It's confirmed, I have a new best friend. We have a lot in common: she loves good food, pretty interiors (we could def share a Pinterest board) and her cocktail knowledge is vast and endlessly impressive. Her name is Mabel and - if you're lucky - I'll share her.
I don't want to say my new fave Covent Garden bar is "just for girls" because it definitely isn't, but there's a nice feminine vibe to Mabel's which a lot of London bars seem to lack.
As soon as you walk inside there are features you want to steal to take home (sadly the neon sign didn't fit in my handbag) and you'll find groups of girls catching up with cocktails or having dinner after work. It's friendly, buzzy and has a menu that will keep you there for hours longer than you perhaps intended.
It was a Wednesday when I went so we got stuck straight in (natch) with a Rosemary Collins, Tarte Tatin and The Mabel.
The Tarte Tatin was probably the group fave - judging by the number of them we ordered throughout the eve! - but then you can't exactly go wrong when you mix Sipsmith's wonderful small batch vodka with Calvados from Normandy, pressed apple juice and caramel syrup.
That being said the Rosemary Collins was very special too, seeing rosemary sprigs combined with Gin Mare, then churned over crushed ice with fresh citrus, sugar and soda water.
I opted for The Mabel (well we were in her gaff, after all) and I have to say that it's a great drink to start your night with: St Germain elderflower liqueur shaken with mint and peach bitters, topped with Heidsieck Monopole Champagne. Mmmmmmmmm.
As the tables around us ordered food we realised we'd have to as well, every plate that came from the kitchen looked delectable so it was only right and proper that we did our food based 'research' too.
Again, it was a refreshing change to see a nice mix on the menu. Not everyone wants to snack on chicken wings and bowls of chips, so to be able to order crudités with homemade romesco and tzatziki, salt baked potatoes and a giant kale salad was a real treat. It almost felt detox-y, if we ignored the alcohol content of the evening!
The kale salad was particularly special actually. It was just a simple mix of kale, radish, mango, walnuts and ricotta but my goodness it was *delicious*. I'm not sure if the credit goes to the citrus vinaigrette, but I was enamoured.
We then moved on to 'pink drinks', all good meals deserve a course of pink drinks.
We had the Lavender Love (Absolut citron vodka with white peach purée, a touch of lavender syrup and pomegranate juice - elegance in a glass!) and Rhubarb and Raspberry Martinis. This fruity Martini was a fabulously summery concoction, combining Chase Rhubarb Vodka (a wonderful English vodka made using potatoes), Chambord, fresh raspberries, pressed English apple juice and a squeeze of lemon. Divine!
The next part of our evening was my favourite bit though...
The grilled cheese sandwich.
THE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH!
This was when I knew Mabel's was the place for me.
There are a whole host of sexy sounding sourdough sandwiches on the menu and all are finished with a banderita; a skewered Halkidiki olive and guindilla pepper. But there was only ever going to be one for me: the Ogleshield cheese and roasted mushroom sandwich.
The girls opted for slightly less carbs (ahem) and went for honey & soy marinated salmon salads. I was reliably informed that they were delightful!
More drinks were ordered...
...and I decided that the French 75 is the *perfect* way to end a meal.
Named after the French 75mm gun (because apparently this cocktail has the same kind of kick!) this lovely drink sees Beefeater Gin mixed with fresh lemon, sugar and Heidsieck Monopole Champagne. It's pretty damn great.
I wouldn't normally give the toilets of an establishment a shout-out but the Mabel's loos are rather lovely....with floor tiles worth Instagramming!
All in all, it was a *great* night out and I will definitely be back sooner rather than later.
I might go back for brunch next time, as I spied the brunch menu and that looked fabulous as well!
Three cheers to Mabel, the gorgeous new girl in town.