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5 top places to drink a Negroni in London

5 top places to drink a Negroni in London

I discovered the pleasures of a well-mixed Negroni a couple of years ago and have been addicted to them ever since. A Negroni is a cocktail made with one part gin, Campari and vermouth, served over ice, usually with a slice of orange. It’s not for the faint-hearted. Dry and packing a pretty punch, with no mixer this is all thriller, no filler. The last few years have seen Negronis become increasingly fashionable, and you’ll likely find one on most cocktail menus throughout town. Here are 5 of my top picks:

Bar Termini
Bar Termini is THE place to go for a Negroni.  It’s the where I popped my Negroni cherry and it’s where I return to time and time again. I’ve written more extensively about Bar Termini elsewhere but, suffice to say, it’s a sexy little Italian number that serves coffee by day and cocktails by night. The drinks in this tiny little enclave of Continental Europe are strong, served by slick white-jacketed waiters. Work your way through their sublime range of pre-mixed Negronis and pretend that you’re living la dolce vita in Italy.
7 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JE

The Little Bar
I was so excited when this place opened in my ‘hood of Tooting. Like Bar Termini, it takes its inspiration from the bars of the Continent as well as being a little on the small side. You can find a staggering 8 versions of the Negroni on their menu and I strongly recommend holing up here and working your way through them all. The staff are lovely, the vibe is relaxed and the pound shops of Tooting could not feel further away (actually they probably could).
145 Mitcham Road, SW17 9PE

Franks Cafe
Franks is one massive hipster cliche. Yes, it’s in Peckham. Yes, it’s on the roof of a multi-story carpark. Yes, it’s Instagram heaven (especially the pink stairwells). But it really is a cracking spot to drink a Negroni. These guys know their shit when it comes to “grown up cocktails” (as I like to call them). You know, the cocktails that actually taste alcoholic and don’t come decorated with a paper parasol. Expect to find Campari, Aperol, vermouth and port on the menu here. It’s only open during the summer and you can’t book, so get there early to grab one of the tables or just prop up one of the shelves around the perimeter and take in the amazing view.
Peckham Multi-story Car Park, 95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST

The Portobello Star
I rarely venture “out west” but the Portobello Star is worth the Tube trek. As it’s home to Portobello Road Gin, you would expect them to be able to mix a mean Negroni. And they do. Perfectly dry and refreshing, their Negronis are smooth sippin’. Escape the tourist-thronged mayhem of Portobello Road and dive into this discrete and dimly lit drinking den for ace cocktails or one of the best G&Ts in town.
171 Portobello Road, W11 2DY

68 and Boston
The bar with the split personality. On the ground floor you’ll find a wine bar; upstairs is a cocktail lounge. Unsurprisingly, it’s the cocktails that draw me in. A warren of luxuriously furnished rooms awaits you, as does a stellar cocktail menu. Their Negroni is one of the best in town by far. You’d be forgiven for thinking that making a drink using only three ingredients is a doddle; however, I’ve had my fair share of nasty Negronis. There are no extra flourishes involved, no mixers to mask the taste. 68 and Boston get it bang on.
5 Greek Street, W1D 4DD

But you should also visit….
Campania
Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet of Curiosities
Little Bird 

Where’s your favourite spot for a Negroni? Let me know in the comments!

Artusi

Artusi

Marinated octopus salad at Artusi

London’s a strange one.  You move here all bright eyed and bushy tailed, excited by the endless variety and eager to explore all that the capital has to offer.  Fast forward several years and you find that the city has shrunk to a bubble of “home” and “work”.  That’s why it’s great to suddenly find an excuse to venture beyond the borders of your own little world.  For me, that excuse has been flat-hunting – and my search took me to Peckham and Artusi.

Peckham’s association with Only Fools and Horses is long gone.  These days you’re more likely to find a beardy hipster sipping on a Negroni instead of Del Boy knocking back a Pina Colada.  A clutch of enticing restaurants and bars has emerged, several of which have made it onto various “best in London” lists.  Artusi is one such place, oozing minimalist chic in both its decor and its Italian-inspired menu.  The menu is just a handful of dishes on a chalkboard yet it’s attention-grabbing nonetheless.  It changes on a regular basis but you’re likely to find risque treats like pigs head and ox heart alongside more vanilla pasta options.

I visited on one of those rare roasting summer days so, booze-hound that I am, the first thing I needed was a glass of very chilled wine.  The helpful waiter knew exactly what would fit the bill and returned with a gorgeously dry Sicilian white.  This was the perfect accompaniment to my starter of marinated octopus salad.  The octopus was served alongside potatoes, capers, parsley and a generous slug of olive oil.  It was a fabulously fresh and summery dish, transporting me straight to the Mediterranean.  Special shout out for the olive oil which was outstanding.  It’s clear that Artusi takes great pride in the quality of their ingredients.  This was a simple dish with nowhere to hide and they pulled it off.

Courgette and chili fusilli at Artusi

As Artusi is renowned for its fresh pasta, I had high expectations for my fusilli with courgette and chili.  Sadly though, it really wasn’t anything special.   Sure, it was pleasant enough and the addition of mint was a great touch.  However, I didn’t get any “oomph” from the chili and the whole thing could have done with a generous smattering of garlic.  Overall, it was just a bland, rather ordinary bowl of pasta.

Things improved with dessert.  With a choice between cake and sorbet, I chose cake – obvs!  The cake in question was a torta di caprese, which came prettily presented with cherries, creme fraiche and crushed biscuit.  Flourless sponges can sometimes be a bit on the dense side, but this one was fluffy chocolate heaven.  A lovely zingy punch was provided by the addition of orange zest to the cherries.  This one simple twist lifted the whole dish.

Capri cake with cherries and creme fraiche

Artusi is teeny tiny, so either get there early or book ahead.  I loved the whole unassuming vibe of the place; the spartan decor, the deceptively casual menu.  If you’re already in the neighbourhood and you’re looking for a decent place to eat then go for it.  However, is the food worth braving Southern Rail for a special trip to Peckham?  Well, it didn’t set my world on fire so I remain unconvinced.  Maybe a second visit is required as the flat hunt continues.  Or will my search for an affordable property lead me in an entirely different direction….?

Artusi, 161 Bellenden Road, SE15 4DH
£31 for three courses plus wine (service not included)

Artusi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato