FOOD&DRINK London Lite Wednesday, 11 November 2009 31 anOldFashioned! speakeasy, London-style: unmarked entrance, dark corner booths, teapots concealing wicked cocktails and trendy crowds dressed to the nines in vintage frocks, stoles and lashings of eyeliner. You dont have to dress the part, but it helps. All the cocktails listed come with a bit of back-story so you can gen up on your booze history while you sip. Classics include the Old Fashioned (bourbon, bitters and soda), the Sidecar (from Harrys New York Bar in the Twenties) and the Sazerac from way back in 1858. If we had to pick a favourite, it would be the Cockteas (boozy teas served in pots, 11). You look ladylike while you drink them -- and feel anything but later. 145 Shoreditch High Street, E1 (020 7033 0085) 23RomillyStreet IF BOHemIAN Soho is alive and well, then cocktail supremo Dick Bradsells basement bar at 23 Romilly Street is where youll find it. Tucked beneath the members bar above, the new drinking den plays host to a whos who of Sohos A-list. Its the venue for such weekly nights as mondays Book Club Boutique and Wednesdays Club Lola (cross-dressing optional), a fantastic collision of Prohibition, Weimar Berlin, Fifties Soho and Sixties Greenwich Village influences. But if neither night grabs you, the cocktails crafted by Bradsell -- the godfather of London mixology -- will. The list runs from classic negronis and martinis to his own Russian Spring Punch (vodka, cassis and champagne) and 1984 raspberry and champagne creation, the Carol Channing (named after the film and Broadway star). Cocktails from 6. 23 Romilly Street, W1 (020 7734 9050) LoungeBohemia ANOTHeR basement hideout with nothing by way of signage, this Czech-themed lounge remains one of Shoreditchs best-kept secrets, two years after it opened. Style-wise, Lounge Bohemia harks back to communist-era eastern europe, decorated with Sixties furniture and Czech newspapers on the walls. The cocktails span the generations, however, with Bohemian Iced Tea (11) poured from an old tea set, to the Lab Test or Stoly Trolley (both 11) served in racks of six test-tubes. We love its strict no standing, no suits rule to keep out boozy office parties, while the rest of us lounge back in style. Reservations are essential. maximum group size is 10. 1E Great Eastern Street, EC2, (07720 707000) China girls: at Bourne And Hollingsworths over-subscribed Prohibition night drinkers enjoy cocktails served in clandestine Jazz Age style -- poured into fine china cups Litebites Foodanddrinknews AtastybiteofMexicohitsShoreditch DONT be tardy at this buzzing little mexican joint -- the attitude is any- thing but maana. You didnt call so we gave away your table, shrugged the manager when we turned up at 8.15pm for our 8pm reservation. But we were happy for the excuse to knock back margaritas at the bar, the heart of this cosy venture, while we waited for another table. Cocktails are of the cheery, bash- em-out variety. We loved the Boho margarita (6), a mojito-meets-mar- garita mix of tequila, Triple Sec and fresh lime, but were less keen on a 6 pomegranate margarita. It looks like a date spot, but is better Inexpensive: Boho Mexica serves up traditional Mexican food as a post-work, pre-night out venue. Geared around small, inexpensive, sharing plates, the menu suits that vibe, too. The cuisines proper mexican, so dont expect sizzling faji- tas. Nachos are, obviously, a must and these were top: thick-fried heartily home-made specimens served with chef Tia Pattys guacamole (3.45). The rest of the food is heavy on the corn tortillas that came with various forgettable fillings. Still, we happily hoovered up the carnitas tacos (3.50), along with the bistec la mexicana (6.95), a rump steak with chewy plantain and black beans. The attractive dcor is stylishly Shoreditch, yet when it comes to food, presentation is remarkably unpretentious -- bordering on unappealing. Still, what we liked best were the authentic touches that transported you to the mexican sunshine -- like one of the puds, the elote de domingo (3.50) described as tradi- tional corn on the cob, the way we eat them on Sundays. eat with a bit of chilli, mayonnaise and sprinkled with cheese or, as we had them, simply with lime and chilli. Ive finally found the ultimate no-guilt dessert. LaRUsHKa IvaN-ZaDeH BoHo MexICA 151-153 Commercial Street, e1, 020 7377 8418 Dinner for two with drinks, 65 A sheesh kebab... Gluttonous City boys, get ready: the metre-long kebab is here. this marvellous creation, designed for sharing, apparently, is on the menu at tike Istanbul Bar and Grill. tike is now open by the lloyds Building, serving signature adana kofte alongside fresh mezze (from 3.75) and tasty meats cooked over coals (from 7.25). Tike, 5 Fenchurch Place, EC3 (020 7702 9965) Xmas? Aycaramba IBerICa london, the shop and restaurant dedicated to all things spanish, has some of the finest Christmas hampers weve seen, from just 30 and custom-chosen from a selection including cured meats, aged spanish cheeses, vintage wines or quality olive oils. Be sure to include a bar of lhardy turrn nougat. delicious. HeadingforChopd london is awash with trendy salad bars. only problem is, its november and we need real fuel. luckily, salad bar group Chopd has hot winter alternatives like warm sicilian meatball pasta, Chilean bean stew or teriyaki chicken salad (from 3.50). larger orders for delivery can now be placed online, with 25 per cent off your first online order. TasteofExCellence the celeb chefs are taking a break from the Christmas rush to attend taste of Christmas at exCel, 4-6 december. three days of eating, drinking and shopping, it offers all the fun of summers taste of london, only indoors and festive. heston Blumenthal and Jean-Christophe novelli are lined up to attend. tickets from 19. HILaRy aRmsTRONG Wellequipped Cute cake stands BakInG is back. Were all at it, now were too poor (and cold) to leave the house. so why not show off your culinary creations on one of let them eat Cakes adorable cake stands? Fashioned from vintage china, they are all one-offs. Three-tier cake stands from 60, letthem index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html48.html49.html50.html51.html52.html53.html54.html55.html