A Martin Miller’s Gin martini

I first collected a bottle of this gin in Madrid airport duty free. The unusual branding caught my eye. Made with pure Icelandic water with a traditional English gin technique, it sits in a tall, proud-looking bottle with straight lines and clean imagery. There are strong maritime tones to the bottles appearance.

  
The gin has a crisp, dry flavour that you can lose in a gin and tonic (make sure you choose a tonic that does the gin justice). In a martini, however, I thought it went very well.

It has a smokey-smooth character, not too strong on juniper, or indeed any botanicals, which helped make a subtle but simultaneously bold martini.

  
To hark to its Nordic links you could drink it around mid-summer (midsommar), or mid-winter, but to be honest it would work at any time of year. Like most classic martinis it will go well with seafood but there’s something about this gin which makes me want to pair it with smoked things in particular – fish or meat. 

  
It also went down very nicely in the smokey air as we waited for steaks to cook on our fire pit. Despite the beautiful sunset it was freezing up in the Hebrides when we drank this, but we kept warm with the strong spirits inside us as we stood around the fire. 

  
Feeling a little bit merry, I went for a nice wander in the trees shortly after. A lovely end to the day.

The Tramshed, Shoreditch: 4/5



Overall a fantastic experience. I really enjoyed this restaurant.

The martini I had was also very good, although I would prefer it a little colder (keep everything in the freezer) and with more lemon (squeeze the peel into the glass when pouring). Otherwise it was beautifully served.



While I’ve seen this on the Internet, it was the first time I had actually drink a martini where my “top-up” came in a small bottle in ice on the side. I have been skeptical of this before because while it means the gin will be cold for your second pouring, the glass will have warmed up. I prefer to serve my second martini with a fresh, frozen glass. Nonetheless this, to me, is an effective and efficient means of serving such a drink in a busy restaurant. Furthermore the gin was definitely nice and cold when I poured the second batch. The use of Noccelara olives also wins points.



I loved the old fashioned food, served with raucous panache. It was definitely comfort grub, with roast chicken, chips, steak and Yorkshire pudding, dramatically served as above; herb-encrusted with utensils inserted coquettishly into animal orifices.



The meat was good quality and nicely prepared.



The generously-sized Yorkshire pudding was one of the tastiest forms of carbohydrate I’ve ever eaten in the UK.



After the martini we drank some nice Lebanese wine (Massaya, from the Beqaa Valley).



And… prepare yourself for some innuendo… we also tried the “cock shots” and “shot of bull” which were basically vodka flavoured with chicken stock or beef consommé. We loved the beef one in particular. It had hearty and warming flavour, with the umami of a consommé rendering the drink almost like a miniature Bloody Mary with a kick of horseradish. The shots definitely weren’t a gimmick. I would strongly recommend trying them before eating.



Set in an actual former tram shed, the tiled walls and industrial layout added to the ‘rough and ready’ feel of the venue. The trendy staff, attractive diners and selection of art works (such as the Damian Hirst cow and chicken – above) also came together to produce a brash, fun, modern take on something very traditional. This combination of old and new is something that London continues to get right. Bravo!

Special Beef Delivery

A very generous friend of mine heard that I was sick and told me he was sending a rescue package. He didn’t tell me what was in it but told me to wait in my flat between certain hours of the day for it to arrive. Given that I was in bed with some sort of virus, this was fairly straight forward.

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When it arrived I was bowled over. A box full of juicy, select cuts of beef, as well as some rub-in seasoning and some gourmet gravy. Om Nom Nom!

The delivery came from Turner and George, a butchers near Angel tube station.

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Beautifully packaged, I unwrapped one and put the rest in the freezer. I will defrost and cook some when my generous friend next comes round for a martini.

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With the sirloin steak I left out, I massaged in some of the seasoning rub and left it to marinade for a few hours in a sealed tub at room temperature.

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When it was time to cook I heated some sesame oil on a griddle (the hob was set to high) then added the steak, cooking it for just over a minute on each side. I then left it to rest for a few minutes while I arranged the plate.

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It’s not the most artistic dinner I’ve ever served, but I’m both ill and hungry. I served the steak with a fried egg on top, with broccoli, cherry tomatoes and a yoghurt and mustard sauce, with sesame seeds and a little hot sauce sprinkled over the top.

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It was such a good cut and tasted lovely. I felt like it definitely contributed to my recovery. However, during healthier times, something so exquisite might also make a good martini accompaniment (yes, I’m obsessed). Cook the steak as above, just before you pour your drink, then cut it into thin slices to serve on a plate alongside the martini. Exquisite.