Punch Room at the London Edition
© Britta Jaschinski
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Fri Nov 22 2013
As with sherry and the pina colada, the ’70s wreaked untold damage upon the reputation of punch. But, like sherry, this oldest of all mixed drinks is being reappraised and can be appreciated without a Seekers soundtrack (New or Old) or the pregnant clink of car keys hitting the fruit bowl. At the plush new London Edition hotel in Fitzrovia, there’s a whole bar devoted to punch. It’s a discreet, snug, oak-panelled space, understated in comparison to the impressively ostentatious Lobby Bar at the front. It’s also reservations-only (ring in advance).
In the seventeenth century, when punch was introduced to the West, it always contained five ingredients (one of which was definitely not tinned fruit salad): an alcohol base, tea – reflecting the drink’s Indian roots – sugar to sweeten, lemon to sour, and spice. The twenty-first-century Punch Room is fairly faithful to this tradition: the tropical Barbadian Punch is made with Anchor genever (Dutch gin), coconut water, lime, demerara and bitters; the house blend is a more subtle blend of London gin, lemon, oak moss syrup, orange blossom water and jasmine tea. The menu is focused, with only eight punches and a daily changing variety – it’s good to see a bar serving a speciality with such conviction and confidence.
And the punches themselves are great: punchy, of course, balanced, complex and drinkable enough to banish all memories of moustachioed men with their arm round someone else’s wife ladling violently alcoholic Um Bongo from a patterned bowl. One look at the suavity of the Edition, however, will tell you that you certainly won’t be buying at ’70s prices – getting punch drunk here is a balance-draining experience.
Reviewed by Euan Ferguson
Punch Room at the London Edition 10 Berners St