If you had called Kingsland Road pretty a few years ago, Londoners would have looked at you with a slightly alarmed expression and shuffled a few steps away. While the stretch of tarmac may still not be the most aesthetically pleasing, there are a few joints determined to make it more attractive. Map Maison is one of the most eye-catching along this old road, from the flower wall outside, right through to their vintage interiors.
I have a dream of being an Instagram success story; ignoring the fact that I’m terrible at taking photos, Map Maison may just be the place to catapult me into online super stardom. From the outside wall of suspended potted plants through to the vintage Cabriole sofas and local art on the walls, the cocktail bar is a scene just waiting to be snapped. The bar is one long room filled with antique trinkets and interesting features, all inspired by different areas of the world. A cherry blossom tree is reminiscent of Japan, and velvet-covered seating wouldn’t look out of place in a French parlour.
With low-hanging lights and a wooden panelled ceiling, the atmosphere is intimate and low-key, meaning that unsurprisingly the spot is a date night dream. Goodlooking East Londoners filled up the stretch sofas and sat outside enjoying a summer’s evening.
Food and Drink
The cocktails are the star of the show at Map Maison with a list of inventive and original mixes. The little spot also has a secret hidden up its floral sleeve as the proprietor of perhaps London’s largest Japanese whisky collection. With more than 150 bottles of the renowned spirit, the bar serve it in single measures as well as in their new list of cocktails. As someone who doesn’t usually drink whisky, the Haibisukasu (£14) was a sweet surprise with a mix of red berry and hibiscus syrup, ginger and citrus that cancelled out the usual heavy taste of the spirit.
All the drinks had elements of classic cocktails but with a twist. The barrel aged mezcal negroni (£11) was a darker, richer take on the normal drink while Pablo and the Mexican (£11.50) was a souped-up margarita with tequila, sherry and a cayenne pepper and chilli rim. The venue also does international sharing plates; a board of iberico ham (£10.50), cut from a joint behind the bar, came drizzled with oil and crusty bread slices. Generous helpings of smoked salmon (£10.50) were paired with smashed chilli avocado and bread, while tiny sliders (£10.50) were delicious little burger bites.
Gorgeous inside and out, Map Maison is a Kingsland Road gem worth leaving the hubbub of Shoreditch for. Nab the end sofa for an intimate date night and work your way through the Japanese cocktails, I guarantee you’ll feel a million miles from East London.