Thursday, 24 March 2011

Charming, charismatic, cool: Callooh Callay

I don’t usually blog about bars, but I’m making an exception, for a fantastic cocktail club I had the pleasure of going to at the weekend: Callooh Callay. Based in the heart of all that is trendy and cool, Shoreditch, when you first enter the bar, it seems kind of normal, and kind of small. However, when you book a table in advance – that’s when it becomes kind of special.

In the corner stands what looks like, a big old fashioned wardrobe. On closer inspection however, you discover it’s a door, which leads you another bar, giving you a feeling like you’ve just entered Narnia. The bar was, for want of a better word, amazing! There were baths that had been cut in half and turned into seats and other eclectic furniture. Even better, then there is yet another smaller, even further hidden, totally exclusive bar upstairs.  Thankfully, it didn’t turn out to be style over substance; the menu was phenomenal, it had all the usual cocktails you’d expect, with many more that you’d never heard of.

We started with a glass of Ruinart Rose, a stunning Champagne. Founded in 1729, the House of Ruinart is reputedly the oldest Champagne house. Originally created by the Benedictine Monk Dom Thierry Ruinart, he did so in response to the enthusiasm of the aristocratic royal circles for the tipple. The business was then taken over and developed by his brother and nephew, both of whom were called Nicolas, who moved the family business away from the cloth trade in 1735, to solely focus on the Champagne business.

It had wonderfully youthful aromas of Strawberries, Raspberries and Red Currants; you got all these on the palate with a great level of acidity and wonderfully fine bubbles. A blend of 45% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs and 55% Pinot Noir from Montagne de Reims, it has a bright Salmon Pink colour, which was a little bit difficult to tell in the club, but didn’t take away from the wonderful taste. Even the bottle screamed class and individuality, instead of a traditional Champagne bottle; it was a shorter, dumpy bottle adding to the overall allure of it.

Is this a Champagne that I’d recommend? Absolutely! It was beautifully balanced with wonderful flavours that I could have kept drinking all night long and I definitely will be next time I go!

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