The Manhattan Project’s odd twist on retro cocktails – all consisting of four main ingredients focusing on the season – is the brain child of Felix Cohen, who thought up the project in the basement of Broadway Market’s Off Broadway. Whatever drink you pick, you know it’s going to be weird and delicious. I couldn’t resist the Orgasm #2 (£8), a blend of St George coffee liqueur and Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, topped with condensed milk foam: jumping on the return of the dessert cocktail trend, this drink will help you enjoy the taste of coffee without keeping you awake at night.
Born in a rainy summer launch night, the Boozy Hot Ribena (in the dark glass, £8) was my second choice and a stroke of genius. Hot ribena mixed with gin and St. Germain liqueur is just set to keep you warm with enough of a twist to get you going.
However, the best cocktails of the night were The Manhattan Project’s twist on the classic Negroni: the picky Italian in me was won over by The Flight, a selection of “boozy sliders”, cocktails in small servings.
I would have never made it home without having tried the special and tasty food by POND, the Hawaiian restaurant and bar where the event was held. Encompassing Asian cooking techniques taken from immigrants from the Pacific, the food at this fusion restaurant makes up for the confused service on a Thursday night.
At POND you can choose between full-on meals and tapas-like small plates. We went for a starter of Hurricane Popcorn (£1.50) – with spicy and salted Wasabi peas – and Spam Fries (£4.50), spam coated in dried shrimp served with yuzu mayo.
We moved on to a selection of small plates. The Beef Poke (£11, pronounced /poʊˈkeɪ/), a raw salad made with handcut beef tartare, shiitake mushrooms, egg, sesame and crisped rice paper, was the perfect level of spicy; the Poke Pines (£12.5), another raw salad of ahi’ tuna and salmon with mixed tobiko (fish roe for you and me), Thai basil oil and coconut lime was similar to a refreshing, satisfying ceviche; and last but not least, the spicy salmon maki roll (£3.5) was everything you expect from good sushi.
Nothing’s as heart-warming as this dream team: go try The Manhattan Project’s cocktails and match them with POND’s food. You might wait a while – but it’s worth the wait.
Pictures by: The Manhattan Project, Kapranos PR, POND Dalston, Carolina Are