Where: St Thomas St, SE1 (nearest station London Bridge)
Vibe: fresh & lively
USP: seafood diner and wine bar
I was walking past, that's all, but in the window, Bob - can I call you Bob? - reaches out: We're new in town, Drop-in and say hello! So I did. Inside, they had a sign that said, 'Happy Hour £1 Oysters, Every Weekday 5pm-6pm' (they call it Buck-a-Shuck). It wasn't 5pm yet, but I'm patient. Head barman, David, started making me cocktails, my bar-stool started to feel very comfortable indeed.
I didn't know about Bob's beforehand, I really was just passing by. I didn't know they previously had a van from which they used to serve lobster rolls (the van's now parked in the bar area). I didn't know this is their first permanent site and has been open only a couple or months or so. I didn't know they do breakfast, lunch and dinner (and snacks in between). And I didn't know they do wine based cocktails. I guess it's why we started the blog again, there's a lot we don't know (but we like learning).
Accordingly, Bob's could be on the restaurant stream or cocktail stream of the blog but that day I was there for the drinks, so here it is, with a focus on cocktails. What I will say about the food is that they clearly care about seafood (and food in general) and their lobster roll (of which I tried a mini one from the between-meals snack menu) has both built them a following and got them where they are today. From what I've seen on their Instagram account, the food coming out the kitchen looks very good. Maybe another time then for a proper meal.
So drinks. Being a restaurant and wine bar, they do all the regular things that a punter having dinner might expect and the wine list is surprisingly, and pleasingly, extensive. White wine starts from £5 for a 125ml glass of Feudi di San Gregorio (£25 a bottle). And what looks like becoming a benchmark for the drinks' blog (because every bar seems to sell it), Bollinger is £15 a glass (£85 per bottle), arguably a little on the high side per glass but hardly unexpected.
Cocktails riff on the wine list. For refreshment, I start with a French 57, their take on a French 75; I think they reversed the norm and called it a 57 because that was the year their lobster van dates from, but I wouldn't stake my next drink on it. Priced at £11, it's perfectly reasonable for a champagne cocktail while also the most expensive cocktail on the list.
David, the head-barman, was very engaging and a great sport, even allowing me to Instagram him making one of my cocktails. I'm passionate about drink so a friendly barman to discuss the bar list with is one of the things that can differentiate a bar. Technically, he was fully on top of things and all his creations were excellent.
I ask most barmen about signature cocktails or the like, and the reply that everything is a signature cocktail can be annoying. David however was delighted to point me in the direction of two cocktails in particular, while I was equally delighted to drink them (both). One was a Sherry Rebujito (Fino Manzanilla Sherry, Mezcal, Lime, Mint and Negroni Cherry - an Andalusian invention to combat the heat and tweaked by David for a more refined offering), and the other was the Muscat Martini (Monbazillac, Cointreau, Campari and Fresh lemon). Come to think of it, I might have insisted on the Muscat Martini myself. I do remember enjoying it (while it also made for a great photo, see below).
Finally, I really liked what they did with the Negroni, serving only half to start with the remainder in a bottle on ice. The outcome is that you don't end up with a severely diluted Negroni by the end of the drink if (like me) you sip this drink quite slowly rather than chug it. The offering is thoughtful, and we like thoughtful.
Conclusion: I really enjoyed stopping by Bob's Lobster for a drink. I will definitely return and most likely eat there too so I can let you know if the food tastes as good as it looks. 'Drop in and say hello,' they said: I did, and I'm pleased I did. I got a warm reception and a cold drink on a hot day. A happy find.
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