Gangs, illicit rum deals, spirit smuggling and ingredient hustling. This might sound like the synopsis for the next series of Peaky Blinders, but it's actually even more kickass than Cillian Murphy rocking a flat cap.
These are the foundations of the awesome new Urban Legends & Their Uprising Tales menu from award-winning bar, Coupette. The six-chapter menu is an exploration into the darker side of East London (no, we're not talking about Mile End station during rush hour) - a tale of wits, innovation and teamwork winning against all odds. Are you gripped yet? You should be.
If there's one thing BarChick loves, it's a booze-based story, so we hauled-ass to Bethnal Green to see what legends are really made of.
It's good to see nothing much has physically changed at Coupette. They're still rocking that iconic copper-coin topped bar, the sultry gold-hued lighting and a back-bar packed with Calvados and other epic French spirits. It remains a killer date spot, so if you're finally getting back out there after a lockdown dry-spell, hit them up and let the new menu get the first-date chat flowing.
Chances are you had never scanned a QR code pre-2020, but they've really come into their own in the "new normal" era. As you use your phone flick through the chapters of the vibrantly illustrated menu, you're also invited to scan a code to gain access to the banging trailer-style videos directed by Bar Manager Andrei Marcu and starring Coupette’s bar team. It's a pretty fly way to get fully immersed into the menu, that's for sure.
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With Marcu at the helm, the new menu of 24 cocktails split across the 6 chapters was a collaborative effort by the whole crew, and contains more experimentation than a Fresher's first year. Rocking a bounty of natural ingredients, harmonious flavour combos and a few moments of genius, it's hard to pick our favourites... but we've given it a try anyway. If you wanna be like BarChick, these are the cocktails to order to have your minds blown.
Ingredients: Olive Oil Makers Mark 46, Parmigiano Liqueur, Mead, Raisins
Garnish: A parmesan crisp.
You should order this if: You have a wild sense of adventure.
Our verdict: This is like nothing we've ever tried before. I mean, cheese in a cocktail? Come on, only the truly creative could think up something so wild. Luckily that's the Coupette crew's M.O. They've really experimented with savoury notes in this menu, which gives it all a bit more of a complex edge - and this is the champion of the genre.
The first sip is an absolute ride. A bit like turning a light on in a dark room, it takes a little while for your senses to adjust. Hitting the front of your tongue straight away is a smack of sweetness. That'll be the raisins doing their thing. Then the salty, nutty notes of the Parmigiano melt into the back of the mouth. Everything about it tastes familiar, and yet completely new at the same time. Would we order it again? Probably not, but that's not to say we didn't love it. We also loved Shindler's List, but we wouldn't wanna watch it again.
Ingredients: Martini Ambrato, Sauternes, Mango & Passionfruit, Pearls
Garnish: They're not so much a garnish as IN the drink, but you'll find tapioca pearls kickin' it at the bottom, bubble-tea style.
You should order this if: You usually prefer your drinks "with bits".
Our verdict: Snooping our eyes around the bar we noticed this one appeared to be the most frequently ordered drink from the new menu. No surprises - anyone with even a hint of a sweet tooth would find that fruity combination of ingredients a hard one to resist. And it looks intriguing. What are those black balls chilling at the bottom of that beautifully shaped glass? Curiosity gets the better of us.
The dream combo of sweet wine with the mango and passionfruit makes this cocktail taste like the peak of summer. July in a glass vibes; fresh and light, tropical but familiar. What's less familiar are those balls lurking in the depths. They don't add much to the drink itself, but they do keep it going once you've taken your last sip, having soaked up the juiciness of the liquid to turn themselves into a boozy gummy delight at the end. Whoopa!
Ingredients: Havana Club A, Crème De Menthe, Fontaine Cacao, Sweet Mole, White Chocolate & Cream.
Garnish: A shimmering beetroot crisp stuck to the side.
You should order this if: You have a sweet tooth, and you can rock a dark lippy.
Our verdict: Here they go again, playing with savoury ingredients and absolutely bossing it. It's served thick and creamy in a short tumbler decorated with a petrol-hued iridescent spray that'll cling to your lips if you don't navigate your sip correctly. Vampy. This cocktail brings indulgent pudding vibes to the menu. They've not so much garnished the drink as much as they have pimped the vessel by sticking a beetroot crisp to its side. It's the perfect earthy partner to the sweetness that comes next.
It's a good thing this baby is short, cos it's got some Jeff Bezos levels of richness to it, with a thick froth of white chocolate. There's a weird nostalgia of Christmas in this serve. Possibly down to the creamy After Eight vibes that sneak through from the crème de menthe - it's almost spicy at the back of the throat before being instantly cooled by the cream.
Ingredients: Grey Goose, Rinquinquin, Apricot EDV, Apricot x2, Almond Milk, Apricot Sorbet & Egg.
Garnish: No garnish but it does contain a few of their signature spherical ice "cubes".
You should order this if: you love the foamy sweets in a Haribo star mix.
Our verdict: This smasher tastes a bit like if you were to take all the best bits of a pic n' mix (we're talking fried eggs, milk bottles and foam bananas here, people), melted them down into a smooth, creamy liquid & added a few splashes of good quality booze. But obviously these guys have cracked this one with a bit more skill than that...
With its milky, sweet taste, this is the drink for anyone that loves a cinema sesh just for the snacks, or isn't too keen on the taste of strong booze. Good for kids at heart, not for actual kids.
Ingredients: Bacardi Aged Blend, Cinnamon Noisette, Ghost Raspberry, Crème De Cassis, Lime & Brioche
Garnish: Nada. This baby arrives naked.
You should order this if: You've got a dry mouth.
What we thought: Ever had it where the smallest sip of a drink has instantly flooded your mouth with saliva? Try out this little rocket and you'll know what we're talking about. With a sharpness that smacks down the side of your tongue and a sweetness of ripe berries that keeps it all in balance, this might be our favourite drink of them all.
We didn't quite pick up any hints of cinnamon or brioche knocking about in this one, so it wasn't so much French Toast as it was the juicy conserve you might spread on a baguette (an underrated breakfast, IMO) - but maybe that was the interpretation they were going for. Either way, the seeming simplicity of this serve won us over. We'll raise a French Toast to that.
In line with the current guidelines, Coupette re-opened at the start of the summer and has been sticking to strict COVID-19 measures within the venue. Expect limited seating of 30 guests, table service, queue management and all staff wearing face masks and gloves to ensure each guest feels safe and comfortable at all times.