You’re best off arriving early should you expect to get a table at Nottingham Forest. Now enjoying its eighth consecutive year of being listed in the World’s Top 50 Bars, this mainstay of Milan shows no signs of quietening down anytime soon.
Like the bar’s décor (think: interior decoration by Indiana Jones), the crowd here is diverse, yet somehow not discordant. Among the tiki statues, African masks and stone buddhas that festoon the bar, you will still find men in suits sipping Manhattans. But you’re just as likely to find, within elbow-bumping distance, girls in biker jackets drinking cocktails out of Converse trainers. This mecca to mixology welcomes all.
Over two-thousand bottles of spirits line Nottingham Forest’s shelves. Mad genius, Dario Comini, ensures that this incredible curation is exploited to its full potential. A quick glance at the menu reveals ingredients and techniques you’d expect only to find in the most avantgarde Michelin-starred restaurants. Not in a cocktail bar. It’s molecular gastronomy meets mixology. Such an extensive menu is likely to leave many overwhelmed and confused. Enter the friendly bar staff who will ask a handful of questions before quietly slink away to mix up what will likely become your new favorite drink.
This time we are served a riff on an old fashioned. Peated whiskey is married with honey and pink Szechuan peppercorn. It arrives at our table served in a box that is illuminated from within, reminding us instantly of Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase in “Pulp Fiction”.
The theatrics are clearly done tongue-in-cheek. In the wrong hands, however, it all might have come off as gimmicky, or worse, self-aggrandizing. But it is worth emphasizing that the drinks still speak for themselves – and they speak louder than whatever glass they’ve been served in. The ingredients are deftly balanced. With every sip, the flavors become more intriguing. The peated whiskey fills your nostrils with smoke and spice, the honey rounds off the burn, and the Szechuan pepper leaves a tingle on the tongue.This concoction proves to be just as elusive and mystifying as the contents of Marcellus Wallace’s suitcase.
Treat the wayfaring adventurer in you to something special.