Date night in Tooting: Bayou Bar

When Tania and I were invited to review the cocktails at Bayou Bar, we didn’t expect that we’d be ending the night with a new date night favourite. 

We no longer do date nights at weekends. With two sets of family and household chores and creative projects to be crammed into weekends, weekdays have become the go-to time for date night. For example a Tuesday is perfect as the start of the week can be a bit miserable so a nice night out relieves the tedium. However, being close to home is a key requirement to mid-week date nights. 

We’re lucky enough to live within half an hour of Tooting Broadway, an absolute hub of delicious food and drink. Within the crown of Tooting food, Tooting Broadway market is the Koh-i-Noor. A funky, thriving, joyous place to experience the most crave-worthy dishes. We have eaten Malaysian nihari and American brunches here. Raclette and dim sum have sat side by side like a culinary love-in. 

The latest arrival is keeping to the ethos of this foodie mecca and offering authentic, dreamy dishes that keep you coming back for more. We actually went to review the signature cocktails, a strong yet balanced Hurricane and a wonderfully grown-up Sazerac (recipes below). They also offer frozen daiquiris from a slushy machine. We loved the cocktails – you really only need a couple as their measures are generous. However, the food just overshadowed everything. 

Po’Boys are a Louisiana sandwich particularly popular in New Orleans stuffed full of fillings such as brisket and shrimp. The origin of the term is up for debate but the humble nature of the food is thought to be a shortened version of ‘poor boy’ from the sandwich feeding the poor of the city during the depression. 

At the bottom of Bayou Bar’s short but perfectly formed menu is the phrase ‘If ya’ elbows ain’t drippin’, you ain’t had a po’boy’ and never a truer word was written. See evidence photo of me attempting to eat one. It may not be elegant but, boy, is it tasty! 

Tania said her large succulent shrimps were so abundant that half ended up on her tray and my brisket was just melt-in-the-mouth. This restaurant is sure to become our date night favourite. If you only have time to head to one Tooting restaurant on your visit, make it this one. 

Cocktail Recipes

The Hurricane

Ingredients:

1 x shot measure of dark rum

1 x shot measure of spiced rum

1 x shot measure of lemon juice

1 x shot of passionfruit syrup

Garnish:

1 x slice of orange

1 x cocktail umbrella

Method

In the tallest fanciest looking glass you can get your hands on, pour in the dark rum, the spiced rum the lemon juice and the passionfruit syrup.

  Fill to the top with crushed ice, and furiously muddle (covering the top of the glass using your hand and a napkin will aid in not making too much of a mess). (This must be done with the longest and most decorative family spoon you have.)

  Top up the glass with crushed ice, then garnish with the orange.

The final and most important step – take the umbrella and pull it through your hand to mimic a hurricane struck umbrella.

Sit back, relax, repeat.

The Sazerac

Ingredients: 

Half a tablespoon of sugar syrup

5 dashes of Peychauds bitters

1 dash of angostura bitters

60ml of Rye Whiskey

10ml Absinthe – to wash glass

Garnish: 

Orange peel

Ice Cubes

Method 

Grab yourself a fancy short class, with plenty of decoration and fill with ice cubes. Pour in the absinthe – this is just used to add fragrance to the drink

While the glass chills, add all the other ingredients into a cocktail shaker (or a tall pint glass you’re not feeling too fancy).

Top to the brim with ice cubes, and with the longest most decorative family spoon, stir 30 times. No more, no less. Doing this give you the best dilution of water from the melting ice.       

  Grab your chilled fancy glass, chuck the ice and absinthe away – have a sniff of the glass at this point, you’ll be able to smell the lingering absinthe.

  Strain the drink into the absinthe rinsed glass, and garnish with a twist of peel – to give that orange aroma

Note on freebies: We got two cocktails each and a po’boy each for free. We did not receive sponsorship money and this is not an advertorial. If we’d hated the experience, we simply wouldn’t have covered it. Go and judge for yourself how honest we’ve been.