Words by Simon Difford on 04-Nov-2017
93 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3JD, United Kingdom
Tel: +44(0)207 686 8225
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Sat 17:00-00:00, Sun Closed
Style: Cocktail bar
Price guide: High-end
The wartime slogan “make do and mend” and a ration-book lack of imported ingredients (vermouths, rums and other bottled deliciousness excepted) sums up the ethos that underpins the menu at Scout - produce sourced from the British Isles (often foraged) and minimal waste.
Daiquiri and sour lovers beware! Scout’s green credentials prevent the use of imported and so planet threatening substances such as lemons, limes and oranges . So, while Daiquiris and other citrusy cocktails are off limits, Matt Whiley and his very creative team produce a daily changing menu of ten tasty cocktails made with stuff gathered from our shores – much of it unwanted by others and adapted according to what foragers, farmers and growers have on offer.
Cocktails are presented on the menu under names reflecting the main ingredient/flavour but without any reference to base spirit or other alcoholic ingredients. However, ask one of the friendly knowledgeable bartenders/servers and they will be only too happy to tell you. The spirit brands used are all premium so t seems a shame to hide them. Does the fact many of them are imported challenge the bar’s core ethos.?
There's something oriental meets Ikea about the small shoe-box shaped room with its minimal but very precise detailing. Concrete grey walls and low expensive looking oak booth seating surround tiny squat square tables. This is not a bar for lard-arses. Scout is also a bar without a bar counter. Interaction with the bartenders is at your table rather than across the stick.
To really interact with the bartenders at Scout you’ll need to book your seat (there are only ten) in the basement laboratory – see the bar’s website for availability at collaboration sessions. They welcome walk-ins to the bar but you may want to booking a table for a two hour slot.
Will Scout prove to be sustainable? Done this well and in Shoreditch, perhaps. This is not the kind of bar I’d want to visit often, but it is a bar to experience.