Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Keep it under your hat, old chap! Cocktails with the scoundrels at Cahoots!

So Spencer and I were away in London at the weekend for our friend Stuart's 30th Birthday. We saw Mumford & Sons at the British Summer Time gig in Hyde Park last Friday, which was amazing. We then had an extremely civilised and very British picnic on Saturday (complete with prosecco, strawberries and cream) at the Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens. It was beautiful.

After a quick stop off at Liz's gaff (Buckingham Palace) we headed back to London Liverpool Street to catch our train home (or so I thought). We walked all around the houses at which point, Spencer said that we had time for a quick beer before catching our train home. Never wanting to turn down the opportunity to drink beer, we went into a hotel bar. Spencer got the beers in and showed me our room keys; he had booked a couple of extra nights in London for us to celebrate our 1 year anniversary! He is such a good egg. He explained to me that he had nothing planned in terms of activities and asked me what I wanted to do. I pulled out a list as long as my arm, which I don't think he was expecting, and at the top, was Cahoots!

I first found out about Cahoots from their website. I have no idea how I came across it, but as soon as I did, I knew I had to go. Cahoots is described as "an illicit underground den where spirits are always high and drinks never run dry". The venue is small and can only accommodate a small number of people, so booking is essential. We managed to get one of the last remaining slots at 3:45. Booking a table is free and you get a time slot of 2 hours of table service. The confirmation email I received back was great; right from the off, Cahoots were 'in character'.

We arrived at Cahoots about 30 minutes before our allotted time, as we had quite a bit of trouble finding it! The entrance to Cahoots in at the entrance to Kingly Court in Soho. Yet all there is to mark the bar in a sign which reads "To the Trains". We walked past it several times before we realised where it was. This is, I can imagine, totally intentional, to keep the uniqueness and the character of the place alive, which I have now spoilt. Sorry about that!

We walked in and a very smartly dressed man in full 1940's get up welcomed us. It was at this point, we had to ask for "the Captain". As soon as we did this, he telephoned downstairs (in a wonderful '1940's BBC voice'), told them that Mr & Mrs Dye were here and that we should "walk down the apples and pears to the ticket office!" We walked down a set of stairs to the sound of "tally ho old chums" from the doorman, where another 1940's time traveler took us to our table.

The whole place was dripping in 1940's memorabilia and kitted out like an old underground station. It really was wonderful. You could tell that every little detail had been considered. Even the bathrooms were decorated in the 40's theme, with a soundtrack playing which explained the meanings of cockney rhyming slang and its origins! The Men's (according to Spencer's accounts) were decorated with vintage healthcare posters warning of the dangers of syphilis! Delightful!

The menu for instance, was a newspaper, with vintage articles for The Seamstress of Bloomsbury. I was in my element! Spencer on the other hand, had no idea what I was talking about, he was just happy to be out of Selfridges I think!

While we were pouring over the extensive cocktail menu trying to decide what to try first, a lovely waitress came over with some complimentary popcorn in an old food tin with 40's graphics. The waitress also took the time to explain the various elements of the menu to us, as there was a lot to take in. There were a number of sections:

Landgirls & Homeguard: Mainly fruit and veg based cocktails.
Starlets & Sirens: Cocktails made for "leading ladies" (Spencer really wanted to order one!)
Wideboys & Goodtime Girls: A range of real 'easy drinkers'; nothing too strong.
Tommies & Dickies: These were geared towards the guys with whiskey being the main ingredient.
Aristocrats & Fat Cats: Fancy cocktails with a number of wonderful ingredients and concoctions.

Cahoots also serve 40's themed snacks including meat and pickles and crisp and salad cream sandwiches, which was a welcomed change for Spencer who was sick of posh food from Selfridges! (He had a terrible experience with a beef 'sandwich'. Don't ask).

The first cocktail that I tried was a 'Don't Berry Your Head' from the 'Wideboys & Goodtime Girls' range - Russian Standard Vodka, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, lime and ginger ale. It was...delicious. Total easy drinker and sooo tasty. The presentation of the cocktails was also wonderful.

I then went for a 'Starlets & Sirens' cocktail in the form of a 'Vera Lynn' - Tanqueray No. Ten gin, ginger wine, apple juice, elderflower cordial, pear puree and fresh lime. The cocktail also came in a fantastic glass / mug / face which was beautifully decorated. Again, this cocktail didn't taste too strong at all, which was evidently starting to become a problem as the aforementioned pop corn was rapidly disappearing. Plus it was salty popcorn, so the need to drink was ever increasing! The rascals!

My third and final cocktail was again from the 'Starlets & Sirens' section and was an 'Anne Shelton' - Russian Standard Original Vodka, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and fresh lemon, topped with sparkling wine.

What was also nice was that at the time of booking, we had the change to add a note as to the occasion of our visit. As I told them it was our 1 year anniversary, we were congratulated by the doorman on our anniversary, and also presented with a card and cakes!

The service was impeccable, the atmosphere was delightful and I could not recommend the place highly enough. If you like swing music, cocktails and all things 40's, then this is the place to come. The cocktails, as you can see from the menu are not the cheapest, but it is worth paying for the atmosphere in which you get to enjoy them.

Cannot wait to go back again. Toodle pip old bean!

-x- LMDW -x-

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