass (and, brilliantly, on dry ice like it’s the ’80s).
And then there’s the chicken butter and sourdough. Oh sweet insert-of-your-choice-here, the chicken is buttery and sour. It’s a scrumptious little loaf that’s crusty and still warm, served with a dish of emulsified butter with chicken fat and topped with crispy chicken skin, and a small serving of exceptional chicken liver parfaits. This, somehow, is more chicken-y than an actual chicken, a proper little flavor bomb that, at £10, can be one of the best bargains and truly exceptional bar snacks the capital has to offer. To do.
I don’t know about you, but I have a certain expectation of what a cocktail bar should look and feel like, possibly based on movies and TV. The light should be dim. The bar should be long. Employees need to be knowledgeable — and donning an apron. The drink should make you feel like Don Draper. you know the drill.
This basement bar ticks all those boxes with its eccentric artwork, simple yet elegant glassware, and charming, happily informed members of staff. Overall, Eve is – cough – Adam Fine Bar.
on the eve; 34 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HF; evebar.co.uk