Looking for bars in central London? Read our review of Clifford's, a bar and restaurant with a fine line in thoughtfully crafted cocktails
Clifford's in a nutshell: A modern British outfit off Fleet Street, serving waste-conscious cocktails. Click here for our round up of the UK's most sustainable restaurants.
Where is it? A nine-minute walk from Temple underground station.
What's the vibe?
Ex-Harwood Arms chef Gemma Ellis opened Clifford's earlier this year, recently adding a late-night cocktail and bar snacks menu. The bar is essentially a corner of the subterranean restaurant (itself a cosy, candlelit space with dark-blue walls and salvaged vintage lighting), with a few high tables and stools. As a result, it shares the lively atmosphere of the surrounding dining space.
What's the drinks menu like at Clifford's?
Ellis has crafted a seasonal and sustainably minded menu of sweet and savoury cocktails using anything from left-over kitchen produce to fruit donated from friends' gardens. Take the Tomartini, for example, which is made using a consommé of overripe tomatoes.
Which cocktails to order?
Drinks at Clifford's are light and elegant. The aforementioned Tomartini combines that – intense, savoury – consommé with chilli and lemon. It’s a bloody mary's lighter, peppier cousin. Check out our martini recipes here.
My Darling Clementine (El Jimador tequila, Cointreau, clementine and lime) was another softer riff on a classic – this time a margarita – with delicate citrus and floral notes.
That Old Chestnut was a wintry take on an old fashioned, with chestnut-infused whisky (spotted in a jar on the bar), brown sugar and Angostura bitters – nutty, warming and deliciously sippable.
Is there any food?
The bar snacks menu is as thoughtfully crafted as the cocktail menu, using food scraps from the kitchen and local produce, as well as the pickles, ferments and jams that are another of the head chef's signatures (evidence of which can be seen in colourful jars stacked on shelves at one end of the restaurant). Highlights included silky gyoza filled with sticky, gamey braised offcuts from venison butchered on-site, in a pickled walnut dressing; super-light whipped cod's roe to be scooped up on golden slivers of toast; and compressed pig's head deep-fried into crispy croquette-like creations.
Where to go nearby for dinner: If you don't move on to the restaurant proper for dinner then it's a six-minute walk to Yen for handmade soba noodles.
Price: From £9 for a cocktail
Words by Hannah Guinness
Photographs by Ola Smit