Megaro Bar

megarobar.co.uk

Happy Birthday Megaro Bar!

This week Megaro Bar turns the grand old age of 1. And we’ve had one helluva year. From rooftop parties to making it across the Atlantic, here is the best bits of Megaro Bar’s first year:

Ginstock 2013

When Sipsmith’s approached us to compete in Ginstock 2013 we jumped at the chance. Yes, it was in 3 day’s time – we didn’t even make it onto the voting ballot – and yes we weren’t even open yet but who are we to say no to a challenge. So, with all hands on deck from the teams at Sipsmith’s & Megaro we created Have you seen Tom Collins?  And we smashed it. A runaway day of downpours, revelry and general gin-induced chaos, 6 hours later we came in 3rd place. Not bad for a team without a bar to their name!

image

Kicking off with the Mamont competition

Next up was our Mamont Vodka competition, in collaboration with Eaux de Vie. 10 intrepid teams of bartenders & their Sherpas/bar backs battled the heat to make their climb to the summit – with plenty of Mamont pit-stops of course – and then had a mere 15 minutes to think up their drinks, collect their ingredients and leg it back to Megaro Bar to present to the judging team. The adventure was rounded off with an incredible Russian feast prepared by Karpo restaurant.

image

Film Noir Season

Last November became Noirvember at Megaro Barwith the help of Eaux de Vie. For a month The Picture Room hosted screenings of hard-boiled heroes and femme fatales, accompanied by a collection of exceptional American whiskies. And free-flowing bourbon flavoured popcorn, of course.

image

 

Henry Thomas & K&I Studios exhibition

Last year we launched our first exhibition at Megaro Bar – a stunning collaboration between photographer Henry Thomas & Cape Town based design team K&I Studios. Their exhibition This Way Up invites guests to descend into a panoramic skyline of London, whilst the Dark Room became a space where city meets country & where images meet words. Did we mention the awesome launch party, too?

image

Spring/Summer menu launch, fishy martinis & making it across the Atlantic

This spring we launched our Spring/Summer collection, a programme of cocktails divided into 4 acts that gradually build into a crescendo of flavour and intensity. The runaway star of the show was the Fisherman’s Martini, crowned one of London’s top 3 martini serves, featuring in countless reviews and even making it’s way across the Atlantic to feature at Beefeater’s Bartenders’ Breakfast at Tales of the Cocktail. 

 image

Ben being referred to as the ‘big dog behind the bar’ by the Evening Standard … on Nico’s day off!

You snooze you lose was the comment from the bench.

So, you say, what’s next? How will we top year one?

We’re kicking off the birthday celebrations from today and will be giving away Megaro Bar cocktail flavoured fudge around King’s Cross for the rest of the week. And to really celebrate in style every bag also contains a 50% off drinks voucher, valid until the end of the week.

And from there we we’ll be heading into an autumn of further film seasons, a new photography installation, our Autumn/Winter collection and of course unlimited late night shenanigans.

Bring on year two!

image

The World Cup is Over.

We can all feel it. The awkward, dejected stares as the kettle boils silently each morning, the limp flag hanging in your neighbour’s garden, the legions of un-swappable football stickers cluttering up your house.

The world cup is over. It’s hard to take, we know. The glory days of collective joviality – Brazilians aside – have ended and we are all left facing endless days of unguided conversation and empty calendars.

image

All is not lost. Here are 5 reasons why we’re all better off now the football is over:

 1. 8pm exists again

For an entire month 8pm has been a no-go zone. Friends peeled away from long planned events with flaky excuses. Conversation became limited to ‘ooh’s ‘ahh’s and ‘just shoot you idiot!’. One mate even cancelled due to NSPS – Neymar Sympathy Pain Syndrome. Thus, August heralds the return of 8pm, the return of uncompromised events and above all: the return of undivided attention. Well, at least until the season starts again. For those of you emerging blinking into the light once more: a table at Megaro Bar is here for you. 0203 432 5150 / info@megarobar.co.uk

2. We no longer have to look at Adrian Chiles and co’s terrible beach attire

Whoever decided ITV’s pundits would be more appealing to the public awkwardly crammed round a couple of Ikea tables on a precarious piece of decking ought to take a long hard look at themselves. We couldn’t decide which was more traumatising: waiting for one of Adrian Chiles et al’s team to slip backwards into the sand and leave us with nothing but ill-fitting khakis and flip flops to stare at, or the jaw clenchingly appalling opening credit song. Advert breaks have never been so welcomed.

image

3. We can stop pretending we know the words to our national anthem. Or care.

Okay, we admit, watching the a cappella Brazilian national anthem was rousing stuff. Watching Gerrard mumble along to ‘God Save The Queen’ was not.

4. The crying has stopped

If you’re Brazilian we’ll forgive you on this one, you well and truly deserve a good tear, however we’re grateful the rest of us can move on with our lives. Now, don’t get us wrong, there is nothing wrong with a little sob now and again. But when it comes to the lip wobbles after your country drops out following an expectedly miserable performance, you’ve only got yourselves to blame. Heck, you’ve spent the last 4 years bemoaning the selfish/lazy/disorganised diving idiots anyway.

5. We can eat & drink what we want

We never thought we’d say this but we’re sick of barbeques. And caipirinhas. Okay, maybe not caipirinhas. If like us you have spent the duration of the world cup approaching barbequed goods and cachaça with the same gusto as Mexico’s Miguel Herrera’s celebration routine, we’ll all be welcoming the return to normality. Our favourite world cup hangover cleanser has to be our refreshing Hokkaido Collins: smoky Japanese Nikka Pure Malt whisky built with yuzu, lemon, barley water syrup  .

Wimbledon

Every summer, the inhabitants of the British Isles (and plenty beyond, we’re sure) embark upon a fortnight of consuming immeasurable amounts of strawberries, paying through the nose for sandwiches with no crusts and desperately slurring their way through a 3-glasses-of-champagne-down pronunciation of ‘deuce’. Yup, Wimbledon is upon us.

At the worlds oldest and most famous tennis competition it’s not just about the sport, it’s also all about tradition. Alongside the white outfits, royal-spotting and rain-cloud counting there’s a whole host of food & drink items we feel compelled to quaff into oblivion. Devour as many scotch eggs as years you’ve been alive, rub clotted cream on a stranger’s nose, grab a magnum of Champagne and celebrate one of the same three people winning everything…again.

For those of us who aren’t brave enough to hack the ridiculous queues and the rest with ingenious hipflasks - well done - we bring to you the best of our Wimbledon themed cocktails to knock back as the balls go flying:

1. Sipsmith’s Summer Cup

New kids on the block Sipsmith’s have risen from a tiny London garage distillery to take on the mighty Pimm’s. Their version of the original, Sipsmith’s Summer Cup, is similarly served with lemonade or ginger beer but without the mangy wilted mint and fruit pulp between your teeth. We serve ours at Karpo with lemonade, Earl Grey, a splash of gin and a generous citrus wedge: Advantage Sipsmith’s.

2. Clover Club

Creamy fruitstuffs are ever present at Wimbledon. Strawberries & cream, Eaton Mess, Scones & jam… you get the picture. The Clover Club is the cocktail equivalent. A healthy blend of gin, raspberries, creamy egg white & lemon, this is the ultimate Wimbledon cocktail.

3. Perry Mason & the Perjured Parrot

A perennial favourite at Megaro Bar, our Perry Mason & the Perjured Parrot is a champion of the classic English beverage pear cider. A light, dry cocktail also featuring Four Roses Small Batch bourbon, lemon, sugar & a dash of absinthe, this cocktail will be perfect to cut through all the sweetness of other Wimbledon consumables.

 4. French 75

The king of Champagne cocktails. Take a break from the straight stuff and celebrate with a few of these classic gin, lemon, sugar & Champagne concoctions.

 5. Koicha Milk

It all ends with Koicha Milk. And an all too familiar Swissman. Maybe. (Go Andy!). Anyway, back to business: the Koicha Milk. The ultimate dessert cocktail, our house creation blends Beefeater 24 Gin with Japanese Matcha green tea, milk & blossom honey. What a winner.

My Lady is a Boy

image

Last week, summer arrived in London. Perfect strangers were bonding over attempts at ‘Persieing’ (Google it, try it, get grass stains on your chin), excitable tourists were flaking half dried sun tan lotion over our free papers, suddenly drinking beer at the desk was acceptable anytime. Heck, one chap even turned up to the office in flip-flops. It was glorious.               

Wait, you say. Megaro Bar is in a basement. What do you care about summer?

We bring the summer inside. Welcome – My Lady Is A Boy.

Conceived on the streets of Bangkok by our Head Bartender Nico Piazza, the kaffir lime leaf chlorophyll lends the cocktail an intense, fresh sensation that is summer incarnate. Widely used in Thai cuisine, the aroma of the leaves evoke sultry Bangkok nights and creates an exotic twist on this classic Tom Collins.

And for the name? Let’s just say it came to him following a rather – surprising – encounter with a character of the Bangkok nightlife, and leave it at that.

Recipe:

50ml Colombian gin

25ml lemon juice

20ml gomme

10ml lime leaf chlorophyll

Soda

Build in a highball over ice, garnish with kaffir lime leaf.

The best of the rest summer cocktails:

1. Caipirinha

With the World Cup in full swing Brazil is the country on everyone’s lips at the moment. Salute them with a cheeky caipririnha on yours. Their national cocktail is a delectable punch of cachaca, fresh lime and sugar, shaken and served over ice.

 2. Epicolada

The king of summer cocktails our Epicolada is a twist on – ready for it – the classic Pina Colada. There’s no pineapple husks or cocktail umbrellas to be found here, but there is a mind blowing blend of almond washed pineapple juice, coconut flavoured sugar syrup and a huge dollop of epic.

3. Russian Spring Punch

This classic punch is a perfect long summer cocktail. Vodka, raspberry syrup and sugar are built over ice and topped with Champagne; you can do no wrong on a balmy summer evening with this tasty number in hand.

4. Machaska Daisy

‘Machaska’ translates as ‘drunken’ in Quechua, Peru’s native language and the hometown of Pisco. Live up to its name and revel in a night sampling one of Megaro Bar’s original concoctions: pisco, crème de poire, lime, sugar & Amargo Chuncho Peruvian bitters. Fresh, citric & fantastic. 

megarobar.co.uk | 0203 432 5150 | info@megarobar.co.uk  

facebook: /megarobar | twitter: @megarobar | instagram: @megarobar

Meet the directors

Last week Barchick swung by Megaro Bar to catch up with the team. She also arrived armed with a fistful of probing questions for our Bar Manager & Head bartender to get their teeth around. Here’s how it all went down…

Name: Ben Clark

Where are you from? : Sydney Australia

Where have you worked? : Rockwell bar when I first arrived in London, Soho house group, and then opened Bistrot Bruno Loubet with the Zetter Group. After two years as Bar Manager there I opened the Zetter Townhouse, winner of World’s Best New Cocktail Bar.

What are your favourite bars? : Ceviche for pisco sours, El Nivel for warmth & Agave, wine at 8 Hoxton Square, Nola for late night shenanigans, Candelaria when in Paris.

What is your favourite drink? : Classic gin martini served wet with a twist. Also have been drinking my fair share of ‘The Lost Step’ Ocho blanco tequila, cardamom sweet tea & chartreuse elixir….. My happy drink!

What has been your best “bad ass” barman/rock n roll moment? : Tackling & holding a robber armed with a screwdriver who had stolen the cash till from a shop opposite the Zetter…. Could’ve gone wrong I guess!

Have you ever done it on a bar? : I’m engaged… Now… Hahahaha!! Yes…

What’s next for you? : get married… Hopefully! Continue to build Megaro Bar & also nature my new born Equal Sign Projects.

What is the best and worst chat up line you’ve heard at a bar?: Don’t know if it’s a chat up line, while in college a mate had gone home with a girl one night and the following morning she was dropping him at the station. When he was getting out of the car she said, ‘but aren’t you going to ask for my number?’ he closed the door, lent back in the window and said ’ you know what, I’m going to let Fate decide if we meet again’ and walked off….

Tell us a secret or something we don’t know?: I  don’t believe there is anything BarChick doesn’t know…

What did you want to be as a kid?: Sports star or actor… Sports career failed due to alcohol, travel and women & the acting…. Well my drama teacher said I could’ve been special…..

Name: Nicola (Nico) Piazza

Where are you from? : Italy

Where do you/Have you worked? : I’m a Megaro Bar Boy. Last experience was at the Zetter Townhouse  

What are your favourite bars? : The non-trendy ones that are good at one thing in particular. It’s all you need.

What is your favourite drink? : Gin Martini

What has been your best “bad ass” barman/rock n roll moment? : Years back in Australia when an arrogant industry guest questioned my free-pouring skills. So I super fancily poured a double measure of whisky into a jigger as proof - it was the most precise pour that I have ever been able to do in my entire life. Lucky me!!

Have you ever done it on a bar? : Before answering, I have to ensure that my mum will never read this!

What’s next for you? : Equal Sign Projects with my mate Ben Clark

What is the best and worst chat up line you’ve heard at a bar? : Two perfect tipsy strangers making big business deals at 2.30 am. Don’t know yet if it was bad, good or simply hilarious!

Tell us a secret or something we don’t know?: The Sazerac cocktail works better shaken.  For wiki-bartender’s happiness!

If you were going to make a BarChick cocktail what would you call it?: The BarChick logo has a pin up. I would make something that reminds me of these 50’s fast food joints where colourful milkshakes were served and the music was coming from a juke box. Definitely something pink and fluffy such as a Clover Club. Sexy & tasty.

How do you like your Martini? : Gin, quite dry with lemon. If you want to spoil me, get me some almonds on the side.  

What did you want to be as a kid? : A pizza chef!

If there are any questions you want to ask of Ben & Nico, double check their free-pouring skills or road test Ben’s favourite ‘happy drink’, well you know where to find them. At Megaro Bar. 

And their answers get filthier after 11pm. Try it.

The cast of Spring/Summer 2014

After weeks of salivating snapshots, tantalising descriptions and - quite frankly cruel - image displays, the wait for the new Megaro Bar menu is finally over. More breathtaking than an England win, more satisfying than Ron Burgundy’s moustache and without doubt the tastiest liquids you’ll guzzle this year, get ready for the Cast of Spring/Summer 2014.

To follow the success of its previous incarnation, the developing trays, for spring/summer we have introduced our very own Megaro Bar Now Showing theatre menus. Get ready for a few plot twists, a couple of shady protagonists, some serious character development and plenty of bartender theatrics.

Make yourself comfortable, be wowed, be transfixed and - most importantly - enjoy the show.

MY LADY IS A BOY

50ml Colombian gin

25ml lemon juice

20ml gomme

10ml kaffir lime leaf chlorophyll

Soda

Built in a highball, garnished with Kaffir lime leaf

About the actor

My Lady is a Boy’s career started out as a classic Tom Collins. Following an, erm, adventurous misunderstanding with an attractive resident of Bangkok, kaffir lime leaves were added to give a much needed breath of freshness. An ideal actor for a summer performance.

Tasting notes

Long & refreshing, the kaffir lime adds a distinct green citrus notes.

Did you Know

Chlorophyll is full of energy giving properties to keep you going all the way until that happy ending.

FISHERMAN’S MARTINI

40ml Plymouth navy gin

20ml dry martini

Old man and the sea essence

Peel back tin lid & serve in small coupette

About the actor

The Fisherman’s martini lauds Hemingway as an inspiration for this nautical concoction. A wet style martini with Plymouth navy gin & aromatized with the mysterious old man and the sea essence, the battle may not have been so dramatic but the results are just as staggering.

Credits include

The fisherman’s martini featured in shortlist magazine as one of the best exotic martini serves in London.

EPICOLADA

40ml Dictador 12yr

60ml Epicolada mix

Shaken and strained, served up and garnished with desiccated coconut.

About the actor

Our Epicolada has had quite the daring past. Cutting its teeth in the pirate laden waters of 19th century Puerto Rico, this classic has been re-mastered with almond washed pineapple juice, coconut flavoured sugar syrup a whole lot of epic.

Tasting notes

Light & flavoursome. With nutty notes, a silken mouthfeel and oh so moreish.

Did you know

Unlike the classic pina colada which uses coconut milk, ours is dairy free and vegan friendly!

THREE FEET UNDER

40ml Martell VSOP

20ml Muscat Stanton & Killeen

5ml truffle honey water

3 dashes angostura bitters

Stirred over ice, double strained & served in small coupette.

About the actor

The three feet under is the ensemble’s richest, smoothest profile to date. Lovelorn truffle hogs dig three feet underground on the hunt for a partner – which are actually misleadingly perfumed truffles. Heartache for hogs, win for humans. It’s a tough but tasty world.

Tasting notes

Truffle is present on the nose & tail, with a long deep finish.

Favourite food pairing?

Chocolate cremosa & peanut popcorn powder. Game changing.

Enjoy the show.

Want to try for yourself? Be our guest:

0203 432 5150      

info@megarobar.co.uk

megarobar.co.uk

The Epicolada

image

What drink could be more indicative of, more perfectly designed for a balmy, lazy summer’s afternoon you ask? The perfect escape cocktail (see what we did there) to rid these April showers blues? Enter the Epicolada. Part classic Pina Colada, a heap of Megaro Bar twist and every bit epic.

The Pina Colada was first invented by the infamous 18th Century Puerto-Rican Pirate Robeto Cofresi (“El Pirata Cofresi”), who dished out a concoction of white rum, cream of coconut & pineapple juice to help boost his crew’s morale. A kind of prototype Houdini-come-Robin Hood figure with way more balls & less nobbish hair than Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Carribean, Cofresi fearlessly ruled the waves in the West Indies until he was executed by firing squad in 1825.

Cofresi has since been mythologised by the Puerto-Rican population for his daring & courage and the Pina Colada is their official national drink. There’s even a barmy looking statue of him apparently sharpening his sword on the back of an eagle. Or maybe we’ve had too many Epicoladas to see straight.

image

Anyway. In true Megaro Bar style we couldn’t let the story rest there and decided to throw our proverbial hat (or coconut husk?) in the Pina Colada ring. Head Bartender Nico Piazza first swapped out white for dark rum, choosing the Colombian Dictador 12yr for its sweet & rich profile. Next, he did away with the Coco-Lopez (yup, our Epicolada is dairy free for all you vegan pina colada lovers out there). To create the silken mouthfeel and nutty characteristics of the drink he soaks ground almonds in pure pressed pineapple juice & coconut water, which is blended with our bespoke sugar syrup, flavoured with coconut and vanilla.

The result is a light, flavoursome interpretation of the classic Pina Colada that serves up and oh so moreish. And what’s even better is unlike the overtly thick, creamy original, you can keep returning to the Epicolada again and again. Wait, that statue is starting to make sense now…

The only thing left to get you truly in the mood for summer? We couldn’t resist:

Spring / Summer Collection teaser

Waking up and not seeing your own breath hang morbidly in the air, coatless afternoons, loads of bank holidays, the promise of summer holidays, your first BBQ of the year… spring brings many great things. But nothing beats the shaking off of winter menus and introduction of light, fresh and invigorating bar and restaurant inclusions that took a back seat during the short days and heavy, warming flavours.

Whilst we’re still tweaking the final touches of the Megaro Bar Spring / Summer ’14 Collection we thought we’d get you all hot under the collar with a little anticipation of what is to come. And thus, we begin by introducing the Fisherman’s Martini as our first teaser to the upcoming collection.

 

Fisherman’s martini

It wasn’t quite the epic battle concocting our twist on a classic martini as Hemingway’s Santiago encountered with the giant marlin, but the results are certainly as staggering. Drawing inspiration from Plymouth gin’s naval history our Head Bartender Nico has developed a – naturally – wet martini aromatised with Old Man and the Sea essence.

Whilst the full ingredients list will remain a secret (perhaps we’ll detail it in a message in a bottle), we can disclose that we have balanced the gentle wave of the Plymouth martini with distinctly seaward ingredients to evoke the lingering memories floating in front of the Old Man and the Sea as he drifted vainly across open water in search of his fish.

Recipe

40ml Plymouth Navy Gin

20ml dry vermouth

Aromatised with Old Man and the Sea essence

The best - well, one of - martini in London!

If you weren’t lurking somewhere near a tube station in time to scoop a copy of Shortlist Magazine the other week, our Fisherman’s Martini was featured as one of the top five Martini serves in London. We’ve included the article below, just for boasting purposes of course.

Megaro Bar will be serving up the Fisherman’s Martini Monday – Saturday nights long into the balmy promise of summer.

Valentine’s Day

We’re all the first to admit how over Valentine’s Day we are these days. It’s just a massive publicity stunt by Hallmark and couples desperate to showcase their love to everyone, right? Yet we still don’t like to let it pass without at least one salute in the day’s direction. There’s practically as much tradition in the Anti-Valentine’s Day as the real thing.

So, to celebrate at Megaro Bar we have decided to compile our favourite Valentine’s cocktails, and for good measure, the cocktails you should avoid. So whichever side of the tradition you agree with, there’s still a cheers to be had.

Valentine’s Day cocktails

1. Perfect Lady

Nothing beats telling a girl how perfect she is than with a cocktail saying exactly that. Okay, she doesn’t have to know the cocktail wasn’t named specifically for her.

Beefeater gin, crème de Peche, lemon juice, egg white, sugarimage

2. Between the Sheets

Let’s face it: we all have an endgame on Valentine’s Day. Let your loved one know it’s on the cards with this aptly name concoction. 

Martell VSOP cognac, Havana 3yr rum, triple sec, lemon juice

3. Hanky Panky

You’re a few cocktails down. Damn those oysters were good. Your date’s looking sexy as hell in the flickering candlelight. The rich red curtains framing the table are doing nothing to stop your mind wandering. We say about time for a Hanky Panky.

Beefeater gin, sweet vermouth, Fernet Branca

4. Dirty martini

‘nuff said.

Beefeater gin, dry vermouth, olive or twist

And for the haters

1. Corpse Reviver no.2

Nobody likes to be reminded of death on a Valentine’s date.

2. Zombie

Ditto zombies.

3. Moscow Mule

Guess who’ll be wearing this cocktail if you try and order it for that special someone. That’s right. Your face.

4. Sex on the beach.

Just. Don’t.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

 

Chinese New Year

Okay guys, probably not everybody knows that today is the first year of the Chinese calendar. Unless you are walking by chance around China Town and wondering why there’s so many oriental happy faces and heaps of red decorations (red is the colour of good luck), you won’t probably know that today begins the year of horse. People born in the year of the horse are said to be a bit like horses: animated, active and energetic, they love being in a crowd.  If you were born in the year of the horse, you should be looking for potential partners who were born in the years of the tiger, goat or dog. Avoid those born in the year of the rat, ox, rabbit or horse. Folks no worries, bullocks, rodents and bugs bunnies are tonight banned down at Megaro!

We don’t have any table set up for playing and gambling at Fan Tan, but we do have our celebrative cocktail, the Chinese Courage: Plum Blossom Tea cordial mixed with our unusual Colombian Gin will do the job!

You know, Megaro is a taste of world’s flavours, and after long research and thanks to our friends of www.green-tea-shop.com we received a delivery here in London of two different qualities of plum blossom tea, made in China and delivered by way of the USA! And funnily enough we found out that the gin that best enhances its qualities is a Colombian one, made from unaged-just off the pot rum which is then redistilled to turn into gin and shortly aged in casks.

The story of the Chinese Courage begins with its forbearer, the Chinese Waiting Room. Following an inspiring trip to Hong Kong I created a cocktail using Beefeater gin and chrysanthemum cordial for our first cocktail list. Read the full story of the conception of the Chinese Waiting Room in our previous post here. Fascinated by the chrysanthemum’s status as one of the Four Gentlemen – four plants that represent the changing of the seasons in Chinese symbolism – my next set mind to creating a cocktail using plum blossom, which represents the final winter season. Plum blossoms are so particularly cherished because they are viewed as blooming most vibrantly amidst the winter snow, and are a symbol of perseverance and hope, courage and purity.

And so, after a bit of experimenting, the Chinese Courage was born. The aged gin adds a bold citrus flavour to the distinct floral notes of the cordial, and its Colombian origin ties in perfectly with the eclectic Megaro philosophy.

Xin Nian Kuai Le to everybody!