CUB Food: The Gin Joint, Barbican

Whether it was a deliberate sadistic move on my course conveners’ parts, or a genuine faltering of common sense, I was required in week ten of this semester to read three novels, an actual book of Freudian philosophy, as well as write two close readings. Understandably, it was a tough week and my sanity was severely threatened. It was therefore with zero hesitation that I accepted an invitation to dine out for the evening at The Gin Joint in Barbican. Surely litres of gin and a beautiful, fat, juicy steak would alleviate my predicament? So it was that after an inevitable London bus faff, we arrived at The Gin Joint, where a charming waitress took our coats and lead us to our table. The venue itself was quite stunning. The back wall of the restaurant was entirely glass, so that the glittering view of Barbican Centre, the lake and St Giles Cripplegate Church below illuminated the restaurant furnishings – I have a bit of a light fetish. Of course, once seated we reached straight for the cocktail menu and indulged in a selection of unusual gin based cocktails – Lavender Martini, Peppercorn, and Misty French – all mixed with delicious expertise. The food that followed – Cornish Crab Bisque, Rib Eye Steak with hand cut chips and blue-cheese sauce, and Pear and Almond Crumble – was out of this world. It was prepared to such a standard that I would have continued to eat past my appetite, it was that good. The Bertha grill, uniquely caramelises sugars and leaves a smoky flavour in the meat.The excellent service accompanying the meal added to the wonderful evening we all had, and ultimately, the evil of my workload was completely exorcised! It goes without saying then that I would thoroughly recommend visiting The Gin Joint, and if you do, the Steak is a must!

After the previously mentioned D7 bus fiasco, I was admittedly a little flustered on arrival, eager to sit down and even more eager to devour something delicious. I can confirm I was highly satisfied and can only sing the praises of the Gin Joint. My position as a student means that obviously my dining experiences during in term time are not of the highest quality, and this was a welcome change. My position as a student however has enhanced my experiences and knowledge of gin, I love it. I just can’t get enough, so this for me was like a trip to mecca. Gin Joint has the most impressive Gin list I have ever seen, and to my absolute joy they do Broker’s gin ON TAP. On observing the cocktail menu I spied a few classic gin cocktails (Gimlet, Negroni and so on) but some concoctions even I had not thought of, and I think about gin a lot. I ordered first a ‘Lambeth Lemonade’-beefeater 24, lillet blanc, raspberry syrup and lemonade- absolutely delicious so we proceeded to order two more. Another highlight from the cocktail menu, a ‘Gincognito’- Plymouth gin, fresh lime juice, coriander, cane syrup, Peychaud’s bitters and tonic, a slightly bizarre take on a mojito, that works incredibly well, the balancing between the cane syrup and coriander with the gin was perfect. The cocktails are delicious, presented immaculately and excellently executed- the perfect accompaniment to the menu. The Gin Joint is perfect for special occasions, a date, a birthday, and pre theatre dinner- anything really-perhaps on a student budget it is best saved for special occasions, but I find the lunch prices to be very affordable- the lunch menu served daily 12-2.30 is £10 for one course or two for £14.

If you have extra money floating around, go spend it here. The Gin Joint’s Starter menu is an amazing way to order fish if you like fish dishes but wouldn’t want one for a Main Course. I ordered Beefeater Gin and Beetroot Cured Salmon, mostly because I wanted to see the effect of gin as an ingredient instead of a drink – it didn’t disappoint. Sometimes I find salmon quite overpowering,
whereas this was subtle, and a terrific shade of purple from the use of beetroot. For Main get a steak, if only for the incredible Black Sticks Blue Cheese sauce which everyone needs to and should taste. (I would happily have it as an accompaniment to everything I will ever eat for the rest of my life if that were possible.) It was rich and decadent, and perfect for dipping chips into after
having smothered my Rib Eye steak with the majority of it. Despite being with two female friends, it was easy to see how this restaurant would make an impressive date experience. Even down to the soft lighting and the perfect sized tables (big enough to spread out but not so huge you have to shout), the space felt intimate without being claustrophobic. The view was pretty magical too, with
every diner being able to enjoy the twinkling lights of the City. Whether you choose The Gin Joint for drinks, drinks and dinner, or the ultimate: drinks, dinner and a show at The Barbican itself, there’s something for everyone to experience and enjoy.

For more information and to book, visit The Gin Joint website here.

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