The Gibson: Edge back into Edwardian Britain
The date is 1908. King Edward VII sits comfortably on his throne and groups of men mutter in envy about Henry Ford’s Model T, miles outside of their price range, whilst belching over warm pints of ale. Fast forward 100 years and The Gibson hasn’t really changed much – in appearance that is. Swap warm ales for audacious cocktails and you really get a sense of what Edwardian London must have felt like.
Head honcho, Marian, bought the place last year and has maintained its antiquated charm and, at the same time, jazzed up the menu, teleporting it into the 21st century. Despite the pizzazz and sparkle, Marian has kept true to the listed building’s roots by decorating the interior with copper, touches of bronze and green leather seating to match the outside tiles that adorn the façades. Should you ever venture to EC1 and feel like stepping back in time, then here is our guide to what you must try at The Gibson, Shoreditch…
1) The Gibson Cocktail
The eponymous drink to which The Gibson owes its name, this is a classic, a must-have, a go-to. It’s comprised of gin, vermouth and a pickled onion for garnish. Some like their martinis shaken not stirred, others like it stirred not shaken; well, we like it sliding quickly down the back of our throats as the next one’s being made. An all-time favourite that has stood the test of time in a world of Pokémon Go and Candy Crush Saga.
2) English Grass-Fed Beef Tartare : Organic 21-Day Beef, with Smoked Pancetta, Mustard, Pickles, Herbs, Spices, Capers & Egg Yolk, Rye Bread
As the title of the dish suggests, there’s a lot going on with this bar snack – and we thought bar snacks consisted of just a bag of KP dry roasted nuts and a packet of Walkers cheese and onion crisps, splayed out for all to share in traditional pub fashion. But not at The Gibson. This was elegant, refined and had an unctuous silky texture that paired well with the rye.
Credit: Tom Elms Photography
3) The Alchemyst’s Brew
Containing more ingredients than you could shake a stick at – Copperhead Gin, Beermelade and Cubberdon & Citrus Ponzu Gelato, to name but a few – The Alchemyst’s Brew is a force to be reckoned with. This cocktail will sure get you noticed, and that’s probably down to the fact that it’s served in a gargantuan, ceramic strawberry with an upside-down ice cream plonked on top.
4) Flambé Armagnac & Pheasant Terrine, with Dill & Onion Bread, Gin Blackcurrants, Wild Cranberry Chutney & Pickled Mushrooms
Move over pork scratchings, a new boy’s in town. Much like the Christmas pudding ceremony we’re all so accustomed to, the pheasant terrine appears in roaring flames. Once the fire subdues, you’re left with a rich, hearty terrine. The heaviness of the game bird is offset by the sweetness of the chutney and the pickled mushrooms. If only more bars offered terrine as a snack.
No, not Sean Connery’s 3rd, and undoubtedly best, Bond film… how we wish we had that Aston Martin DB5, though. The ‘Goldfinger’ cocktail is a mystery concoction of Brugal 1888 rum, kaffir leaves, coconut sap, spiced pineapple & papaya chutney etc. – the list goes on! It’s a perfect cocktail to finish the evening should you, like us, have not just a sweet tooth but a load of sweet teeth!
It’s certainly early doors for Marian and the newly rejigged Gibson but from what we’ve gathered, everything seems in place for a successful future. We look forward to seeing you there and raising a glass to London’s boozy, historic past!