This week I've dropped into a few other places that have been nice to discover.
Tucked around the corner from Liverpool Street, this kitchen-come-canteen is a cosy place for after-work drinks. Fronted by glass, filled with chunky wooden tables, tops and benches, there's a continental feel to the place, something that is echoed in the collection of artfully mismatched crockery, wall adornments and rustic blackboards. I had a sauvignon blanc - perfectly fruity and cold - but rather pricey at £6 for a small (as in 125ml small) glass. I didn't eat but the menu is full of seasonal ingredients, sharing platters, and larger dishes with an European vibe that looked very tempting. A little overpriced perhaps but that comes with the Liverpool Street/City/Spitalfields territory.
Another East Central brasserie, The Luxe is right in the heart of Spitalfields. Big open ceilings and large windows on three sides complement the chunky bar and industrial feel that's seemingly so popular these days. A quick Google reveals this to be a John Torode place in conjunction with the Smiths of Smithfields team, with the intention to be a place that people would love 'to eat, drink and play in...and buy some flowers' (it used to be a flower market in a former life). It was fairly buzzy (but not too busy) when we stepped in with a DJ playing some disco-inspired tracks (on trend indeed) at a volume that was a little higher than necessary (less on trend). Our bar girl struggled to hear our order, find our order, complete our order and then explain sufficiently why one of our identical glasses of wine had less in it than the other. Apparently there's a daily happy hour (not clear anywhere in the place) and food is served in various guises over the various floors, depending on what you're after (and a live music downstairs). On reflection, it looks quite a promising place but I wasn't quite convinced when I was there - maybe a return visit will swing my mind.
Described as the largest bar in London, The Porterhouse is split over twelve different levels in the heart of Covent Garden. Ranging from booths to benches, this place fills up fast. A relaxed atmosphere definitely helps and an impressive list of available beers (this is a brewhouse after all) is backed up with the offer of some cocktails and wine for those preferring grape over grain. Quick service, decent prices and a friendly crowd, Porterhouse is obviously doing something right as it manages to feel intimately busy despite its size. I'm not sure if I'd make it a regular but this is a great place to take a friend who wants a proper pint or three.