A seven-course, Caribbean-inspired tasting menu with cocktail pairings will always turn heads. But when the man behind it is Great British Menu finalist Kerth Gumbs, and the setting is a brand new independent bar in Southwark, it becomes unmissable.
Those who don’t like whiskey be warned: Boiler & Co will likely change your mind. One of us was converted minutes after arriving by a standout whiskey pina colada, which unusually featured beer syrup, adding a pleasant malty flavour.
Relaxed and endlessly knowledgeable staff led us through the chic, industrial space to our table. Soon came a delicately spiced jerk beef tartare served in a prawn cracker, accompanied by a white peach and jasmine whiskey soda. This, it would turn out, would be the first of many perfect matches. A crab johnnycake was served with scotch bonnet mayo and roe, packing a punch without the delicate crab being overpowered. It was accompanied by an equally punchy lavender martini, an unusual but thought-out choice.
Roasted scallops came surrounded by an unforgettable curried lobster butter sauce, laced with turmeric and kaffir lime. A smokey, aniseedy fish stew was matched by an octopus salad, dry ice and a whiskey sour, which all tied together perfectly. Aged duck breast with tamarind felt a tad less exciting but was redeemed by a playful duck liver patty and knockout negroni.
The ducana cake with salt milk ice cream and impossibly light sweet potato whipped cream blew us away, celebrating Caribbean flavours while giving them a shake-up. Finishing with a tonka bean cold-press espresso martini, we left giddy with joy, having had a meal that was not just new, but fun. The £100 per person bill felt fully justified, and we will be back for coffee, brunch, a la carte and whatever else Boiler & Co has to offer (definitely more whiskey pina coladas).