Ever the optimist, I am going to be bold and claim that spring has finally sprung in London! Our days are getting longer and lighter, and the temperatures are creeping up slowly… it won’t be too long before the winter coat gets officially relegated to the back of the wardrobe and it’s all about the summer dresses, sandals, and frolics in the sunshine. Wishful thinking on my behalf? I don’t think so, but if you think the weather gods are still messing with us and are less convinced about spring’s imminent arrival, I would suggest a cocktail from TwoRuba is just what you need to snap out of your gloomy winter mood!
TwoRuba is handily located in the Hilton London Tower Bridge, but trust me, it’s far from your usual stuffy and sterile hotel bar. This bar has personality, and their sense of fun is evident is their eclectic cocktail selection and the way they’ve transformed some of their bar space into a welcoming Spring Garden! There’s a luscious green lawn, couches, flowers, deck chairs… if one look at this doesn’t put a spring in your step, then the cocktails and snacks should at least put a smile on your face.
We settled into our grass couch and started out with two of their signature cocktails and some snacks because eating is not cheating when you’re thirty; I’m all about keeping it classy these days. We started with the Red Set consisting of Absolut vodka, Contreau, fresh raspberries, lychee and champagne, and a classic XXX Star of vanilla vodka, passionfruit puree, and passionfruit juice. As two ladies who prefer their cocktails sweet and fruity, these were excellent choices. I particularly liked that the lychee in the Red Set was noticeable but not overwhelming as often, bartenders can be a little too heavy handed with it.
Green olives served on ice and alongside some crispy music bread with an olive tapenade was the first snack to grace our grassy green corner of the bar. These bright green meaty olives were pleasantly mild and sweet, which paired well with the cocktails. As for the crispy squid with garlic lemon mayonnaise and the Italian nachos; I’m not sure how well they work with cocktails but they certainly were fantastic nibbles! I’m also not sure how the Italians would feel about this fusion creation of deep-frying ravioli, serving them with a tomato sauce and calling them nachos, but I must admit, I thought they were sinfully good.
For our second round of cocktails we chose from TwoRuba’s new Garden to Glass menu of spring-inspired concoctions. All four looked and sounded all sunny and refreshing, but the Raspberry and Thyme Smash and TwoRuba Cooler won us over. The former mainly because we had spotted it earlier, arriving at a table in a bird-topped vessel and knew we just had to try it for ourselves. The latter was for reasons less superficial; the combination of gin, Cointreau, apple and rosemary seemed like just the zesty, refreshing drink I needed after eating more than my fair share of those moreish Italian nachos.
Still feeling a little peckish, we decided to order a pizza which did cause a slight internal struggle for yours truly, a self-confessed chain-restaurant snob, because the pizzas at TwoRuba actually come from the Jamie’s Italian next door. I obviously love pizza, and I also loved our meal at Jamie’s Fifteen however as a general rule, avoid all of Mr Oliver’s other restaurants. But you know what? I literally ate my words in this instance because our spicy nduja and mozzarella topped pizza came on a surprisingly good base – pillowy on the inside yet crisp and charred on the outside – and was very satisfying!
We decided to end the night with one more cocktail and reverted back to the TwoRuba signatures because we’d eyed up the Peach Star and Vanilla Killer, both predictably fruity numbers, earlier that night. Personally, I found the Vanilla Killer’s lingering mint aftertaste a little too much for me and preferred the peach, mango and lime flavours of the Peach Star, but I’d still happily order both again! And just as we were taking our last sips and about to call time on this elongated cocktail hour, one of the bartenders decided to pop round and offer us a final shot for the road – an unusual and unexpectedly good carrot-juice based shot!
I shouldn’t have been that surprised by his gesture though; throughout the whole evening we were treated to fantastic service. The bartenders clearly knew how to mix a drink, but the fact that they did it with a smile and a sense of humour turned our time at TwoRuba from a quick drink in hotel bar, to a fun, girls night out! Even after the Spring Garden disappears, this will still be a great place to stop in for a drink – the location is perfect and the cocktails are even more so!
Are you ready cocktails al fresco in spring and summer?!
Thanks to TwoRuba for our spring-inspired evening of cocktails, but as always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!
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