Very few occasions warrant a $160 dinner, but it’s no reason to give Ryan Clift’s Tippling Club a miss on other, less-celebratory days.
To accompany its drinks menu revamp, Clift and his kitchen team have put together a menu of dishes including the puck of blue swimmer crab cake ($19) and the cigar-like flaky pastry rolls of curried lamb ($8/roll). They offer bar-goers a sneak peek of the restaurant’s signature innovation, minus the fussiness of eating next door. Other dishes, such as the sandwich of pulled Ibérico pork with pickled red cabbage ($21) and slices of bread draped with Ibérico ham and olive oil pearls ($39), also do well to pad the stomach for the cocktails.
Head bartender Foltan and his team have picked up a trick or two from the pastry team for new menu addition, La’ Final ($24). The edible cigar accompanies the brown drink of dark rum, sweet vermouth, sherry and walnut bitters, and sees the team smoking a cigar into cream and chocolate that’s rolled into a wafer you chew for notes of smoke. Tippling Club’s iconic bubble-topped coup glass format gets an update, with a melon- and mangosteen-infused gin base and whiffs of apple in the Bubble Tea ($18).
Manhattan’s newest category of snacks and cocktails is an ode to the Lower East Side. A dip of smoked marlin on plantain chips ($18) and crispy fingers of pickles ($14), served with spicy ranch and remoulade, references the pickling heritage of the LES. Chef Nicholas Trosien also pays homage to Wylie Dufresne’s defunct restaurant in the district, WD~50, with his sweet Ode to Eggs ($10): a dessert stack of brioche with a tart pineapple-mango gel making the yolk, and coconut semifreddo the egg whites.
Put in place by Manhattan’s former head bartender, Ricky Paiva, cocktails like CBGB ($24) and The Third Wave ($24) allude to the LES’ history. The effervescent CBGB references the punk rock club with its ingredients – cassis, basil, grapefruit juice, bitters and sparkling wine – while The Third Wave speaks to the coffee movement with espresso, cognac and vanilla in this martini mix. Milk & Honey, an LES bar institution, also makes an appearance on the menu with a Penicillin ($23) of Scotch, lemon juice, honey-ginger syrup and peated whisky.
Anti:dote’s menu of bar snacks gets an update, with dishes that look like they’ve been pored over by elves before they’re served.
Head chef Carlos Montobbio and his team pile on tonnes of effort into dishes like the long tube of cannelloni and braised beef, buried under a paste of porcini bechamel and threads of beef flank fibres sprinkled on to look like saffron ($16). He also encourages bar-goers to dip Paleta Ibérica Joselito ham-topped bruschetta into a foam of tomato water, shabu shabu-style ($18), and deploys sweet-salty cherry miso to be eaten with cubes of crispy suckling pig ($16). And don’t miss the oysters bathed in a warm ginger sauce ($16).
Head drinks craftsman Tom Hogan has also given his menu a facelift: there’s a schematic illustration of each cocktail’s components alongside a graphical indication of its potency.
The Agua Fresca ($23) is a savoury-citrus mix of mezcal, parsley, and turnip and lime juice that’s versatile with most of the food. And The Tragedy of Tom Dooley ($23) is bittersweet with a kick of pink peppercorn. Hogan’s included drinks named after his regulars on his list, so it’s one more reason to leave your permanent butt mark on the bar stools here.