Hello to everyone who has been following this blog for many years - I'm still blogging, I'm just moving over to https://www.claireheffer.com/blog - please continue to follow and let me take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been kind enough to visit over the years. May the lists continue...

Friday 16 October 2015

Review: Cocktails


This was regrettably a fleeting visit for our first time at Pizza Pilgrims as we had to be back in London Bridge with little time to spare.  Luckily, we were seated immediately downstairs by lovely friendly staff. We decided to share a salami pizza, which was demolished in record time. The pizza was thin and juicy.  Unfortunately when we cut the pizza in half and transferred plates I lost half the toppings and they were not generous or evenly distributed enough for my taste. I think this is where this pizzeria falls behind some of my other favourites in London, they are a little sparing with the toppings. 

It was an interesting day as we were seated next t a table of zombies who were celebrating world zombie day with a zombie walk for charity. We saw many people dressed up on the streets around Soho and on the tube in the surrounding areas.  Their sometimes very realistic flesh wounds and decaying flesh would stop mothers with pushchairs in their tracks and terrify small children in the carriages of the trains.


Standing in the queue for this experience you are very aware of your proximity to the beautiful church, which was part of the inspiration for this experimental cocktail bar.  The heart of the installation is on the sight of an ancient monk monastery and serves as the overall theme of the event.

While you wait for the allotted hour to arrive the monastic lady on the door explains the history of the area as well as the link between the ingredients in the cocktails and the monks who used to live here.  Precisely on the hour you are pointed towards a door and you descend down an ever darkening staircase to a wooden locker room.  You have a cubbyhole to leave your coat and bags and are given a plastic rain mac with a hood. 

You then walk through the heavy plastic curtains into the main room.  It’s quite disorientating at first, the vapour is white and thick and it is hard to see very far in front of you. You breathe in a cloud of gin and tonic flavoured vapour mist while wearing rain macs with hoods surrounded by others in the same while the coloured lights change hue and funky music plays and thunder storms are simulated. The mist starts as a peasant taste and the weirdest thing at first is getting used to the sensation of breathing in something other than air, but gradually the taste changes and it starts to taste more artificial.
While in there you can gradually feel the moisture in the air settling on your plastic disposable Mac and your arms and hands. Some hairstyles were also ruined in the process. But once you came out you didn't feel as sticky as you thought you would. You also didn't feel drunk. Despite inhaling a hefty amount you felt like maybe you'd had one drink and not really effected.

It is a novelty and an experience to try but it’s not an experiment of how it feels to get drunk through your skin as I thought it might be.  I’d say try it once to say you’ve done it and try to wear your hair in a way which would not be effected by moisture.  Those are my tips. Plus the toilets are nasty, there are flies everywhere, someone said there was supposed to be a snake in there and it certainly is snake themed with pictures on the wall and snaky sound effects.  There is a tank high in one of the cubicles but I couldn’t see anything inside it. Strange.

After the experience I read this article:

Which claims that in breathing alcohol it avoids the liver and goes directly to the brain, which makes for more rapid intoxication but I didn’t feel any obvious effect and I am not a heavy drinker. I think yet again people are jumping on the negative bandwagon.  As for the statement: "The last thing this country needs is another way of ingesting alcohol," from Dr. Niall Campbell, I don’t think that we have any worry of this becoming a mainstream alternative to drinking, it’s far too uncomfortable and would be too much hard work.


The atmosphere is the first thing that hits you about this place.  It is warm and friendly and lively.  There is so much to do, including table football, Mario Kart on the N64 and arcade games.  Luckily we managed to perch ourselves on a stool as it seems like it’s always busy and especially on a Saturday night.

Their cocktail list was an old school booklet with cartoon drawings and the cocktails were divided into school subjects. Unfortunately the cocktails were not very original. They mstly served classics and their own designs were not very imaginative. In the history section of the booklet they divided the cocktails by decade with things like a Mai Tai from the 1940s and a Cosmopolitan from the 1990s. I had a Caipirinha as I'd never had one before. I was shocked with how strong it was at first but the sugar and lime combination was perfect. Rebecca had a Singapore Sling (something she'd never had before.) 

The pizzas are named after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and they have Italian food that looked delicious. We had chips and garlic bread. The garlic bread was the most garlicky thing I've ever eaten in my life. It was so strong it burnt your tongue. The chips were faultless, skinny, salty and delicious. With a mouth full of garlic we left happy.

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