Sunday, 7 August 2011

Out and about: Bombay Sapphire Book Slam @ Village Underground

When I was little I wanted to grow up to be a combination of Miss Haversham and Miss Hannigan. Two very different ladies, but with one thing in common. Both had gone to ruin thanks to their love of, well, mother's ruin. While I can't claim to lead such a romantic existence, one thing we do all have in common is an appreciation for gin.

So when I was asked if I would like to attend Book Slam at Village Underground, I could hardly say no. After all, the evening was sponsored by Bombay Sapphire and it would have been churlish to turn down an opportunity to drink lots of delicious gin cocktails while listening to readings from the literati.

We were greeted warmly and presented with a beautiful bookmark and some jewels, which entitled us to cocktails from the bar. But before we even made it that far we were greeted by some very glamourous ladies bearing trays of cocktails. I sampled a French Martini with "imagine" dusted on the surface in blue sugar, while my friend sipped on a Bramble, which was a lovely berry cocktail.

(Photo from Bombay Sapphire Facebook)

The venue itself was gorgeous. Sumptiously decked out in Bombay Sapphire colours with a wonderful jewelled theme running throughout. Village Underground, is a lovely 1900's warehouse near Shoreditch High Street which has been converted into an entertainment space.

We wandered around, soaking up the atmosphere and nibbling on the delicious little plates of food that were offered to us - the parma ham wrapped chicken with green beans and a potato croquette was delicious, though sadly I didn't get to try any of the other treats on offer. Initial cocktail consumed, we set about spending our jewels and we both tried the Twisted Gin & Juice (a sublime elderflower, apple and mint cocktail) before settling down into our seats for the book slam to begin.

(apologies, I look rather worse for wear here! The perils of going out after work)

I've never been to a bookslam before, but it's a fantastic concept - and in this case an excellent fusion of gin and literature. There were readings from Joe Dunthorne,  Ross Sutherland and  Jeremy Dyson, alongside of music and poetry (Keats' "Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art" was projected onto the screen) which made for a fantastic evening. 

(Photo from Bombay Sapphire Facebook)

My only gripe was that the venue, being a former warehouse, was probably better equipped for art exhibitions and club nights than an event where you wanted to hang on to every word spoken by those on the stage. This was unfortunately made rather hard due to the terrible acoustics and bar noise drowning out much of the readings.

Would I go again? Definitely, though I'd be more inclined to go to its "proper" home at the Clapham Grand. However, the cocktails served were absolutely delicious and the location it was held in was stunning which made for a fantastic night out. I'm going to leave you with the recipe for my favourite cocktail of the evening, the French Martini.

 (Photo from Bombay Sapphire Facebook)

French Martini
Ingredients (makes 2 martinis):
100ml Bombay Sapphire gin
30ml Chambord or raspberry liquor
200ml pineapple juice
4 ice cubes

Measure out all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add the ice and and shake well for 10 seconds. Strain into martini glass. Wear your most glamourous dress and keep good company. Sip elegantly and engage in artful conversation.


  1. Sounds like a good time! Thanks for sharing the martini recipe.

  2. Gin + books = PERFECTION. I agree the venue was a bit lacking, but I'm loving the French Martini recipe! I'm becoming a bit of a Gin & It girl myself. I'm not even sure I'm that keen on it, I just like drinking stuff that glamourous ladies use to drink in the movies...

  3. crumbsfordinner8 August 2011 at 18:43

    I didn't realise you were there too! I would've looked out for you if I'd known. Agree that gin & books is a super combination. I'm a big fan of gin cocktails. Not sure about it on its own, but I think my delinquent teenage years put paid to me being able to stomach any spirits neat, but a gin cocktail goes down a treat! Not sure I go down the "glamourous ladies" route though. More "sozzled old bat".

  4. crumbsfordinner8 August 2011 at 18:51

    thanks! it was an excellent evening. enjoy the cocktail - it's one of my favourites.

  5. wow she is very beautiful and yummy food. that's good look and aweswome posting
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