Bayswater is a bit of an enigma. Sure, it’s buzzy and peppy and there’s always throngs of people and loads of energy in the streets. But it’s full of multinationals, chain eateries and pubs dollied up to deny their lineage as part of a mega pub empire. They seem to hit the mark with the huge number of budget tourists in the surrounding area, but ‘quaint, independent-owned local alehouses’ they ain’t.
So it was a gleeful moment when I discovered the Beachcomber Bar on Queensway. Nestled between tatty tourist traps and Asian eateries with orange glazed duck carcasses swinging in the window, you’ll find the door to a tiki tavern. Down. Down. Down. Descend the unprepossessing staircase and you’ll pop out into to a wave of tropicana replete with old 1950s posters, palm trees and light and breezy Creole fare.
No one should be surprised that cocktails and Creole food pair so nicely together, but Vanessa Bolosier’s zingy food and Adam Gonna’s mixocologist’s musings are indeed a great combo. Vanessa wins with her unctuous coconut coleslaw and Adam hits my cocktail sweet spot with his Route 666. Gorgeous.
I really love the attention to detail in many of Adam’s cocktails. Contrary to my limited understanding of rum, there are rum qualities which go beyond ‘Bacardi’. Who knew? Some of his luxe cocktails use imported rums worth up to £80 a bottle.
While Vanessa’s been experimental in curating the bar snacks, Adam hasn’t exactly skimped on inventiveness behind the bar. There are some seriously gorgeous cocktails on the list including another one of my faves: Mochalada featuring don Q rum, kahlua, coffee bitters, cocoa, coconut, pineapple and cream. The K.M.T Smash also deserves a mention with it’s four roses bourbon, abbot bitters, pineapple and lemon sherbet. Yes, lemon sherbet.
The Creole Kitchen at Beachcomber Bar is an excellent escape route for when London’s dreary weather gets you down. And a darn sight cheaper than a flight to the Carribean. BYO sunnies.
What’s next? Have you read our review of:
The Ivy Marylebone