Ask For Janice

London-City and East London

4.4 / 5

May 11, 2018

This agreeable bar on the fringes of Smithfield Market does a number of things well. Ask for Janice have a specific Gin menu, cocktails and great food too!

This agreeable bar on the fringes of Smithfield Market does a number of things well.
A minimal but far from austere white brick and tile space, Ask for Janice serves quality coffee and breakfast dishes in the morning – we hear very good things about their avocado toast – and a more ambitious menu later in the day.
First things first though, we need to talk about their gin menu. They serve a DIY gin list featuring a big range of gins, featuring big names and smaller producers, alongside a choice of tonics and a huge selection of garnishes.
If you find it all a bit daunting, the staff know their gin and can recommend flavour pairings for you. We enjoy our Jensen Old Tom with grapefruit but also welcome their suggestions and try Chase gin with Fevertree Mediterrannean tonic and cucumber.
There are cocktails too. From a compact list of cocktails priced at £9 a pop, the Pink Lady is a delicate thing, a jewel of a drink, gin laced with rhubarb and lemon and frothed with egg white.
Classic cocktails are available too. The list of craft beers is well curated – Meantime Yakima Red, Hackney Hopster, Freedom Dark Lager on tap, and a good range of bottles – and there’s  a decent wine list too.
The food menu features a range of well-priced small (and not so small) plates and sides. There are some really creative dishes here and we were particularly impressed with the vegetarian selection.
A lot of thought had gone into these dishes and it was refreshing not to be fobbed off with the usual suspects. The fragrant black badger bean dahl was a favourite and we also liked the chicory, raspberry and feta salad (that combination sounds all wrong, but actually it really works). Fried marrow with mint also went down well and their garlic fries were incredibly moreish (not normally suitable for vegetarians, they made sure our version was).
Staff are really engaged and friendly and we’re bound to be back next time we’re heading to the Barbican for a night out and are in need of a gin.

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