Friday, 3 February 2012
Stress is the cocktail’s biggest ally. Wound up because K&C towed my car, and £265 poorer, I’m grateful someone else is paying for my nerve-de-jangling drinks tab tonight. I’m propping up a handsome bar at Zahra, a vast Turkocco bunker (as in Istanbul meets Marrakech) lurking beneath the latest outpost of Middle-Eastern resto/deli Del’Aziz’s burgeoning Ottoman empire. Here en masse, the lack of signage hasn’t foiled Cla’am’s flush 20/30-something Zara classes for whom Zahra’s clandestine casbah is tailor-made. Designed by the no-less luridly dressed Shaun Clarkson, its garish folkloric wallpapers, fabrics and beaded curtains (to screen off more intimate recesses) turn a potentially cold concrete bunker into a gay lounge. That’s ‘gay’ as in Sybil Thorndike’s day, I should add, lest nearby Lavender Hill’s LGBT mob gets over-excited. What excites me more, is on-the-money mixology - notably, the Hennessy cognac, cigar syrup and chartreause (sic) combo that is Del’ight. Del’icious too, despite the mental image conjured up by its bonkers description. ‘Think Sarkozy with the cigar’? Non, merci... on so many levels! Two Moneypenny cocktails (gin, cucumber, elderflower and ginger) to the good, my chum is still tense. When I dare to mock, saying the stress of casting models for a living doesn’t really compare with defusing mines in Afghanistan, huffy fashionisto flounces off. Thankfully, everyone else seems totally 'chillaxed'.
55 - 57 The Pavement, SW4 www.zahrabar.co.uk