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On a snowy winter’s night, old school New Orleans speciality Café Brûlot Diabolique - a blazing brandy and spiced coffee grog for four, prepared with panache, served here with sugar-frosted beignets - is not the least of NOLA’s hooks. Another, is its genial Canadian capo, James Triffo, who has converted decrepit Georgian premises into a cute, fuzzy warm golden glow approximation of a French Quarter sauce saloon circa A Streetcar Named Desire. Upstairs, there’s a friends and members lounge, and a cigar terrace for languid Louisiana-hot spells should London get lucky. Staff is similarly sunny under pressure, knocking out the southern bordello belle and rakish gentleman caller’s favourite fancies Ramos Gin Fizz; Vieux Carré; Grasshopper; ridiculously rummy Hurricanes and our unimpeachable Sazerac and De La Louisiane (a rye, Bénédictine, red vermouth and bitters-tinged sweet Manhattan). Creole bar bites include hush puppies and sweet praline-glazed bacon strips; jambalaya and a smoky piquant gumbo are more substantial plates. Hounded from its original location by the rapacious rents that are crucifying cool Shoreditch, in Bethnal Green, class act NOLA is back on track.
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