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Dive down to the cosy cellar of neighbourhood Italian restaurant, Antico, and you’ll discover a stellar range of gins: we lost count at 50. If you’re a juniper novice, 214’s tutors will gladly ease you in with a flight of three for £12 (summery, citrusy Xoriguer from Menorca; complex Bathtub Navy Strength, big on East Indian spices; and bitter orangey beauty, Gabriel Boudier Saffron). You prefer cocktails? Gin again leads the way, with Portobello Road Negroni; Jensen dry Martini; Copenhagen (Bols genever, Cherry Heering, lime and bitters) and Peck’ham (Little Bird gin distilled in SE15, shaken with Cinzano bianco, Aperol, grapefruit juice and bitters). If you insist, other spirit bases are available, notably rum and rye. Figure on spending £9 per drink and on being here until last orders – post 1am at weekends.
I turned up at 214 with her Ladyship who commented as we came down the stairs into the dark and rather sexy basement space that it felt a little like entering a 50s styled speakeasy. To get things going we started with a Tom Collins...
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