Our Review Of Seed Library In Shoreditch

It’s rare these days that you find a cocktail bar in East London on a Friday night that’s ideal for a quiet drink or two, but in the basement of One Hundred Shoreditch, there’s a 70s-esque hangout that’s spinning vinyl and welcoming guests to a dimly lit, red lounge to sip on its ‘lo-fi, analogue-style' tipples in peace.

Seed Library was created by Ryan Chetiyawardana AKA Mr Lyan, who founded his first drinking den, White Lyan, in 2013. Unique and inspiring, it was the first cocktail bar in the world not to use perishables (no fruit, no ice), and the same sustainable ethos has been adopted here. 

Seed Library Shoreditch Review | DesignMyNight

I seed what you did there: this East London haunt's interiors are super cosy.

I sauntered down into the moody surrounds of what resembled a Twin Peaks set: at the far end of the room was a golden back-lit bar and, adjacent, stacked shelves of records which were being carefully selected by the DJ. My friend and I were seated at one of the many cosy tables, equipped with mushroom lamps and ruby-red chairs.

My first drink from a cocktail list celebrating natural variance was the mezcal-based Pink Panther (£14), which featured Soka, smoked raspberry and ‘rapid aged cuppa’, which is essentially Yorkshire Tea mixed with Jersey milk and a lot of sugar. It came in a martini glass sporting white foam, topped with a cartoon drawing of the famous character.

Smoky and sweet, it went down a treat, while my friend ordered the Time Travel Apple Tini (£15), made using Grey Goose vodka and malted vermouth. Hers was stronger than mine, and I could get tart notes of the fruit cutting through the alcohol. It was served with a miniature, candied apple resembling an olive but was unmistakably less sour when bitten into.

Seed Library Shoreditch Cocktail Bar Review | DesignMyNight

The Seed Library Shoreditch menu is filled with innovative potions. 

We swapped roles for our second cocktail for the evening: I went for the more refined and margarita-like Moonlit Gimlet (£14), which was so herbal and smooth, thanks to soured green grass and elderflower. My friend, on the other hand, stepped things up with the Copenhagen Fizz (£15), containing macadamia milk and NP wild rose vinegar. Visually stunning (think pastel pink liquid topped with a cream-coloured foam), it was hard to place when it came to taste as the milk didn’t make it overtly creamy, nor did the vinegar render it sharp. It was smooth, balanced and went down a treat.

Seed Library’s menu was equally as seductive as its frequenters. After its partnership with My Neighbours The Dumplings ended earlier this year, it’s now serving some seriously nostalgic snacks, like the ultimate 90s comeback, the potato smilies (£6).

I hadn’t had one of those soft, crispy spheres of optimism since after school, so I jumped at the chance to order them alongside ketchup. They were just as I remembered, if not better; I could appreciate them more now compared to when I was a 10-year-old just needing them for fuel. 

Seed Library London Menu Review | DesignMyNight

Clink clink: find yourself a cocktail that looks this good. 

For the table, we also ordered miso marinated oyster mushrooms (£10) alongside a yuzu kosho, which I thought would be soft and silky but turned out deep-fried and crunchy. While this was a surprise, it was devoured nonetheless. The XO popcorn chicken (£11) with smoked chilli jam also offered the same salty sensation and addictiveness.

I found the smoked chilli jam to be my favourite condiment and ended up dipping everything in it, including the ‘nduja pork sausage roll (£10) which came with its own gochujang ketchup. The latter was slightly underwhelming but was made up for by just how much of a dip fan I am.

As the evening came to a close, and we admired our ability to clear an entire table of beige foods, Seed Library started to get a sizeable queue outside its door. Open until 2am on Fridays, it seemed to be the go-to destination for those in search of drinks past the typical 11pm curfew. As we got up to leave at the end of the night, we walked past clusters of couples whose evenings were just beginning.

The DesignMyNight Digest

For a seductive sip unassumingly hidden away in the city, Seed Library more than does the job. I loved the intimate lounge feel it had and the bar snack menu that took me back to my childhood. The vinyl wasn't overpowering noise-wise, it just added an element of sophistication that made me want to return with a date so that I could earn 'mysterious and cool' points. 

  💰 The damage: £95 for two, excluding service charge.

  📍  The location: 100 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JQ.

  👌 Perfect for: Date night.

 ⭐ Need to know: It's very well hidden in the basement of the hotel.


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