There are some drinks that are benign – and you only discover their true values when you find your legs don’t work. Others are not afraid to bite; nearly everybody I know has their bad tequila story. There are drinks that are just plain wrong – anything blue, or that comes with an umbrella. The Espresso Martini wasn’t a something I had tried before. It was reputedly invented in the 80s by Dick Bradsell, a London bartender, for a supermodel who wanted something “to wake her up”. It’s the speciality drink of The Forge and Foundry, a restaurant and linked music venue in Camden, and we spent an evening there trying one or two.
Before our Martini lesson, it was a time for quick tour of the building: the Forge music venue at which can take up to 100 people and the Foundry restaurant to the front operating on two floors: very adaptable. The cocktail itself is pretty simple: an espresso, a measure and a half of vodka, one of coffee liqueur, shake and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with coffee beans, and enjoy. Very tasty, with the significant benefit of not being too sweet; definitely one to try again. I enjoyed drinking it while deciding on supper, choosing fennel and orange risotto but both duck and sea bass looked equally appetising.
The shared first course was one of the Forge’s gourmet ploughman’s platters, including Keen’s cheddar and Blacksticks Blue cheeses, honey roast and Parma hams, served with an excellent home made bread. Keen’s is a little less common than Montgomery; smoother, a little less nutty but as a cheddar fan, still a great choice. My risotto was very creamy, with the fennel flavours as more of an accent rather than an overly dominant main flavour; I enjoyed it down to the last grain.
The dessert menu then demanded our attention; my choice was a chocolate ganache & walnut tart; to be truthful, I was really looking for a suitable company for another Espresso Martini, and I wasn’t disappointed by either
The menu is in two halves – one of pre-concert food, tilted towards pub favourites – pies, steak, burgers. For those with more time, there is an a la carte menu of more complex dishes. The concert menu has starters at £5-£6, and main courses at £7-£9, while the a la carte is £5-9 for starters and £15-20 for main courses. There is a pre-concert offer of two courses from the pies, burgers soups & salads side of the menu that looks very worth while.
The only shame of the evening was that we didn’t make it to George the coffee roaster up the road. Maybe next time: we’ll have to keep an eye on what’s on. I had an excellent evening, and can imagine that supper and a concert would be a great night out. Fuss Free Flavours was the guest of The Forge and Foundry. Many thanks for our supper.