Alpha Beta Bar (CLOSED)
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Mr Lyan cocktails within fusion restaurant The Modern Pantry.
Please note, Alpha Beta Bar is now closed. Time Out London Editors, December 2017.
London has reached peak aperitivo. The Italian way of doing drinks has been fast-adopted in bars around town, with spritzes and cicchetti the new two pints of lager and a packet of crisps. But at Alpha Beta Bar, within the City branch of all-day fusion restaurant and foodie go-to The Modern Pantry, cocktails have been dreamed up by Dandelyan’s founder Ryan Chetiyawardana – aka Mr Lyan, one of the most celebrated bar stars in town – and are paired with snacks devised by mega-chef Anna Hansen.
Of course, the drinks are high concept. In honour of her half-Danish heritage, Hansen has commissioned artwork for the walls based on Flora Danica (an 1800s bible to Denmark’s native natural world, filled with floral sketches), and so the drinks reflect this botany theme. Ingredients closely associated with Hansen’s style of cooking are interwoven into the cocktails. Find chilli laced in the Firecraker Fizz, a definite party on the palate. A Scarlet Spritz is a madly refreshing and tart take on the Italian classic, with hibiscus adding depth and berry flavour. It was a great match for snacks as wide-ranging as Kashmiri-pork-stuffed brioche buns, smoked cassava croquettes and a mini version of the restaurant’s famed sugar-cured prawn omelette.
Mr Lyan certainly has the midas touch when it comes to designing drinks, and the restaurant’s fusion food in snack form can’t be faulted. But the atmosphere at Alpha Beta Bar was flat when we visited on a Friday, and our bartender did little to ease us into the weekend. Then again, if the Italian way of doing things has become somewhat formulaic for you, Alpha Beta Bar could be an aperitivo adventureland.
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14 Finsbury Square
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