The distillery which has opened in trendy Portobello Road in Notting Hill is a mecca for all gin lovers. This is a one-of-a-kind venue in the UK with 4 floors of pure gin heaven including its own gin museum, a distillery, 2 bars, gin making experience ‘The Ginstitute’, off-licensed shop and 3 boutique hotel rooms.
We went along to the ultra hip, GinTonica to sample some gin cocktails and Spanish tapas dishes. The decor has the style of an art deco Spanish studio with the bar in close proximity to their open kitchen. There are very obvious nods to botanicals throughout the room, including some vibrant, colourful prints on the walls.
What of the gin cocktails you might wonder? Firstly you have to admire their Copa de Balón receptacles, these 21oz glass goblet are the perfect way to enjoy your gin cocktails. The bowl-shaped nature of the holder enhances the flavours of the botanicals in the gin. We tried the modern-day interpretations of the humble gin and tonic. By far the most popular was their house gin, Portobello Road Gin 171 which was served with Nordic mist tonic water, pamplemousse liqueur, grapefruit marmalade and hop bitters. It was crisp, refreshing yet with more complex aromatic aromas. The Half Hitch was also dangerously sippable with beautiful tasting notes from Earl Grey tea liqueur and cucumber bitters.
Thankfully the food matches up to the high standard of the cocktails. The Jamon Iberico Bellota had that premium polished sheen to the meat and a long-lasting rich savoury taste to it; so much so that you might not try other charcuterie after tasting this porky magnificence. Exceeding this was their josper smoked duck dish which was firm, evenly cooked and the reason why the word succulent was invented. The flavours were well-balanced with the celeriac remoulade.
I definitely wouldn’t order the duck dish first followed by their grilled free range chicken, roast chicken croquette. On its own, the dish was hard to fault. however matched with the duck, it did seem like a less refined dish.
Their vegetables section is remarkably low on green items although we did enjoy some substantial tasting dishes like the classic patatas bravas which was covered with a welcoming tomato and chilli dip and a hearty tasting Spanish omelette. Do check out their specials, as they did have more vegetarian options on their specials during our visit. We tried a refreshing avocado salad with a sumptuously fried quail egg.