Any Gin fans in da haus?? If that’s you then you’ll be excited to know that there is a rather fine Gin (hotel/bar and 2 x restaurant) establishment alive and kicking down in Notting Hill. I’ve been twice now and I love it. Actually that’s an understatement.
Read on to hear more about the place that served me the best damn cocktail I’ve had in my whole life.
It’s Sunday and it’s raining in Notting Hill, London. We’ve taken in a movie at The Electric and now we are heading across the road to the newly opened Gin Hotel – The Distillery. Two of my favourite things combined right there! This majestic, pale blue building is home to 2 bars /restaurants: The Resting Room and Gin Tonica upstairs. The venue also has 3 gorgeous, mid-century modern inspired rooms available to book. I attempted to book one the night we went to eat but they fill up weeks in advance! 🙁 The venue also has a working distillery, a gin museum and off-licence too.
We kick things off with a cocktail in The Resting Room whilst we wait for our table to be readied.
The bartender is a chatty and enthusiastic one and takes us through the spirit list. They have so much choice and are the only place in Europe with barrels of ageing spirits on tap. But let’s not mess about; I’m here for the gin! Of which they have hundreds of varieties in house. We kick things or with a couple of Gin Sours; delicious and refreshing.
We are taken upstairs to Gin Tonica. – a pale blue Spanish bar & kitchen with it’s design based on a European grand apartment. Here the drinks list specializes in ‘GinTonic Plus’ cocktails that take the humble G&T to the next level. All in a traditional Copa De Balón (balloon goblet glass).
We were sat by the window with all the light for my photos however it was a tad chilly. When I return later on in the year I will be requesting the same table though because I can’t think of anything sweeter than flinging that window open on a hot summers day and sipping gin whilst Portobello Road bustles below me.
The speciality here is Spanish style gin. My dining partner is half Spanish and had no idea Spaniards are so big on their Gin. I look at him disdainfully, like the Gin expert I suddenly think I am.
This is where Gin Tonica comes into it’s own. My mouth is watering reading the gin cocktails list. We opt first for the The Larrios and the Bontanist, which arrive in mighty goblets adorned with orange peel, apple and peppercorn. My friends, if you think you’ve tasted a decent G&T in the past I can assure it’s got nothing on these ones. I find myself slurping it down so fast so I can choose another. GIN-TOPIA!
The menu is a selection of tapas style dishes, they recommended between 5-6 plates to share.
PAN CATALAN – classic tomato bread with garlic oil and sea salt. Fresh and tasty.
MEJILLA DE CERDO – Braised pigs cheeks in sherry with potato puree. Tender and super succulent.
SOLLOMILLO – Josper grilled Galician sirloin steak. Probably the best cut of Sirloin I’ve ever tasted.
CROQUETAS CON QUESO – Spanish cheese herbs served with a paprika aioli. Nice and fresh cant really go wrong.
CALAMARIES FRITAS – served with aioli gremolata. Hot and fresh a with crispy, light batter.
BACALAO PIL PUL – House salted cod grilled in the jopser with pil pil sauce.
GAMBAS – Tiger prawns shells on and super big garlic and herby.
RISOTTO – made with orzo (tiny pasta) not ricE in smoked Spanish cheese and truffle oil. This was one of my fav dishes! Rich and tasty.
PATATAS BRAVAS – served in the classic way with aioli and tomato sauce. Can’t go wrong.
We finish off the meal with another two G&Ts this time a Nordes Atlantic Galician Gin. I’m honestly struggling to put into words how fucking amazing this drink tasted. It was sweetened with Hibiscus Liqueur and had ginger bitters and Hibiscus tonic. It was fresh like fizzy icy raspberries, the gin still giving it the botanical herby-ness; basically the best thing I’ve ever drunk and the reason that Gin Tonica will be my favourite summer drinking spot of 2017.
In honour of the Distillery’s first bank holiday they are serving a special The Not Cross Bun Gin Martini; Portobello Road Gin stirred with raisin-infused dry vermouth and garnished with a lemon cross. Available Monday to Friday.
020 3034 2233
186 Portobello Road