If like me, you live in London and are a part of the doomed generation rent then chances are you’re not blowing your hard-earned salary at IKEA every weekend. In that case, you’ve probably made this sacrifice for the sake of enjoying London’s culture. This essentially means drinking in better furnished establishments than your own home.
Haggerston’s MAP Maison is a one of those establishments. An establishment that screams cool on location alone. But it’s more than just its Kingsland Road address. Here’s a bar that skips the trend of boring minimalism and instead holds a 1920s style. It’s complete with a bar that’s reminiscent of an apothecary counter and Parisian tiles lining its walls. Its menu boasts tantalizing cocktails and small plates, and printed in the front of hardback novels, is MAP Maison’s DIY foreword to tales such as Alice in Wonderland. That’s right, the foreword is food and drink. My kind of place. Sinking down in to the chesterfield-style sofas, we continued our introduction to MAP Maison with a rosemary martini and a bellini.
The bellini was a longer drink than the usual champagne flute allows, served in a wine glass this was a little more heavy on the peach than the prosecco, but still was the fruity, uplifting drink it should be.
The rosemary martini was a welcome twist on the classic concoction. Both smooth and light, the rosemary-infused gin added a subtle savoury taste that worked harmoniously with the tang of fresh pineapple and sweetness of the coconut. The small crack of black pepper added a small and appreciated kick.
We nibbled on marinated olives that to quote my friend ‘tasted like butter’, and the epitome of a moreish snack, the smoky sweet BBQ almonds.
Next up was the cheeseboard to indulge in, complete with English cheeses and French fromages, this selection promised an array of flavours, ranging from the sharp Shropshire Blue to the mellow and creamy Camembert Fermier. Also gracing the board were oatcakes for some welcome rugged texture amongst the smooth cheeses. Plump, red grapes provided the contrasting sweetness. Sure enough, this makes a good accompaniment for riveting stories, be them from Lewis Carrol or one of your closest friends.
The closing chapter of the evening came in theform of the Taste of Cuba cocktail – rum, sugar syrup, lime juice, egg white and aromatic red wine make up this deliciously sweet and sour cocktail. The attractively placed grapes and curled orange peel resting atop were as good as any ‘drink me’ label.
Here was further proof of MAP Maison’s creativity and craftsmanship, in sublime liquid form. It’s these carefully created cocktails, their appetising nibbles and eclectic interior that makes for a great blend of escapism and enchantment. All of which simply cries out, ‘come spend your rent money here.’
321 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4DL