Two first-time landlords and Yorkshiremen Marc Dalla Riva and Matt Rix are to launch a new pub, The Blacksmith and The Toffeemaker in Clerkenwell, in the style of an old London drinking den next month.
Housed on the former site of the old Queen Boadicea on St John Street, and named after a song by singer-songwriter Jake Thackray, it will offer an extensive selection of ale, gin and whisky.
The pair own the lease on the pub from Scottish and Newcastle and are tied on all barrel and packaged beer but have a free reign on spirits and wine.
Rix is a former live music and club night promoter while Dalla Riva studied at Leiths Cooking School before landing a place on a Gary Rhodes' television series which took him on a cross country culinary tour of Italy. On Dalla Riva's return, the pair went on a tour of their own coast-to-coast across America where the idea of a business venture took shape.
Dalla Riva subsequently took a job in the on-license trade and Rix started working bar while they put plans in place for The Blacksmith and the Toffeemaker.
Gin will be well-represented on the drinks list at the new pub, especially London and unusual gins such as Sipsmith, Berkeley Square and Hayman's Old Tom. Whiskies on the list, meanwhile, include Dalmore 18 year old, Auchentoshan Three Wood (£5) and Lagavulin (£6.50).
The pub will also offer a pared-down selection of bar snacks and daily changing roasts and hotpots. Black pudding scotch eggs, artisan cheese and British cured meats can be ordered and served from a deli at one end of the bar. Other dishes include roasted tomato soup (£4), potted duck and pickles (£6), fresh crab salad (£6), roast pork belly with sage and onion stuffing, sprout tops and roasties (£10), salmon fishcakes with spinach and chive butter (£9) and calf's liver, bacon and bubble and squeak (£10).
By Neil Gerrard
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