On possibly the balmiest night of the London Summer so far, we are delighted to have been invited to experience the ethereal pop-up garden, created in association with Tanqueray TEN at Soho’s Indian-fusion restaurant Carom. For the next six months, this magical space will host a variety of tasting events as well as serving innovative botanical gin cocktails in the bustling heart of London.
With shabby chic décor drawing inspiration equally from a Midsummer festival and the Chelsea Flower Show, the bar is steeped in greenery and strewn with mis-matched glassware, ladders, vintage suitcases and garden furniture. The clientele are mostly dressed in Temperley florals or suitable tweeds and the exterior sounds of swerving taxis and super-stressed ‘creative types’ are all but muffled. In my mind I imagine the buzzing of a bumble bee… but thankfully we are bug free in this interior!
Higgledy-piggledy throughout the bar are tiny terracotta or zinc pots of well-tended herbs, scented flora and exotic spices which can be combined by the expert mixologists at the bar to create bespoke botanical cocktail blends. Simply (and decadently) forage snippets of mint, handfuls of berries and fragrant angelica or some of the ingredients you’d be more familiar with in Carom’s kitchen; cinnamon sticks, cardamom and juniper. Take your spoils to the bar and they’ll be blended with Tanqueray gin, ice and water for a unique Collins cocktail twist… Or sample some of the drinks from the menu created by Calum Lawrie and Adam Spinks such as the quirky Tiny Ten martini with the clean zing of pink grapefruit or the Rose and Lychee Collins which explodes with soft citrus zest and sweet summery petals.
Basking in the calm, sun dappled inside oasis we are drawn to some of the more intricate details of this bar. The line-drawn typography on the grey cocktail menus, the drinks served in jam jars, the strings of delicate lights and the juxtaposition of a wellington boot upon a chest labeled for delivery in Mumbai. Like the DIY cocktails, the place has an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ charm… little vases of this and bowls of that – all enticingly encouraging guests to ‘eat me’ and ‘drink me’.
Carom itself not only boasts award winning cuisine and cocktail culture but also late-night DJs and exclusive dining events. The botanical gin garden is in situ until October 2013.
More information at http://www.meza-soho.co.uk/botanical-gin-garden