Coal Vaults

By Maeve
187b Wardour Street, W1F 8ZB
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Mon to Sat 5pm-12:30am; Sun 5pm-11.00pm

Down in its basement, Coal Vaults works on quite a few levels, doing some simple but witty things with food, drink, décor and service. Coal Vaults is in a location that’s been on a journey from coal store, to Triad drinking den, to Korean restaurant, and now a fashionable and atmospheric bar/dinner spot. The young owner has side-stepped from a lucrative first career in the construction industry and – fittingly – all of the interior is his own work, including the quirky resin floors of the loos, the industrial-looking wine rack behind the bar and the high tables and stools throughout. The bar – and its charming, characterful staff – is the key focus here. Mixologists dabble with their own distillations – chrysanthemum vodka anyone? – to not only create well-loved unions of ingredients, but experiment with lesser known ones such as the Catalan Martini with roasted fennel seed vodka and cantaloupe melon and lemon and the Rodeo Drive, which combines Bourbon, toasted macadamia liqueur, Manzanilla, egg white and cherries. The end result is great cocktails and the odd flirtation into the realms of the extraordinary. A food offering of Modern British tapas doesn’t play second fiddle to the drinks, there’s some good ideas and healthy portion sizes here too: ‘Pulled’ rabbit with smoked black beans, sweetcorn & pineapple relish; charred courgette, caramelised red pepper, goats curd and hazelnut salad and the sublimely delicious salted gluten-free chocolate cake.