Last year I went through a bit of a bingo phase. I bet you’re wondering why the hell I’m telling you this. Well, I’ll tell you why. I had to walk down Iverness Street every Monday to get to get my Mecca Bingo fix. When I heard there was a (relatively) new venue called The Bayou on the street, I made it my business to take a sneak peak.
The Bayou doesn’t seem to have an all too consistent theme when it comes to interior, other than hints of South America of course. It’s an ‘anything goes’ kind of place. Stripy long loungers line one side of the room, red checker cloths drape the tables, vintage metal posters scatter the place while fiery red walls add an extra bit of warmth to the venue. Overall, the venue is a bit wacky, a bit weird and very Camden.
Food and Drink
Ok folks – can anyone tell me what’s better that booze? Yes, that’s right - cheap and cheerful booze. The Bayou Soul have a generous £5 happy hour between 5pm and 7pm which me and my partner took pleasure in ordering from. This resulted in two Spiced Aperol Spritz tingling our adventurous taste buds. Our cocktail was a heady mixture of Aperol, Campari, orange juice, sugar syrup, tabasco, prosecco and soda water.
I had a plausable problem when looking at Bayou’s food menu. I wanted to order every single item; but with Christmas around the corner this wasn’t an option. Instead, I ordered the Coconut Popcorn Shrimps (£6.50) and the Pulled Pork Mac ‘N’ Cheese (£9.50) for mains. The Shrimp starter was plentiful but unfortunately I don’t know where the coconut flavouring came into play. The mighty Mac ‘N’ Cheese dish wooed me from start to finish; it was creamy, it was cheesy, it was carb heaven. My trusty partner ordered the same main but opted for a different starter called the Spinach Madeleine (£6). This traditional Louisiana dish is perfect for spinach and cheese lovers and would make a great sharing starter for afternoon drinks.
Because I was on my best behaviour, I skipped dessert and headed straight for the cocktail menu. Feeling very festive, I ordered the Advocatt Egg Nog (£7.50) because nothing says Christmas like Eggnog. I have a feeling that The Bayou don't receive many requests for Eggnog; it was served with the yoke bobbling at the surface. They somehow forgot to whisk everything together but having apologised and exchanged my drink, all was forgiven.
Atmosphere and Clientele
Jazz music drifts through The Bayou like the Mississippi River, creating a unique Camden retreat for just about anybody. Another nice touch is some of the world’s most famous dance routines playing on the venues TVs. The Thursday night we wandered into The Bayou we were treated to a live performance. Even though it was a one man band on stage, it still caused us to order another drink and stay an extra few minutes at our table. This Louisiana inspired den is a cosy spot for dinner and drinks and maybe a low key, no fuss first date.
They might have given me a raw egg in my cocktail but The Bayou excel when it comes to their food offerings. I’m delighted to say that I have another reason to travel down Iverness Street (other than going to compete with Camden's Mecca Bingo biddies for a £10 jackpot).