The Drift – part of Drake & Morgan’s successful City chain, of which The Anthologist and The Folly are part – is one of those bars that is even busy on a Monday. ‘Monday is the new Friday,’ comments a waiter, breezily. Are we now so desperate for a drink it has come to this?
The bar, with all the same quirks at the others, boasts fruit pastilles in the ladies, fresh basil as tablepieces and a towering shelving unit stacked with bright white crockery and teapots. There’s cubbyholes styled as birdcages, and a huge aquarium visible through the glass. It’s après-ski meets slick rooftop bar.
But why stop at serving cocktails and a decent wine list (of which it does both, the skinny rose martini especially is worth noting, FYI)? The Drift is bringing back the 1970s with its flambé menu: think antiquated dinner parties, cord flares and bouffant hair, but with food to match.
As it transpires, not many foods take easily to being fried in something 40% proof, not that it matters. The scampi mornay – flamed with cognac, in a creamy cheese and chilli sauce – went down in a matter of seconds. I like food, I like booze: bringing them together is just the best thing EVA. (Watching it being done is also a treat, with a dedicated chef and tall flames rippling from the pan – like the City’s version of Man vs Food.)
The mains on offers are steak diane flamed with cognac, and a beef stroganoff, also flamed with cognac, both of which are a plate of drunken heaven. One word of warning here, though: spirits and the rich sauce, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Monday is, apparently, the new Friday. Not only is the food flamed with alcohol, the dishes come paired with flaming cocktails. Flaming mai tais, a rum punch and an old fashioned (among others, I hasten to add) appeared, all lit and beautifully presented. Let me just remind you again: it’s 8.30 on a MONDAY night.
Intoxicated food must be EC4’s new obsession. And, since you ask, Tuesday morning was painful.