Tucked away in Clerkenwell is my favourite cocktail bar. Which is a big deal for me, because I usually view cocktail bars with suspicion and distrust. Anywhere that waters down my booze and doubles the price just because some lunatic in a waistcoat has plonked it on a napkin and made a lot of washing-up is not my kind of bar.
That said, Tart in Clerkenwell gets points because a) it looks fucking cool and b) it does these magnificent dessert-inspired things called ‘Tartinis’. They take them absolutely ages to make, but fortunately that doesn’t matter because I’ve never known the place to be as rammed as it should be. I only tend to go for a sly one after work though; later on they crack out the DJ decks and things get a lot livelier.
I took a trip with my top ginger mate, Merce, to catch up and suck down some serious liquid calories after work one evening.
Obviously this isn’t the whole menu, just the good bit. They do regular cocktails too, but who cares about those when you can have banoffee pie in a glass?
Until very recently, they included the Tartinis in their £6 happy hour (Tuesday and Wednesday, 5-7pm, FYI), but they’ve recently pulled this. Presumably because they all involve the elaborate use of mini sieves and whisks and the bar staff probably want anyone who orders one dead. So, sadly, they are always £8.50. Which, although not bad for a cocktail in Central London, still ain’t cheap.
We started with the Lemon Meringue Pie and Bakewell Tart. The former is my favourite thing on the whole menu because it’s so tart and tangy. It’s made of vodka shaken with lime and lemon curd, served beneath a squidgy-delicious homemade meringue. Yes, ACTUAL MERINGUE. In a drink.
Bakewell tarts are not my thing at all, but, to be fair to it, the thing actually does taste like one of Mr Kipling’s cherry nasties.
We followed them up with some of Tart’s creamier creations. I had the New York Cheesecake, which is fine, but not the best thing they make. It is delicious, but very rich and really no more than spiked cream:
Merce was on the cherry wagon after her Bakewell Tart, so plumped for the Black Forest Gateau, a deep, velvety concoction of posh rum, dark chocolate sauce and cherry liqueur. And an actual cherry, which sits and sulks at the bottom until you’ve slurped away its chocolately friend.
Now, I know sweet things are not everyone’s cup of tea, but Tart is worth a visit just for the novelty. Also, the cocktails seem to contain a decent amount of alcohol; that Gateau thing is bloody strong.
If you’re a bloke, it’s a great place to stop by on a date. Admittedly the Tartinis are probably the girliest drinks in the world – if you give a fuck, that is – but you’ll get top marks for originality, and girls love all that shit. They’ll end up Snapchatting it to all their mates and you’ll look brilliant.
We visited Tart on a Tuesday evening straight after work. Tartinis cost £8.50 each, and the full menu is online here.
You can find Tart somewhere between Barbican and Farringdon stations, at 117 Charterhouse Street, London EC1M 6AA. Note that they are only open Tuesday to Friday.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.