The home of infamous beigel rivalries, a horde of world-class restaurants and some of the best club nights in London, Shoreditch hardly needs another reason for us to visit. Could Seed Library be the next? With cocktail connoisseur Mr Lyan behind this latest opening (he’s the founder of world-class venues such as White Lyan and Lyaness), I had high hopes. But not only does Seed Library have a famous face at the forefront, it’s also located at the new staycation spot that’s taken over the space which once housed Ace Hotel.
Away from the main hotel entrance of One Hundred Shoreditch, the doorway to Seed Library is tucked around the side and downstairs. Heading down to the basement, we were transported to the 70s via half-moon lamps, retro orange seating and hippyish brown glass vases. Shelves lined with vintage records and cosy mismatched seating gave way to the central bar in this intimate room.
Wasting no time with the menu, we started with a couple of cocktails. For me, the curry leaf stone fence (£10.50) – a gentle, carbonated mix of curry leaf cordial, curry leaf-infused rum, lemon and fermented pear cider. For the other half, it was the galangal penicllin (£11) which came recommended by our waitress. A great choice for my mezcal-loving date, it was heady combination of Patron tequila, mezcal, galangal honey and lemon.
It's not only drinks up for grabs here though, there’s also a mini menu of bar snacks. I’d seen the tattie smilies (£7) doing the round on Instagram, but I didn’t really get the hype. Paired with a cheese sauce that congealed within minutes, the potato smiles took me back to my primary school canteen. However beef rib croquettes (£9) were a meaty hit; smoky, moreish and matched with a tangy fermented raisin and kimchi sauce. I didn’t let me offal-weary date put me off ordering the fried chicken hearts (£8), and it was a decision that paid off. Thick yet blanketed by a lightly crisp shell and drizzled in a creamy chilli sauce, they had us digging in for more.
Ending on a couple more drinks, we wrapped up with twists on two of our favourite classics. My tooth-wracked old fashioned (£11.50) married single barrel whiskey with toothed-wrack ‘bitters’ and chestnut honey water. It was ok, though could have done with a touch more sweetness. My date, on the other hand, was a fan of his sansho leaf martini (£11.50), made with Belvedere Heritage vodka, Cocchi dry vermouth and green sansho oil. Don’t be fooled by the sansho oil swimming on top.
The DesignMyNight Digest
A retro interior, low-key atmosphere and chilled out service make Seed Library an effortlessly cool destination. Don't expect the same meticulous precision and high-end feels that we've come to find at Lyaness; this is Mr Lyan but Shoreditch-style. The price point is slightly lower, the place feels a lot more chilled out, and beigels are only a few minutes away...
💰 The damage: £68.50 plus service.
📍 The location: 100 Shoreditch High Street.
👌 Perfect for: discreet drinks.
⭐ Need to know: you'll want to check out One Hundred Shoreditch while you're here.
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