As someone who likes to eat and drink – and often combine both of those activities into an evening out, it’s always surprised me that it’s almost impossible to find a cool drinking spot that does incredible food. Think back (if you can…) to most of your nights out. Either you end up somewhere with amazing cocktails and craic where the food is an afterthought or you go for an top notch dinner out, but miss out on a laid back atmosphere and imaginative drinks. It’s the eternal problem for us gluttons who just can’t help wanting it all.
But actually the solution is simple. What you need is a top class restaurant that’ll put their top chef to work on creating an ultimate list of perfect relaxed classics to eat at the bar or your table, accompanied by a few well-mixed drinks and some good friends. But like most things that sound simple, when it comes to actually finding a restaurant like that, it’s anything but. That’s probably why the new bar food menu at Bohemia is so exciting.
Think of a list of your favourite foods to eat while you’re drinking – steaks, oysters, scallops, the best burgers or even a Massaman curry – then imagine it given a Michelin star touch and served at tables in Bohemia’s sleek bar with luxury leather chairs to sink back into. You won’t want to leave. We certainly didn’t when we got a preview of the new bar food menu that launches this month.
A perfect steak tartare – Scottish and fillet of course – comes beautifully presented on a board with chopped onion, sea salt, capers and cornichons and slices of soda bread to make your own delicious tartare bruschetta. Jersey scallops in their shell arrive lined up on a salt-sprinkled slate board and are served Mornay-style with a melting grilled cheese topping and zesty ceviche vegetables on the side. We tried forkfuls of the homemade fish pie which is a warm comforting hug of a dish, and fought over who got to finish the ‘piggy burger’ delivered in a cloud of heady truffle aromas and served with slices of apple and a mini champagne bucket of skinny fries. It’s genius gastronomy, and guess what – it tastes amazing with drinks. Not so hungry? Bohemia have kept the lighter side to their menu going with a whole selection of ‘light bites’ from open sandwiches, salt beef and gherkins on granary and toasted ciabatta sandwiches to the incredible ale-y Welsh rarebit with boudin noir and cured bacon. Now if that doesn’t put hairs on your chest, I don’t know what will.
The desserts haven’t missed the Bohemia treatment, and you can tell Shaun Rankin’s got a bit of a sweet tooth when you try the strawberry and white chocolate trifle… it’s divine. Neither my tasting partner nor I could be described as regular triflers, but we’d make an exception for this light and luscious lovely, with its sweet strawberries melting into the white chocolate.
By the time you’re reading this magazine, the brand new bar menu will be available every day for lunch and in the evenings from 6pm. And with the bar menu prices veering closer to casual dining than fine dining, it looks set to be a popular after work, have-a-few-drinks-and-stay-for-dinner destination. You can soak up some boutique hotel style at the weekend too, with their three-course Sunday lunch menu, and then spend all afternoon chilling out with a cognac or two in their boutique bespoke leather chairs.
The Bohemia bar menu was a big hit with us. Traditional gutsy drinking food given a twist by a Michelin-starred chef, and served in a chic bar? It’s a winner. Now we just have to work out a way to move Gallery Towers closer…