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Saturday, 16 February 2013

New Bar Alert. Mizuwari: The City Finally Embraces Japanese Whisky

As modest type chaps, we seldom get any pleasure from the phrase 'we told you so'. But this time, we're going to bask in its relative glow... sort of...

FINALLY. Someone has decided to open a Tokyo-inspired micro bar in the centre of London, serving possibly our favourite drink in the last several years, the Mizuwari.  After visiting a handful of these little gems in the Ginza district of Tokyo three years ago, we came back glowing, insistent that someone should replicate the idea in the capital.  Three years went by and nothing.  'Come on!' we cried -  'Japanese whisky...Great ice...a packed vibe'y basement environment... excellent food next door and a bottle store for the keenest of customers...Someone please make this happen.'

Still nothing.

Then an email arrived.  Suntory, purveyors of some of the most enlightening Japanese whiskies (and the clear market leader in the UK) had partnered up with a Japanese restaurant, taken over the downstairs bar and bought Ginza to Soho.  Kampai!

So here it is, the opening week of Mizuwari, London's hottest bar, housed in the basement of Bincho, a rather swish Japanese restaurant on Old Compton Street.  As you can imagine, first week open - and the place is packed to the rafters with the usual curious barflies, Japanese whisky connoisseurs and a few genuinely confused Japanese tourists, who happen to have inadvertently stumbled on this heaving joint and who probably feel they've stepped through a portal of some kind, back to Tokyo.

In every respects, Mizuwari is the real deal. Right down to the back bar, which surprisingly doesn't just feature Suntory whiskies (although Hibiki, Hakushu and Yamazaki are the predominant serves here), the glacial quality of the ice, the hand carved ice balls and the locked cabinet, with some choice bottlings reserved for those truly in the know (and with a few more ££s to spend.)

Resident bartender Zoran Peric is well known in London's Japanese whisky circles -  a true gent and undoubted pioneer in helping to bring the spirit to the city's more discerning drinkers.  His range of drinks feel authentic, but have a broader feel to them, especially the elderflower-influenced Mizuwari made using the lightly peated Hakushu 12yo  and the fantastically simple Hibiki 12yo, served over an ice ball.

 Folks. Your Mizuwari prayers have been answered.

Visit Mizuwari (in the basement of Bincho) 16 Old Compton St  London, Greater London W1D 4TL 020 7287 9111