The Resting Room

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars Westbourne
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A bar within a Notting Hill ‘gin hotel’ serving barrel-aged spirits.

Portobello Road Gin couldn’t have come up with a better concept for the height of London’s second gin craze (the first was the less salubrious Hogarth-era one). Close to the Portobello Star – their original spot – they’ve launched The Distillery, a fully equipped ‘gin hotel’. Its ground floor bar, The Resting Room – gimmick-free, and dressed in classy oak and red leather – was far from relaxing on our Sunday night visit, a cavalcade of kids and barking dogs competing for attention. We sat up at the bar and spotted the USP: barrels ‘resting’ up above, various dark spirits (not gin at all) maturing within. Unfortunately, the staff were too busy gossiping to explain the concept in detail.

After nabbing an apologetic barman, we were rustled up some brilliant cocktails: a reviving Red Snapper (a gin-based bloody mary using Portobello Road’s own batch, naturally) and an original Sherry Cobbler Zapatero Del Dia, pineapple-based and made using aged sherry from the barrels above. I loved it.

Ginthusiasts may be disappointed that this isn’t a pure gin experience, but the concept is cool and, if the staff can up their game, it’ll be a winner. Until then, The Resting Room feels just a little like it’s resting on its laurels.

By: Laura Richards

Posted:

Venue name: The Resting Room
Contact:
Address: 186 Portobello Rd
London
W11 1LA
Transport: Tube: Ladbroke Grove
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tastemaker

Over the last year what used to be the First Floor Restaurant on Portobello Road has become the quite cool and classy Resting Room which has its own 'Ginstitute'. They specialise in cocktails, obviously, so I was excited to see what's on offer.

The interior is now very stylish with dark wood panels and beams, and big booths by the window.

Being on Portobello Road it's no surprise that it gets very busy. Somehow we were lucky enough to bag a prime seat by the window which was great for people-watching.

As you'd expect the drinks menu is extensive. There's five options of bloody Mary's which all sound divine and almost worth getting a hangover for. They all come with a 'kebab of pickled vegetables'.

I tried the portobello road gin red snapper. It tasted good, not amazing, but there was no celery (all bloody Mary's come with celery!), and the kebab of pickled vegetables consisted of a raw cherry tomato, small pickle and an olive.

When I asked the waitress where the celery was she went to the barman who then popped out for a few minutes and came back with a bag of Celery from Sainsbury's, cut it up a bit fancy and brought it over in a cup. I was halfway through my Bloody Mary so it was a bit pointless.

So although I was in the mood for cocktails I didn't stay for more. I wasn't particularly impressed with what's I'd had, especially at £22 for 2, although our waitress was lovely and some of the other cocktail creations going on behind the bar looked amazing.

Also, the Sunday roast looks good too.

Although I wasn't blown away enough to stay for more on this particular day, I will definitely give them another chance.