Zero waste is a hot topic right now (as it should be) and cocktail master Matt Whiley is playing his part with new bar Scout. It’s all about seasonal foraged ingredients, sustainability and keeping those rubbish bins empty (and we’re not talking of the bins he previously filled with cocktails!). The space is simple – plain grey walls and wooden tables with just a coupe of terrariums for decoration – putting all the attention on the drinks.
But don’t go expecting any wild and wacky props here, these are quality drinks served in proper glasses, and Scout is bar for people who take their cocktails seriously. The names don’t give too much away (some of them don’t even list what type of alcohol is in there) so it’s worth asking for recommendations, plus the barmen really do know their stuff. The Apple made with apple marigold vodka, lemon balm and verjus was our highlight, sweet from the fruit but with a light peppery taste from the sprig of sea rosemary on the side of the glass. The Asparagus was unusual (in a good way) and surprisingly moreish, and the Hay, with whisky and meadowsweet, was light and refreshing going down a treat even for a non-whisky drinker. And if you fancy yourself as a scientist – more Walter White than Stephen Hawking – you can book spots at the downstairs Lab where you can see just how much work goes into these drinks.
Scout also serves up small plates, using leftover ingredients that don’t make it into the drinks and vice versa. The results are dishes that are way more interesting than your traditional bar snacks, like lamb carpaccio with pickled celeriac and house mayo, and sobrasada and cured egg yolk on sourdough.
Shoreditch definitely doesn’t suffer from a lack of cocktail bars but Scout is out there doing things differently, and it’s a strong addition to the ‘hood.
93 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3HZ