Smoked flavours are having a moment in cocktail culture and the growing trend has now found it’s way to The Royal Exchange’s Threadneedle Bar. We couldn’t wait to see what the bartenders were concocting using the distinctive smell of smoke to take their creative cocktails to the next level.
The Royal Exchange is situated in the heart of The City, in one of London’s most iconic buildings. The Grand Café, Threadneedle Bar and Gallery offer a wonderful selection of drinks and light bites with Sauterelle delivering sophisticated dining at its best.
The brand new range of smoky cocktails on the bar’s drinks menu offers smokiness to cocktail aficionados in two ways: through intrinsically smoky ingredients such as whisky and mezcal which feature prominently throughout the menu, and by infusing key serves with wood smoke for a robust flavour and unique immersive experience.
Each cocktail boasts its own distinct personality and has been carefully crafted for depth of character and complexity. We sat down and let our smoky cocktails infuse whilst we soaked up the atmosphere.
I chose the “Lumberjack” which has Woodford Reserve infused with bacon. This drink is a must try and is blended with maple syrup, orange and angostura bitters. The cocktail is then left to infuse with smoked flavoured wood chip and after smoking transferred to a glass with a crispy rasher of streaky bacon! This cocktail is truly inspired and well thought through. The infusion of bacon transforms the taste of the Woodfood Reserve and leaves a salty note that is beautifully complimented by the sweet taste of the maple syrup.
We also sampled “The Art of Rum” which sees Ron Zacapa 23yo mixed with cherry liqueur, banana syrup and orange bitters. The blend of fruity flavours match well with the rum and the all-important smoky flavouring adds a deeper dimension to the drink.
Next up we were invited to sample a brighter smoky concoction. As we waited for our drinks to soak up the smoky flavour, the glowing light coaster added to the theatre of the occasion.
I tried the “Smoky Mandarin” which blends Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky with Mandarin Napoleon liqueur and Talisker 10yo which is then sweetened with cinnamon sugar.
The “Mexican Negroni” which is decorated with a chilli sees Mezcal mixed with Campari and Martini Rosso to give this classic cocktail an interesting twist.
The Threadneedle Bar has a vibrant and exciting cocktail menu that has clearly been thought through by passionate bartenders Santi Trimarchi and Leonardo Bommarito. Both are very skilled in their field and their dedication shows and is highlighted with every sip of finely crafted cocktails perfectly blended to make you yearn for another sip.
Before we left Sloan couldn’t resist a snap with Santi and Leonardo whilst thanking them for a lovely experience and congratulating them on their smoky endeavours.
Following the evening’s theatrical prelude at the bar, we moved on to Sauterelle for dinner. Situated on the mezzanine level of the Royal Exchange, the restaurant delivers sophisticated dining at its best. Ingredients are sourced from the Mediterranean and Britain, with a focus on sustainable produce.
Overlooking the Grand Café and beautiful boutique lined courtyard, Sauterelle’s fine dining room offers a fresh modern menu for the spring season drawing inspiration from the repertoire and flavours of Provence and Liguria.
We started with the Polpo alla luciana which brings together octopus, stracciatella, fresh chilli and sour tomato cream. The dish is visually pleasing and the octopus is cooked sous-vide until it is soft and tender. A nice light and fresh dish to whet our appetite.
My dining companion had the Tartare di vitello which consisted of veal, quails egg, silver anchovies and black raisin mustard. This dish worked really well with the flavour of the veal balanced by the anchovies and the quails egg added a golden surprise.
For the main event we were recommended the Roasted Stone Bass with pantelleria capers, shallots, polenta, and Pinot Grigio. We were not disappointed, the fish was well seasoned and the large flakes of fish fell away perfectly allowing the flavours of the dish to combine and tantalise the taste buds.
The Pistachio crusted lamb with salsify, chicory, and a mosto cotto reduction is a must try! The lamb is soft all the way through and has its flavour locked in. The pistachio crust is very generous and is a nice element to the dish.
We were recommended the Beetroot risotto which is made from roasted beetroot, blue cheese and black truffle. This risotto is a treat for any creamy risotto lover. The rice is soft and the flavours of beetroot and blue cheese make this dish a moreish delight. The black truffle adds another dimension and bringing the flavours together is a treat worth trying.
What an indulgent dessert the Rum Baba with Rhum syrup and chantilly cream is a must for any Rum lovers. The portion is generous and maybe one worth avoiding if you are driving!.
We finished with the Millefoglie al limon which has lemon meringue cream and raspberries layered within the pastry. A simple dish that is oh so simply good. This dish brought to an end a beautiful evening.
At Sauterelle, the highest quality of restaurant experience is offered in an intimate and relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant design is effortlessly chic and the glazed arches offer spectacular views of both Bank and the historic courtyard below near Bank in the City.
The Royal Exchange / Threadneedle Bar / Sauterelle
Royal Exchange, London EC3V 3LR
020 7618 2480