Seek and ye shall find
Like some of the other great cocktail bars in
Panda and Sons. Deliberately set up as a modern day
speakeasy - a gin joint that pretends to be something else to fool the Killjoys
and Miseries of the prohibition era - the façade is reminiscent of some dodgy
Once inside there are other little touches to make you smile - a lamp made from an old fashioned hairdryer that used to be used for your granny's shampoo and set, a bar where most of the bottles are kept in glass fronted cabinets, some stonking facial hair on the barkeeps, a drinks list that's more an interesting read than just a menu and cocktails served in cute glasses under smoke filled bell jars! And that's where Panda and Sons comes into its own, both in the quirkiness of their cocktails and their sheer quality.
At this point I have to own up, following the initial visit to do the review D and I have
already returned to sample some more of their creations. I just had to go back to try the 'Birdcage' (￡8.00) once I'd seen it served. This is the one that's not just smoke and bell jars, it's a damn fine cocktail too! D enjoyed the “Be Yourself, Relax & Return Home" (￡7.50) so much it seemed a shame not to go back and have another. A great Hendricks Gin based cocktail served 'smoking' via a small carafe. Try it and you'll see what I mean.
During our first visit (the actual review!) we sampled some of their other fine drinks. Liquid Brunch (￡15.00), a subtle vodka based cocktail for three served in a teapot with a peppermint and lemon oshibori (hand towel). The Boulevardier (￡7.50), a must for lovers of Manhattans and Negronis; a barrel aged cocktail with rye, bourbon, Campari and Byrrh. And finally, something I'd never really experienced before, a cocktail made with sherry and no spirit; the Bamboo Cocktail (￡7.00), a gorgeous little sipper concocted from dry vermouth, Pedro Ximenez, orange and Angostura bitters. I suspect this will become my digestif of choice now.
Although it's slightly (and I mean ever so slightly) off the beaten track, it's well worth seeking out that strange looking barbershop at the west end of Queen Street and indulge yourself in some rather nifty libations. (M Earl)
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