SquareMeal Review of
Lurking unheralded in the basement of Italian trattoria Paesan, this pseudo-louche liquor lounge (open most evenings) is perhaps best at weekends. On Friday and Saturday nights, oddball cabaret acts, vaudeville artistes and disrobing burlesque dancers give it their all before DJs spin bygone grooves and guilty pleasures through to the wee night-tube hours. Hester’s gets busy, so reserve a table – refusing the offer of a squat cube stool if you’re tall – for turns that are polished if not cutting-edge when we visit. Cocktails are king here, but we regret not picking classics over signatures from a range that includes molecular malarkey such as Carbolic Smoke Ball. Whisper (a flabby lavender, gin and vodka Martini) was no longer cold by the time it arrived, and languished unloved. And Too Darn Hot, belted out by showgirl Jolie Papillon, might also describe a mezcal, Tequila and chilli fix with a hellish fiery assault.