In the backstreets of Soho lies an escape from the rammed pubs and hideous tourist traps. A crazy fox den of an escape… Talented Mr Fox.
He isn’t really a fox, he’s Mr Whiley. But I reckon we can safely say he is talented.
Matt Whiley is behind some of the cocktail community’s top bars, Purl, Worship Street Whistling Shop and Shoreditch’s Peg & Patriot. He’s famed for his madcap concoctions and the use of all sorts of fancy equipment in the making of mixed drinks… and Talented Mr Fox is Whiley’s first residency at top Leicester Square Hotel One Leicester Street.
The cocktails here are definitely for the more adventurous drinkers – on the menu is a Bloody Mary (£16) made with clarified pig’s blood and ‘black pudding distillate’. Even the ones listed under ‘Nice and Easy’ are nothing short of unusual…
Frightened by the very mention of pig’s blood we opted for some more accessible drinks. Mary Hoppins was made with Moonshine Kid Hop Gin, Manzanilla and Honey. The Twisted Nose comes complete with Foraged Leaves, Celery and Lemon – it was the talk of foraging that got me interested, you know. But our last order was undoubtedly the most exciting. This one, whose name I have (to my shame) forgotten, was flavoured with Monster Munch! Pickled Onion flavour! Goodness!
When the drinks arrived I’ll admit I was slightly disappointed. They appeared just like normal drinks. They didn’t live up to their outlandish descriptions, at least in appearance.
On tasting we were largely reassured, they sure didn’t taste like any cocktails we’d ever had before, and all the odd flavours came through despite there being so much alcohol in each one it almost knocked us clean off our seats – definitely proving Mr Fox’s talents! I’d recommend the Twisted Nose, full of sharp citrus flavours and actual salad ingredients (i.e. incredibly healthy).
The Verdict: Great cocktails unlike any you’ve ever had before. Perfect if you’re looking for a bit of calm in the craziness of Chinatown. I’ve heard the Urban Foxtail (£11) is served in a little wheelie bin, too. Definitely get that!