Just off Dean Street, in Soho, is one of London`s most exciting and vibrant cocktail bars – the Zenna Bar.
The Zenna bar is London`s first and most ground breaking Indian inspired cocktail bars. The bar offers drinks which blend classic techniques with eastern flavours, spices and tastes. Ingredients ranging from Chai Tea, to the humble chilli, to the ominous `Secret Spicy Sauce`, all add up to a drinks list with a real difference. The Indian theme is carried through with a gorgeous selection of bar snacks, which complement the spiced cocktails perfectly. Furthermore, there is no entrance fee and no cloakroom – just great drinks, great atmosphere and a great night.
The Atmosphere and location
As you begin your descent into the Zenna bar, the entrance is temptingly seductive; urns containing vivid yellow and purple flowers were highlight by accompanying floating tea lights. Once you reach enter you find yourself in a bubble of buzzing energy which carries you all the way to the bar. The setting is small in size, yet it does not feel claustrophobic and tight, even when busy, on the contrary, the place felt intimate and charming. The décor was smart, comfortable and stylish. This was all rounded off by a great musical accompaniment from a guest DJ, who played fantastic music throughout our visit. What more could you expect from a cocktail bar?
The staff in bars are often as important as the drinks they are serving; as the service and attentiveness of bar staff is key to making sure your evening runs smoothly. In this aspect, the Zenna bar scores top marks, with staff who are fun, professional and extremely friendly. They could not do enough for us. Zenna bar also make a great spectacle of the cocktail making process itself and it had us mesmerised on occasions. A special mention goes to the manager Dan Thomson who regularly went from table to table making sure all guests were enjoying their evening. A very nice touch.
Now, for the important part, the drinks
`House Nectar` is one of the most flavoursome and enjoyable cocktails my guest and I have ever sampled. It was a perfect blend of a sweet, yet refreshing, passion fruit and orange flavour. I would love to able to tell you exactly what was in it, however, it is Zenna`s secret house recipe and so I cannot tell you much more. All I can say is have one, in fact, have more than one!
`Vita` is one of Zenna`s most refreshing citrus based cocktails. It blends lemongrass infused Vodka, Raspberry puree, Chambord, fresh Lemon and Lychee juice with a dash of soda to top. This was a fantastic antidote to an evening meal, as it cleansed the palette, making way for flavours late on. Other great drinks included Coriander and lychee daiquiri and the Raspberry and mango margarita; they were both deliciously fruity and yet, packed a little punch, just to make sure you don`t get too carried away! One of my personal favourites is the `Pink Fizz` – a blend of cognac and plum liqueur, topped off with champagne. The drink oozed class and would make the great drink choice to toast any occasion.
The spiced cocktails
And so to the Zenna bar`s defining selection, the spiced cocktails. At the lower end of the spectrum there were lightly spiced drinks such as the Bee Sting – a lightly spiced drink that lended honey Vodka, Honey liqueur, lemon juice, jalapeno peppers, peach liqueur, white peach puree. This is a brilliant introductory drink to the world of spicy cocktails – it gave a warming kick, which wasn`t over powering in it`s spice, but gave enough of it to rile the taste buds into a reaction. The spice complimented the fruit and honey perfectly, therefore giving delectable flavour, in which all the elements married perfectly.
As you move up the spice spectrum the cocktails just get hotter and hotter! Using hotter chillies and various pepper, the journey up the cocktail scoville scale is an exciting one.
The climax of the spicy cocktail menu comes with the `Illiana`. `The Illiana`, which translates as `the golden dragon`, is the world`s spiciest cocktail – a cocktail that will sort the men from the boys, so to speak. The drink consists of Chairmans Spiced Rum, Orange Curacao, Orgeat syrup, Lime juice, Orange juice, one drop of Secret Spicy Sauce. Just to give you an idea of just how hot this cocktail is, the bar request a waiver before they can serve it to you, so beware! The cocktail also comes with a `Fire Extinquisher` which consists of a soda siphon of cold gin fizz. (as seen below)
A Lassi is a zero fat traditional Indian yoghurt based drink, which can be sweetened with sugars and fruits or taken savoury with spices or salt. Available with or without alcohol, they make the perfect alternative for those who aren’t spice lovers. My guest sampled the Coconut Lassi – a blend of fresh Natural Yoghurt blended with Coconut and Pineapple Juice, with Chairman`s Reserve Rum and Koko Kanu Coconut Rum – and was really impressed by the depth of flavour.
Other notable drinks are Zenna’s luxurious blends of the finest and most exclusive spirits. Some of these cocktails were pushing the £30 mark, but if you are looking for the most lavish cocktail, then it is a small price to pay.
I would recommend the Zenna Bar to anyone who is looking for a sophisticated, entertaining and exciting cocktail experience.
Here is a link to the menu: http://www.zenna-bar.co.uk/downloads/snacks-cocktails-lassi.pdf
For more information click here – http://www.zenna-bar.co.uk/