VOC bar

The scene: Inspired by the Dutch East India Company, VOC is a

modern twist on a 17th-century punch house. Candles and lanterns dimly

light the exposed brick walls that are punctuated with old maps and big

warehouse-style windows, while punters sit on deep sofas and bar stools

as modern folk and indie music plays (over a backing track of


The grub: Basic bar snacks like bruschetta, olives and anchovies on toast.

Behind the bar: You’ll find no Mojitos here – drinks are best

described as 21st-century molecular mixology meets ingredients traded

more than 300 years ago. Staring down at you from behind the wooden bar

are corked clear-glass bottles filled with spirits, and barrels of

ageing speciality punches. We start with a Dog’s Nose, made with

Tanqueray, fresh horseradish, apple porter, citrus, spices, vanilla

sugar and honey. Served warm, it’s like mulled wine with a bit more

venom. Next on to the more decadent Improved Admiral Flip – a wintery

mix of champagne, syrupy apricot brandy, cognac and flaky chocolate


Bill please: Cocktails and punch cost from £7.50.

Verdict: It’s worth it for the novelty value and brilliantly

composed cocktails, but the theme makes it an odd place for a regular



2 Varnishers Yard, Regents Quarter, N1 9AW
Tube: King’s Cross St Pancras

– Clare Vooght