There’s a new spot at The Brewery Quarter called Babel and it’s a dead swanky cocktail bar. We were kindly invited to try out the menu accompanied by a few drinks one Friday lunchtime to kick-start the weekend in style, and my gosh, that’s exactly what we did.
Not wanting to exhaust our (very) short list of babysitters, we took PJ with us, and although the team at Babel were incredibly welcoming, kind and helpful (making space for the buggy and the usual cooing etc.), this is a place best enjoyed as adults, with adults, for some adult time, eating adult food and supping adult drinks.
I loved the décor and the sheer amount of space, I can just imagine the buzz on a Friday and Saturday evening; friends enjoying a cocktail whilst putting all the stresses and strains of the week behind them.
We kicked off our afternoon with a few mocktails, my favourite being the Naked Batida (£4) which was like a (real) posh strawberry milkshake with coconut cream and condensed milk. Heavenly.
Now, the main course portions are pretty generous, so the best way to go about ordering is to judge your appetite first. If you’re just a little peckish and want something to nibble on whilst you have a few drinks, then I’d suggest ordering one or two small plates (or a sharing platter) to pick at. If you’re drinking on an empty stomach, I’d recommend going straight in for a main course, that way, if you’re still hungry, you can order a pud. You don’t want to make the same mistake as us and sob whilst you watch the majority of your incredibly chunky and incredibly yummy hand cut chips being taken back to the kitchen to be tipped away because your eyes were bigger than your belly and you ordered one of their sharing platters (between two) – as a starter!
So we started with the Babel ‘nachos’ sharing board (£17.50). These are nachos but not as you know them, and boy are they good. The best in fact. Rather than tortilla chips, Babel uses crisp fried flatbread topped with smashed avocado and pumpkin hummus. To pimp up your ‘nachos’ you then have an array of other super snazzy toppings including blistered Padron peppers with cracked salt, a sweet peppadew salsa and a bowl of amazing chicken, courgette and feta meatballs in a tomato and basil sauce. The nachos along with a couple of cocktails would have been quite enough for any normal person, but as you know, we are far from normal, and so we delved into another dish each. The course that finished us both off and actually - for once - defeated us!
Kingsley had the half brick chicken with roast garlic and roasting juices (£9) with a side of sweet potato fries (£2.50). For those not in the know, brick chicken gets its name from the way in which it is cooked – quite literally under a brick! This enables both sides of the chicken to cook evenly and it always results in the juiciest meat. The chips and fries game at Babel is strong. Too many places serve up limp sweet potato fries, but not here; they were cooked to perfection and seasoned with paprika and fennel. My hand cut chips were bloody good too, they were super chunky, and although I couldn’t eat them all at the time, later that evening, I was sat on the sofa wishing I’d brought a doggy bag home with me!
For my main course, I ordered the Caesar club sandwich (£10.95) which is one almighty sarnie. Definitely not first date fodder, it’s stacked high with sourdough, crusted chicken breast, bacon, lettuce, tomato and Caesar dressing. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, it’s all topped with a fried egg which has been seasoned with parmesan. Yup, you heard me – parmesan! Oh my. Get. In. My. Belly.
Needless to say, there was no way on earth we could squeeze a pudding in, but we did order a cheeky cocktail to round off the meal with something sweet. I had my eyes on the Chocolate & Fig Manhattan (£8) which was beautifully sweet and really rather strong. It’s the kind of drink you’d sit and sup over half an hour or so, but unfortunately, we had to hot-foot it home in time for PJ’s next bottle of milk! Crikey, this parenting lark can be a right old faff when you just want to sit and work your way through a ridiculously good cocktail menu!
If you do have the luxury of trying out a few of the cocktails, please let me know what you’d recommend for my next visit!