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1 June 2015

the house of peroni | shoreditch

on saturday i had the pleasure of attending the  house of peroni's fifth pop-up installation in london. you might remember that i went along last year to the installation in holborn, which focussed on the art culture of italy, and was curated like it was an art gallery. i had it in my mind that it would be a bit like that again this year, but remembering how creative the all-peroni-based cocktails were, i decided to take up the invitation, and grabbed the girls for some saturday afternoon drinks in the sun.

this time it popped up on brick lane - like most good things do, and was easily located right by the old truman brewery, so it was much quicker for me to get to and from, which is always a bonus when it comes to day-time drinking. we were met in the foyer of the house by a very well-dressed chap (who didn't give us his name) and given the proper vip tour of the brand's newest installation.

first impressions: holy hell, this place is so totally beautiful and not what i was expecting. with dried flowers and vegetables hanging from the central brick wall, we walked and talked, and learned that this year's installation is based around the italian piazza culture; beer garden drinking and balcony coffees, and small plates of delicious food, and clearly also, really, really attractive men. because, there were many of those on hand too.

we were ushered into the beer garden at first, where the most beautiful wisteria decked out the great wooden beams above, and the fresh scents of floral infused drinks wafted around us. from there we were shown through to the house's own private cinema screen and outdoor screening area, before being brought back around into the main piazza bar. so far, so stunning. we were gob-smacked at how much creativity and design had gone into transforming the exposed and bare brick walls of the disused warehouse, and amazed at how something so pretty and lush could exists in the hub of east london.

we learned from this chap that this year's cocktail menu was designed by none other than the langham's most talented molecular mixologist, simone caporale - the coveted assistant head bartender in the artesan. his playful menu is somewhat inspired by his childhood spent in italy, and his memories are brought to life in the most creative of ways; simone uses unusual flavour pairings, vapours and foam to ensure that visitors to the house are immersed in the story of the peroni infusions, and each sip transports the drinker into la piazza...

our first drinks in the bar piazza was playfully called "the stolen berries", and played on memories of simone's of gathering berries from the bushes that lined lake como, and snacking on the sweet treats while he his from his nonna. the cocktail featured frozen raspberry sorbet down one length of a tall glass, then was filled with peroni. we were encouraged to let the sorbet release a little into the beer before drinking, as this is what creates the infusion. we did. it was magic. around the base was dried rasperries. i mean... just so creative! we sat out in the garden sipping our frozen beer drinks, thinking how bloody pretentious we must have seemed. not that we could have cared less at that stage, because what an amazing day we were having!

next up, while still in bar giardano, we tried one of each of the offerings from the garden's more fruity menu. a "nightwalk gelato" - inspired by memories of crossing the piazza on a hot summer's day while enjoying an ice-cream with friends; a "piazza palermo" - inspired by the midday watermelon deliveries in the heart of italy's south; and "the fresh shadow" - a blend of flavours to represent the cultural blend of the piazza. each of the zesty cocktails was as refreshing as it was fruity, and we so very drinkable. maybe slightly too drinkable, but that's neither here nor there.

in the cascata di fiore we were treated to somewhat of an experience. and not just from the smooth italian bartender who's jon snow looks had all eyes on him, but more so from the drinks that we were treated to by him. this bar had its own herb garden, and we were given a beaker each and asked to pick whatever herbs we liked, and to bring them to the bar when we were ready. we chose from some incredible scents; lavender, thyme, rosemary, mint...the garden was flourishing, and we picked and picked until we were ready to drink. we handed our beakers to jon snow who then proceeded to fill our beaker with some sort of vapour...

if you follow me on snapchat (imbeingerica) then you would have seen this happening first hand, but essentially the vapour was then infused with the fresh and aromatic herbs, and you were encouraged to suck the vapour out through a straw before sipping at the "campo dei fiori" drink - inspired by the beautiful flower shops that line the famous square in rome, ensuring a completey floral and multi-scensory experience. and i mean, it totally was, as i've never in my life vaped lavender, and yet now i totally would do it again because it was just absolutely delicious.

before we knew it, a few hours had flown by and we'd not realised. we'd been totally taken by this incredible space and the delicious infusions within, and there was no blaming us. the installation runs through until june the tenth, and i can seriously not recommend heading over there enough. i would love to go back and try either the dining experience (as i am sure it's going to be as wild as the drinking) or the cinema, so i will be keeping an eye on the events calendar while they're still in town.

thank you so much to all the staff who were there on saturday and who made our experience even better by being so sincerely welcoming, entertaining and very, very nice to look at. we will definitely be back soon.