Eating & Drinking: Whitechapel
CRAVE: ANY gin cocktail, sliders, and that cheese & naan
I was extremely excited to try the newest craft cocktail bar on the block, Whitechapel, — and apparently so was the rest of San Francisco.
Specializing in gin cocktails, Whitechapel is a project by the owners of Smuggler’s Cove, one of my other favorite bars in the city specializing in tiki drinks. These two concepts couldn’t be more different, but both deliver on atmosphere and quality, that make a trip worthwhile.
After entering through an inconspicuous doorway, you’ll find yourself in a large, long room cushioned between an impressive bar and a row of comfy circular booths. Take it all in: this is the largest gin collection in Northern America. With no reservations available at Whitechapel and offering a classy, yet fun atmosphere, be prepared to eagerly stake out the room to either work your way in to the bar for a drink or snag one of the cozy booths.
The aesthetic replicates the feel of an old underground London train station with riveted buttresses and a barrel-vaulted ceiling that literally transports you back in time. This room is called The Platform, and with specific replicates of the tube tile and materials used, you really feel like you are anywhere but a bar.
The Platform is crowded near the bar and against the opposite wall of tables, which leaves enough space to work your way through the main room to find yourself at a small offshoot room called the Gin Palace, which offers a more formal area for dining.
Pro-tip: even without food reservations, go here to order your cocktails from this bar for faster service.
Despite gin cocktails being the star of the bar, the food here definitely takes a stab at stealing the show. Influenced by British and Dutch cuisines, the menu is a mix of shareable snacks and entrees such as raw clams, quail, King’s porridge, steak & oyster pie, blood sausages, and smashed chips.
My personal favorite is their take on Indian naan bread. A hot cast-iron skillet of Farmer’s cheese topped with turmeric oil, roasted carrots and cilantro is paired with doughy, fried pieces of naan and is completely out of this world.
The sliders are another natural, shareable choice if you want a small bite with your gin. These morsels are simple with only a few ingredients: a small, tender patty, a spread of tomato marmalade, a smear of horseradish tartar, some Cotswold cheese, and the sweet roll it’s all sandwiched between. Five ingredients to make heaven.
The last item we tried was Whitechapel’s take on fish ‘n chips. An evenly breaded and fried piece of rock cod is placed atop a giant flat “chip” of fried potato, garnished with curry siracha and garlic aioli.
This one was our least favored morsel if you have to choose, but honestly is still a dish worth trying.
Come for the cocktails, stay for the food, and make this spot your next spot for a memorable rendezvous.
Learn more about Whitechapel on their website.