LONDON BARS – G before Tea, at G and Tea, a historic tour of gin in Canary Wharf

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 19.30.00Now the Wharf can be a sterile place, and Wharf hotels even worse, so having worked in the financial matrix for many a year, I consider myself to be an aficionado of the terrain and offerings of this glass jungle. When I was asked to visit the new bar at the Marriott hotel, Canary Wharf, I almost declined but out of curiosity more than anything I decided to give it a whirl. OK so yet again I find myself eating my words ,as I can happily report that despite the uniform surrounds of the Marriott, this bar is really offering something different to the Wharf scene – something more refined and eclectic and with an injection of much needed passion.

This bar is really offering something different to the Wharf scene – something more refined and eclectic and with an injection of much needed passion.

So we rocked up to the hotel on an extremely blustery day, almost being blown out of the hotel before we’d even set foot in it, and as a result of this were more than welcoming of a stiff drink – and boy did we get one!

The décor prescribes to the usual hotel standard – pretty nondescript, but the bar itself is lovely and very classic. Spirits line the wall and four large glass kettles sit on the bar each containing a house-mixed infusion that is used in the multitude of gin cocktails on offer.

Initially we were guided through a gin tasting session by the head barman of G and Tea; a rather charming Dutchman called Robert whose gin knowledge seemed to know no bounds. After sitting at the extensive bar (and by that I mean these guys have over 100 gins, four gin infusions plus the other usual fare on offer), he took one look at us and picked us out three gins that he thought we’d enjoy.

We were guided through a gin tasting session by the head barman of G and Tea; a rather charming Dutchman called Robert whose gin knowledge seemed to know no bounds.

Gin neat is quite a trip! When mixed with tonic it’s quite the summer drink but neat.. my my my it packs a punch! The first gin he gave us was a new gin, pre infused with berries and more of a ladies drink, the second a more traditional gin and the third, a very historical gin more in keeping with the original botanical recipe. Surprisingly, you could REALLY tell the difference between the three, but wow, they were strong!

Finally, before we headed for Tea, we were treated to a cocktail by Robert. I had a straight up gin martini whilst my friend had a cocktail that was a gin-based answer to an “Old Fashioned”. The gin used in this tastes like WHISKEY – amazing! We couldn’t tell the difference!After a friendly goodbye, and a promise from Robert for a sloe gin with dessert, we swished from the bar to the restaurant next door.

Bottom line – a real revelation. Friendly, extremely knowledgeable bar staff and a great modern slant on the olden day gin palaces. Well worth a spin if you’re looking for something more refined in the area and a definite go to for summer where Robert’s concoctions can be enjoyed outside on the terrace – wind permitting!

http://manhattangrill.co.uk/

G & Tea, London Marriott Hotel, West India Quay, 22 Hertsmere Road, London E14 4ED

Heart London 5 * Rating

Drinks 5

Atmosphere 5

Décor 3

Service 4

Emma, Heart London Magazine

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