Exiting Vauxhall Station we took a short stroll along the river path to Nine Elms Embassy gardens, the second location of Homeboy cocktail bar, from Irish duo Aaron Wall and Ciarán Smith. Following in the footsteps of Homeboy N1, they are aiming to bring the same modern Irish hospitality south of the river.
Our visit coincided with the Euro Final, and surprisingly the square was pretty quiet in the afternoon. Despite this, we received a warm welcome from Brendan, who informed us that the owners had made a decision not to stray into ‘sport’s bar’ territory by screening the football. This was quite a relief, and made for a lovely tranquil afternoon of alfresco dining away from the hustle and bustle we experienced en-route.
Unlike the snug cosiness of it’s sister bar, Homeboy Embassy gardens is spacious featuring a large wrap around outdoor terrace surrounded by stylish black planters and
contrasting greenery. The interior is stylish and modern, featuring a huge bar with a back wall laden with glistening bottles displaying an impressive selection of whisky.
Although whisky is the showcase, incorporated into innovative cocktails and adding a twist to the classics, there is also a vast choice of other spirit based cocktails, wines and beers on the menu. I started with the Dog House Punch, a sweet combination of Rum, Cognac, Peach Liqueur, Peach Tea Cordial, Lemon and Irish Soda Water served over crushed ice in an eye catching ceramic signature ‘Irish terrier’ cocktail mug. I loved this drink (I had two), with a combination of light fruity flavours, it reminded me of a peachy long island tea. My companion had the classic Penicillin made with Johnny Walker Black and Laphroaig. She loved the spice smokey notes, which paired well with the ginger and lemon, and just a touch of sweetness. Great attention to detail, with Homeboy logo embedded on the ice cube.
Between us, we made our way through a few delicious cocktails including an off menu Whisky Sour, made with ‘vegan’ egg white foam, garnished with drops of Angostura bitters. While the cocktails are the star of the show, Homeboy offers an all day three course menu with a decent variety of familiar choices with subtle Irish nuances inc. Irish Stew, Irish Cheese Board and their infamous Curry Sauce.
We enjoyed a starter of smoked salmon and soda bread, and moorish crispy wild mushroom arancini. The arancini had lovely contrasting textures a beautiful crisp shell, creamy and flavoursome filling, with a hint of saltiness. It was accompanied by the most delicious homemade creamy porcini mayo.
For the main as a non red meat eater, Brendan recommended ‘The Hack’, which combines elements of the Homeboy Cheeseburger and Vegan burger. A succulent ‘meaty’ plant-based burger from Moving Mountains in a buttery brioche bun. A flavoursome, juicy pattie, combining mushrooms, wheat, soya and vegetable protein which gives it a fibrous texture. Melted cheese adds a contrasting sharpness. Served with skin on fries and their homemade mouth watering sweet and spicy Irish curry, this was a definite pleaser.
My dining companion opted for the Chicken Fillet roll in a rustic baguette with salad. The juicy buttermilk marinated fried chicken was well seasoned, with a crispy coating covered in buffalo mayo sauce which provided a slight kick.
We were recommended Irish coffees as an after dinner drink. We had the ‘Irish’ made with Jameson Whisky and the ‘Belfast’ with Ban Poitin whisky and cold brew coffee. 35ml of whisky, paired with rich Irish bitters, coffee, sugar, nutmeg and cream. With notes of chocolate and spice, bittersweet and slightly indulgent, a perfect finish.
Service was attentive throughout our visit, Brendan and Caroline were very hospitable and personable and no effort was spared in making us feel welcome.
As a parting gift, guests are given envelopes containing Irish teabags to remind them of their visit. After making your way through the cocktails, milky tea in the morning might come as a welcome relieve.
With the new Nine Elms station due to open, the area is already on it’s way to becoming the new foodie destination and Brunch and Sunday Lunch will soon be on the menu. I will definitely be back to make my way through the cocktail list and look forward to taking in the atmosphere with DJ sets and live music in the evenings.
Make sure you book ahead as it gets busy!
Address: Homeboy, 6 New Union Square, Embassy Gardens, Nine Elms, London SW11 7DN
Written by: Eboni Addoh