Evans & Peel Detective Agency 310c Earls Court Road, Chelsea, London, SW5 9BA
A bar/restaurant posing as a detective agency in Earls Court? With bars springing up through wardrobes, phone boxes, and through Smeg Fridges, why not? But a trendy-secret-speakeasy-entrance does not a bar make! Thankfully, detectives Evans and Peel live up to the hype with knowlegable bartenders and great innovative drinks.
The trend for speakeasy bars marches on. Want to entertain your guests in a secret hideaway? East Londoners can walk through a wardrobe, a-la Alice in Wonderland, to find the exclusive Jub-Jub Bar. A secret combination of light switches will open the door to Danger of Death, a bar hidden below a coffee shop in Brick Lane. Alternatively, sneak through a Smeg Fridge in an breakfast diner to meet The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town (no I’m not joking… that is the name of the bar)
Strangely, all these elusive venues are in Shoreditch. Are the residents of East London afraid of being shot while they drink? Refreshingly, Evans & Peel are based in the more Westerly, dare I say, more gentrified, neighbourhood of Earls Court. They are located in a suitably discreet side street near the junction of Earls Court Road and Old Brompton Road near a selection of kebab shops and a local pub.
Entering through the 1920′s cop-show door you are greeted in a small office by an enthusiastic Detective Peel.
“Hello! May I help you?”
“Err, I phoned earlier, I wanted to have a look at the bar”
“Ah yes, we always welcome drop in appointments!”
With the preliminaries over, an innocent looking bookshelf is opened to reveal a surprisingly large bar area. Definitely one of the more impressive speakeasy entrances I’ve seen in London.
Initially the ultra dark, bygone era look of the bar reminded me of between Worship Street Whistling Shop. While the paraphinalia adorning the walls gives a little hint of Les Trois Garcon in the seperate dining areas. The end of the bar is set up like an old fashioned pharmacy while an innocent looking radiator is set up to produce E&P Radiator Moonshine (Meantime Pale Ale to the rest of us.)
The bartenders here seem to have come from a mix of backgrounds across London such as Lucky Pig & Riding House Cafe. They all seemed to be very happy to chat, and extremely proud to talk about their own cocktail creations.
As a fan of the classic Old Fashioned, I felt obliged to sample their variant called the Sheer Fashioned. Listed as “A drink to let the Bourbon sing. Wild Turkey magnified with a homemade honey, sugar and vanilla syrup to accenturate the aromas found in the Bourbon. served chilled and straight up”. This was pleasently executed and more balanced than I expected for a drink made with ‘homemade honey’. This was quickly followed by the unusual but quite refreshing G-Minus, describled as “A combination of English flavours, Lavender, Earl Gray and aromnatic dry Gin . A remastered G&T. House infused Tanqeray, orange bitters and sours.”
My favourite of the evening was the Auntie May’s Maramalade Bronx. According to their list “Possible the first coctakil to contain orange juice. We’ve replaced the O.J. with marmalade, giving the drink a powerfully bitter quality. Tanqueray Export. Sweet Vermouth, Dry Vermouth and Auntie May’s Mamalade!” This has a nice bitterness and vermouth overtones with a great Bitter Orange Breakfast Martini flavour.
I took the recommendation of waitress and started with the Alaskan Haul and Delta Hog. Both were fantastically tastely, if a tad on the small side for £4.50 and £5.50. The Alaskan Haul (Hot smoked salmon, red onion and caper hollandaise) had a powerfully strong smoked fish flavour but well balanced and not oversalted. Probably not great for a first date unless… you’re dating an anchovy. The Delta Hog (Smoked Pulled Pork & Apple Compote) was a great little amuse bouche for meat lovers, the pork smoke pulls thought and is nicely balance by the apple. I will warn you now, their sliders are very moorish and a few minutes later I ordered the remaining two. The Lower Eastside Deli (Smoked Peppery Pastrami w/Dill, Mustard & Pickle) and the Wildcard
(Roasted Red Pepper w/Deconstructed Smoked Houmous)
So is it worth making an appointment with Detective Peel? For food, I can only comment on the sliders which were excellent, if a little expensive. It took all four sliders make one regular burger but well worth sampling, very moreish and they make an excellent bar snack.
If you are a serious cocktail aficionado you will definitely need the snacks since the drinks really shine and you will want to spend the entire night propping up the bar. The bartenders have good pedigree and are enthusiastic about their creations. You don’t need to be a detective to figure out that this is a great place to drink.