Bull in a China Shop, Shoreditch
‘Let’s see where the night takes us’ is a delicious prospect, but in reality spontaneity on a date is very hard to come by. It’s horribly dispiriting to end up wandering listlessly from packed bar to overcrowded restaurant, cursing yourself for forgetting to book somewhere. The Chan Brothers’ latest opening, Bull in A China Shop, is a great address to have up your sleeve should you find yourself in this predicament. It’s a Japanese scotch and whiskey bar that serves inventive Asian food from breakfast into the early hours. The outside is unobtrusive, and behind the old pub frontage the atmosphere is buzzy yet relaxed.
Haruki Murakami wrote that “whiskey is like a beautiful woman, you gaze first, and then it’s time to drink.” The heaving shelves behind the bar and the cocktail list demand this kind of appreciation. The house favourite, an Old Fashioned, made with Nikka Yoichi, a 10 year old whiskey, chamomile syrup, charcoal and coconut is sublime. If you prefer something fruitier, try the Apricot High Ball, made with Nikka Whiskey, apricot jam, apricot brandy and soda. Trust the barmen to keep the cocktails coming as you get stuck into the food. The rotisserie chicken is seriously more-ish, brined with ginger and marinated overnight in Asian yoghurt and glazed with whiskey. We also loved the Panko-crusted Chicken Burger, served in a charcoal black brioche bun, with pickled ginger and mayonnaise. Unfortunately, the superfood salad was a damp squib in comparison.
Whatever time you arrive here you will be welcomed like an old friend. Squeeze in along the burnished copper bar or at one of the cosy tables in the back. Buy your date a killer cocktail, let the whiskey work its magic and you are all set for an evening of relaxed conversation and damn fine drinking. If you aren’t exactly hitting it off, you can always sit back and admire the bartenders as they hand carve the ice…plus they are cute as hell.
Service was a little slow, but I’m sure that’s just a teething problem.