Apples and Pears, Tower Hamlets
It doesn’t look like much. Turning off from Whitechapel High Street, Apples and Pears’ modest neon sign is somewhat drowned out by the many more which share Osborn Street. Throw in the construction site opposite, it’s not the sexiest set up.
However, once through the door, you enter a little Garden of Eden full of sinful delights. Here, Eve has already grabbed the forbidden fruit and taken
a big old bite – and I’m kind of glad she did. There’s exposed brickwork, warm red and green lighting and an impressively stacked bar with a glass ceiling which reaches up to the heavens – a cavernous, underground bar, resting under an arch of brick, can also be found below. This cocktail bar offers intimate tables for two, a sofa for loungers, a heated and garish garden for smokers and seriously hip music for all.
There are some sharing plates and snacks on offer. The classics, nachos etc., are mixed in with some more tantalising bites: the mushroom and mixed herb risotto balls are glorious. But let’s focus on the drinks.
They come in all types of vessels – jam jars, mini milk bottles, classic martini glasses – and are served in all types of ways – on the rocks, straight up only to knock you straight down and the ever effective, end of the evening, shots. The man behind the mixology, Carlos, a.k.a. Mr Passion to his fans, is stirring up a storm with his unique and sophisticated handcrafted syrups. The masala caramel syrup in “Mr Tom’s Nuts” (El Dorado 5 yr rum, Serge Peanut Punch, cream, milk, Tio Pepe Sherry and Mr Tom’s peanut brittle) provides a libidinous cinnamon kick. Go bohemian with a heavily absinthe laced showstopper, “Pasimayaga” (Ceylon, Absinthe, Velvet Falernum, lychee and lime), enhanced by Mr.Passion’s fragrant Thai basil syrup.
So, it’s Thursday and the working week is drawing to a welcomed end. After spending the previous evening watching Harvey close the deal with true Manhattan panache in Suits, you’re finally ready to ask him or her out for a drink. Walk up to them boldly with the
knowledge that you have the perfect little East End secret – eccentrically casual, who’s going resist a bar with a name like Apples and Pears ?
Get the tube to Aldgate East together after work. Whisk your date around the corner and straight into the little hub of Apples. Take full advantage of the Thursday offer (two cocktails for a tenner) and share the thrill of relinquishing all responsibility for work on the morrow. Ignore the snacks; rather, feed each other the cocktail’s perfumed and aromatic fruit like Adam and Even in the Garden.
It’s tucked away down an underwhelming street – but once in you quickly forget the outside world. Two televisions on the wall displaying Tom and Jerry and vintage Gene Kelly will either act as a distraction or talking point.
3. A playful, quirky first date with plenty of opportunity for secluded seduction.