The Folly, a refreshing find in the heart of the city

The Folly - with a Spring 2013 theme

The Folly – with a Spring 2013 theme

The Folly is part of a small chain of bars run by Drake and Morgan. I love their places as they are a far cry from other identikit chain bars, each one feels as though it has its own distinctive personality. And they also have innovative, frequently changing cocktail menus, great if you like to try something new every time you come in; not so great if you get attached to one that gets ditched, as I did with the Berry Espresso Martini. If anyone at The Folly is reading this please bring it back!

Love the vintage cereal boxes!

Love the vintage cereal boxes!

We started off with a couple of cocktails, the Marshmallow Colada (£9.95). An interesting mix of Hoxton gin, marshmallow syrup, coconut puree, plum bitters and pineapple juice. I loved the kitchsy presentation in a fake pineapple with a parasol sticking out of the straw. My only quibble with this drink was that there wasn’t enough of it, there was so much ice the cocktail got a bit lost.

Marshmallow Colada (on left) and Mardi Gras star (on right(

Marshmallow Colada (on left) and Mardi Gras star (on right(

And the Mardi Gras star (£9.95), their twist on the classic porn star. Again I loved the little touches, like the fact that they put a teaspoon in your drink so you can scoop out the passionfruit. We had a little wait for our drinks, but I’m always happy to wait for a well-made cocktail and, frankly, I was just grateful to be getting table service and not having to fight my way through the crush at the bar. Tip: even if you’re just going for drinks, book a table, this place gets packed.

The dining area is a calm oasis and has lovely comfy seats. Way too many places these days seem to have deliberately uncomfortable seating to encourage you not to stay too long (Jamie’s Italian, I’m looking at you!). The Folly feels like a place you could linger. There is music, but it’s not at a level where having a conversation feels like a strain. Yeah you can tell I’m getting old, comfy chairs, not too loud music, this is the stuff my dreams are made of these days!
We ordered 2 flatbreads. Mine was the Borough Market flatbread, Brindisa chorizo, piquillo peppers, rocket & sun-blushed tomatoes (£10.95). It was as good as it sounded, the fresh peppery rocket perfectly balanced out the richness of the chorizo and it had a nice bite from some wholegrain mustard. When it arrived, because it looked so much like a pizza I kept expecting a crispy base when I bit into it but after a while I started to enjoy the softness of the flatbread.

Borough Market flatbread

Borough Market flatbread

Peking Duck flatbread

Peking Duck flatbread

Unfortunately, the second flatbread we ordered, the Peking Duck (£9.95), was not as successful. From its billing of crispy duck, hoisin sauce, cucumber ribbons & spring onion, I was basically expecting what you get in Chinese restaurants but with a flatbread instead of pancakes. What arrived instead looked like a stir fry plonked on top of a flatbread. The traditional accompaniments to crispy duck are well chosen, you need the freshness of cucumber and the bite of spring onion to cut through the fatty richness of duck. This just didn’t have that balance. Everything was also too greasy and sickly sweet from the hoi sin sauce that had been poured all over it. This feels like it needs more work. I would suggest that they put the sauce on the side so that people can add it to taste and make the salad elements more prominent.

If you have room, check out the puddings and, aptly named, liquid desserts:


So the Folly, great for drinks, but a bit hit and miss for food. I would go back for the cocktails, maybe just steer clear of anything that sounds like confusion rather than fusion food.

The Folly
41 Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 0BT
T:  084 5468 0102

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About goantolondon

International food and travel blog by London based British Goan duo: Jason and Chiara Pinto. Twitter: @goantolondon @jasonpinto100 @chiarapinto About Goa: Goa is a small state on the western coast of India. Though the smallest Indian state, Goa has played an influential role in Indian history. Goa was one of the major trade centers in India, thus it had always been attracting the influential dynasties, seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and missionaries since its earliest known history. Throughout its history Goa has undergone continual transformation, leaving an indelible impression on various aspects of its cultural and socio-economic development. History of Goa: The East-West symbiosis of Goa makes it different from other parts of India, more than the historical and social niche. The history of Goa is a sweet and sour story of colonial heritage, oppressive rulers, a glorious culture, and uneventful immediate past. As a land with the identity of its own, Goa was brought into focus when it was liberated of Portugal from its oppressive rule of around 450 hundred years in 1961. Goa was captured and annexed to the Portuguese in 1510 following the urges of trade and demand of spices and also cottons and indigo. But, Goa has a history that starts much before Portugal even thought of Goa being where it is. Goa was coveted and ruled by a great number of Indian kingdoms and dynasties from the 4th century onwards. The first kingdom to rule Goa and Konkan were Bhojas, who were the feudatories of Ashoka in 4th and 5th centuries AD. The city of Chandrapur (present Chandor) was founded by Prince Chandraditya, son of Chalukya King Pulakesin from 566 to 597 A.D. after this, Goa was ruled consecutively by Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Danasty, and finally Hoysalas from 1022 to 1342 A.D. From the 14th century onwards, Goa became a great trading center on the west coast, especially in the vast trade of horses imported from the Middle East. This was the time for bigger empires to move in and Vijayanagar Empire conquered it in 1344. But there empire was not going to last too long and in 1347, Bahmani Sultans defeated Vijayanagara forces in 1347 and controlled Goa. Afterwards, it was a time of great prosperity and peace for Gpa, especially during the rules of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah. They created beautiful houses, fortified Goa, and encouraged local craftsmen. Their liberal and progressive rule was not going to last too long and situation changed in 1510 A.D. Goa for all purposes was not on the Portuguese Radar even after a long time of their presence in India. When the Portuguese nobleman Alfonso de Albuquerque and his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque were sent with a powerful fleet in 1503 on the orders of King Dom Manuel I, the purpose was to defend the cargoes of spices, mostly pepper, against Arab Muslim raiders. The center of spice trade was Calicut at that time and Portuguese had built forts in Cochin and Cannanore. It was in 1506-08 that an opportunistic pirate, Timoja, persuaded Albuquerque to attack Goa and acquire a better land base. This made Goa, Portugal's first real territorial acquisition in Asia. After a brief period of recapturing by the Muslims, Goa Albuquerque finally captured Goa in 1510. The inquisition of Goa in 1540 reversed the previous liberal policy of Albuquerque and imposed strict censorship of literature and new laws to forbade non-Christians from professions. Forced conversions took place continuously, censorship was established on literature, the temples were destroyed, and non-Christian priests, holy men, and teachers were evicted. This led to continuous fleeing of Hindus from Goa to other parts of India. It is not that the relationship with Portugal brought only destruction for the Goans. Portuguese also built great churches like the church of St. Cajetan and Bom Jesus basilica in Old Goa, which is a pilgrimage site for the Christians from around the world. But it is also true that pre-1961; Goa was a highly impoverished region very backward and primitive. It is after the liberation that Goa of today has emerged and it has surprised even the locals many of whom had left their homeland before its liberation. Portugal and India are today friends and Goa continues to be a fascinating blend of Latin and Oriental. Information sourced from:
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