This is an epically overdue review and for that I am truly sorry Evans & Peel. Please don’t shoot me.
I made my way down to Earl’s Court to meet some Yelpers for a quiet drink in one of London’s newer speakeasies. Unlike most of the ones that have popped up in town, this one is actually pretty tricky to find. The entrance is off on a side street and there is literally no indication that this place exists beyond the lettering on the door. You have to hit a buzzer and they answer in perfect character “Evans & Peel Detective Agency, how can we help you?”. Only if you tell them you have an appointment will they buzz you downstairs.
Upon getting there, I found myself in a small office with book-covered walls and a smiling chap who looked straight out of the 1920s. After quizzing me on my “appointment” and what case I wanted to bring forth (I love this type of stuff), he finally let me in to the bar where I found the Yelpers waiting for me and already one drink in.
I immediately opted for the test of any good prohibition style bar – a Sazerac. The one the whizz kids behind the bar came up with was about as traditional as you can get. What really made it shine was the care taken to balance the sweetness of the sugar with the bite of the bitters and the burn of the rye. Even the dilution was carefully measured to ensure the right amount of liquid to solid ice. I loved it and if it wasn’t for something to come later, it would have been my favourite drink of the night.
Before we get to that though, let’s talk food. We selected a range of sliders to try and I also sprung for the smoked cheesecake. The sliders overall were a disappointment with a fairly bland taste and singularly lacking in any sauce. They are also quite small so for £5 represent truly terrible value. The smoked cheesecake was very interesting and paired well with my Sazerac but probably with little else. The silky smooth cheesecake has an intense smoky flavour and aroma which would overwhelm most of the fruitier cocktails my drinking buddies opted for and I don’t think it would suit the lighter palate either.
Finally, the best bit. After the Yelpers had left, I spotted a couple of my Aussie friends propping up the bar while in intense discussion with one of the bartenders. I went to say hi and was promptly persuaded to stay for one more drink – and not just any old drink – a pink peppercorn old fashioned. How to describe this wonderful concoction of smoky whiskey, fragrant orange peel, and floral peppercorns with just a hint of spicy bite? Well that actually did it quite well so let’s stick with that. It was an exceptional drink that teased every taste without overwhelming your senses. Well done, sir!
I’ve also got to give points to the bartender for patiently walking through a range of possible taste combinations for my friend’s gin martini. She couldn’t decide quite what she wanted but by process of elimination they ended up with the perfect martini.
Overall, E&P is a fun place to while away an evening drinking and chatting. Yes the drinks are pricey, but the atmosphere is worth it and they are strong enough you won’t last for more than a couple. That being said, eat ahead of time as I wouldn’t bother splashing out on the food if you can help it.
310c Earl’s Court Road
London SW5 9BA
Areas: South Kensington, Earls Court
020 7373 3573