The Drift, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
We were meant to visit on Tuesday night, but due to the moronic rioters, we decided to postpone. Didn’t fancy getting caught up in all that nonsense. So we ended up going the next day as all seemed to be quiet. We wandered over from the Southbank over London Bridge, past Leadenhall market (we must take a proper look in there) and up Bishopsgate.
When I saw the height of Heron Tower above The Drift I did freak out a bit, I’m not very fond of tall buildings. The bar was on two floors, with the restaurant on the top, which didn’t help my phobia one bit. There was the distinctive excitable echoey buzz of people chatting in the bar, common in all Drake & Morgan establishments, making it a bit tricky to hear each other. We soon got used to it though, the secret being TALK LOUDER (not rocket science!). After staring at the extensive menu for ages, we settled back to people watch. Most were City boys and girls, minus the champagne, well times are hard! Ironically a lot of the music was early 90s pop – as if to remind the bankers of good times past! There was a sprinkling of ‘jeans’ but mostly ‘suits and striped shirts’.
I noticed chairs from The Folly and the potted herbs from The Refinery. I think Drake & Morgan must be fans of Spuntino,judging by the lights – exposed oversize hanging lightbulbs plus the enamel bowl that our salad arrived in. It has a more industrial feel than The Folly and co, but still the same distinctive mix ‘n’ match decor.
Anyway, on with the food. I can’t remember the last time I studied a menu for so long, too much choice. The only criticism was that all the specials were fish dishes – maybe deliberately trying to edge towards a seafood theme? I fancied a bit of drama so ordered the Prawn lollipops with citrus-soy dipping sauce to start, they were all I hoped they would be, crunchy coating and huge juicy prawns, plenty of dipping sauce also. Ade had the Dolcelatte & parma ham bruschetta, the ham was tender and the cheese creamy and sweet, a much milder taste than gorgonzola. Of to a flying start apart from the salad which was a tad too salty.
The cocktail menu is fantastic and imaginative, we wanted to try them all. I had a Skinny Lemon Sherbet – Sipsmith gin shaken twice with lemon juice, peach and agave nectar producing a thick rich foam just 89 kcal! Ade a Breakfast In Bloom – Bloom gin, Seville orange marmalade & pink grapefruit with vanilla sugar. Next for me was a Skinny Golden Beet Martini from the section entitled Veg & Herb Patch – fresh golden beetroot, house infused vanilla sugar blended with Smirnoff black vodka and a black pepper finish – 109 kcal, my favourite, so different and love the Veg & Herb Patch idea. Ade had a spectacular Skinny Porn Star (I think it was the name that did it) – Ketel One vodka with fresh passion fruit, passion fruit purée and vanilla sugar served with a prosecco chaser.
I went old-school (another 90s throwback) with my main, Coq au vin with mushrooms, root vegetables & buttered mash. It was hearty, comforting, and hit the spot. When Ade tried it he said the sauce reminded him of liver and bacon, it definitely was more bacony than winey, but lovely, and plenty of it. The portion sizes are spot on. The best coq au vin I ever had has to be the one cooked by @TheLittleChef, perfect, wonder if he does delivery… Ade had the Mascarpone & wild mushroom-stuffed chicken breast wrapped in crispy pancetta with herbed potatoes. We shared a Heirloom tomato & orange salad in the Spuntino-style bowl, the oranges and tomatoes were a fab combination, we loved this salad, might try and recreate it at home.
I struggled to find room for dessert so the Pudding shots, a selection of 3 (not so) mini portions, was a perfect solution. 1) A chocolate brownie so moist that it oozed into the glass, 2) A lemon peel crème brûlée, my favourite
and 3) A Knickerbocker glory, complete with retro sprinkles. Ade ate most of that!
From my seat I could see the guy operating the dishwasher, which is unusually open and not hidden out the back. It reminded me of my Saturday job as a teenager at Army & Navy (now House of Fraser, showing my age) coffee shop in Guildford – 8 hours in a tiny room loading a dishwasher and cleaning tables, my move into the kitchen was a welcome relief, although the most exciting thing I got to cook was a toasted sandwich.
To sum up, The Drift offers fabulous service (our dashing waiter James was so polite, helpful and knowledgeable), a huge variety of food and amazing cocktails. It’s a tad too loud – nowhere to hide from the wall of noise, but maybe that’s just our old age, so not somewhere to go for a quiet drink.
Check out the online menu, some items have pictures and wine and cocktail matches, nice touch. They also offer mixology classes, would love to do that, we’re getting into our homemade cocktails on a Saturday night.
Celebrate their opening with a complimentary bottle of wine, sign up here
Monday – Wednesday: 7.30am – 11pm
Thursday – Friday: 7.30am – 1am
Saturday: 10am – 12 midnight
Sunday: 10am – 7pm
Kitchen times – Monday – Friday: 7.30am – 10pm
Saturday: 10am – 10pm
Sunday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday and Sunday: Available for private hire