This new Soho nightspot offers a compact list of cocktails, the promise of desserts, and a rota of DJs throughout the week.
Poor old pud: always the bridesmaid, never the bride. But after years of being picked last, dessert’s finally getting a white wedding, as going out in the evening specifically for a sweet has become a bit of a ‘thing’.
It started innocently enough, with gelaterias and cafés staying open until late, for people-watching until the small hours. Then came the ‘dessert bars’ in pâtisseries and restaurants. Recently a dedicated pudding bar pop-up (called the Pudding Bar) set up shop in Soho. And now we have this, a permanent ‘cocktail and dessert bar’.
Once home to The Player bar, Basement Sate still looks and feels like a low-key cocktail bar – but gives pudding equal billing.
Half the menu lists cocktails, the other, ambitious desserts. But while our £11 ‘chocolatine’ (a celebration of cocoa in all of its forms, from plain slivers and mousses to cakes and brownie bites), was outstanding, others were outlandish. The £8 ‘London-Brest’, a tenuous, deconstructed take on the Paris-Brest (choux pastry with a praline cream centre), was actually a messy, ill-judged jumble.
Cocktails were equally hit-and-miss: our l’Entrée des Artistes, a milk-based rum and sherry cocktail infused with salted caramel and bitter notes of coffee (£11), was exceptional. But when asked to create a sour-style mocktail (£7), the handsome bartender simply omitted the booze from an existing drink, thereby removing its balance and rendering it sickly sweet.
Basement Sate’s execution doesn’t live up to the new-trend hype, so the honeymoon period for this pudding bar might, we fear, be over all too soon.