The name makes this Shoreditch venue sound more like a casual beach haunt rather than a velvet-draped, three-floor stomping ground. But don’t be fooled: guests come here for the glamorous Porn Star Martinis, the City boy company and the jam-packed dance floor on the weekends. Not many know it, but the food is also a reason to visit: the chefs serve up seasonal British produce all year round, think excellent steaks, spring risotto and rolled Cornish sole. Thirsty Thursday was calling, so I hopped on the Overground and headed to East London for a drink and a bite. Here’s what I thought…
Around the corner from Shoreditch station and 100 metres or so from Box Park lies Beach Blanket Babylon. It’s painted top to toe in black and decorated with a single Union Jack flag and flashing neon sign reading BBB. We’ve arrived in Shoreditch! The restaurant itself is a 70-seated Mezzanine, overlooking a large marble, 360 degree bar. The lights are dimmed but fairy lights have been scattered liberally, so you can still make out the opulent interior and quirky furnishings.
We were greeted with a smile and asked if we’d like a drink at the bar before we sat down to dinner, to which we agreed. It’s clear to see from the cocktail menu - and the way the bartenders shake and stir - that the emphasis here is on really well made drinks. I chose a ‘Hanging Gardens of…’ while scanning the menu, which was a refreshing, fruity mix of gin, crushed apples, cranberry and elderflower. The chatty barmen tell us the Babylon Cooler is a popular choice, which is a blend of vodka and elderflower liqueur, mixed with grapes, lychee, fresh lemongrass and topped with bubbles.
When we finished our drinks we headed over to the restaurant as our food was arriving: beef burger with melted cheddar cheese and bacon and fish ‘n’ chips. The menu reads like posh pub grub but the food is of great qualify and cooked really well. My fish was crispy haddock and mammoth in proportion, the mushy peas were the perfect creamy consistency and the tartare sauce was homemade. We had mac ‘n’ cheese on the side, (not that we needed it), which was rich and cheesy. Full marks.
Food was scoffed down in record timing as we were keen to get back to the bar area to sample another of their delicious cocktails. Beach Blanket Babylon is packed with twenty-somethings and City slickers up for a good time, and the perfect setting for Thirsty Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday!
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