In this month’s Called to the Bar series Julie Carolan catches up with Daniella Fiesco, assistant manager at Seven at Brixton in Market Row.
Tell us about Seven at Brixton:
Seven was started by Jonny and Liam in November 2011. They had been working in the drinks industry before deciding to open their own cocktail bar. Their idea was to create something that reflected Spain’s amazing tapas culture (not just because Johnny is a huge Barcelona FC fan) in Brixton as they felt it had a similar vibe to Barcelona – and Liam lives in Brixton.
Seven is all about unusual twists on classic cocktails so our menu is always a bit special. We change it seasonally, but keep the pricing the same (£5 per cocktail). We also have a brunch menu at the weekend and tapas available in the evening.
What was the site before it became Seven?
It was a suitcase shop! We’ve paid homage to this by using old suitcases to create shelves and tables in the bar. All of the interior decoration has been upcycled – Liam and Johnny spent ages scouring skips around south London before the bar opened.
What’s your signature cocktail?
Although we change the menu seasonally there is one cocktail that has been on the list since the beginning and that’s our Ginger Beer & Basil Mojito, simply because it has constantly been the favourite. We change our menu every three to four months to reflect the seasons and what’s around ingredients wise. Where possible we try to source fruit and veg from the market.
What are your favourite ingredients at the moment?
Oliver, our bar manager, is obsessed with vegetables and this is reflected in our cocktails. He loves to experiment with different vegetables – it adds an element of surprise and you can get some amazing flavor combinations. Our spring menu (launches February 24th) will include a Lavender Negroni, Cucumber Gimlet and Blood Orange & Jalapeno Margarita; our sister bar, Three Eight Four (on Coldharbour Lane), will be experimenting with watercress and sugarsnap peas as well…
How do you like a G&T?
I love a cucumber garnish – and adding dill, it’s a really refreshing combo. My favourite gin is Jensen’s gin – and I add lots of ice and serve it in a short glass.
Where do you stand on The Great Debate – gin or vodka martini?
Definitely a gin martini, not too dirty – nice and dry. I like Broker’s Gin in a martini, but I’m more of a negroni girl.
What’s the strangest thing a customer has ever ordered?
An almond croissant for their dog. The owner also ordered one – and you know the theory that dogs look like their owners? This was definitely the case.
Any tips on top trends for 2015?
We went on a work trip to Berlin to check out the cocktail scene. We were all inspired by the infusions we came across and how daring they are. They absolutely love the theatre of the bar experience out there. We were in this one bar that stored spirits on butchers’ hooks – and so spirits were served from the hooks. Amazing to watch. Not sure if we’d pass health and safety tests with that kind of set up…
What are your favourite local haunts?
I grew up in Oval and now live in Brixton so it has been a stomping ground of mine for a while (I briefly moved west but couldn’t hack it). I go to the Prince of Wales for a drink after work and I really like Sovereign Loss which has just opened up above it – has a nice fifties, swing feel.
Food wise, Negril is always great; Salon is excellent for something a bit more fancy; and I’m a fan of Yum-D – it’s like being in someone’s living room.
And finally, do you have a favourite cocktail our readers could try at home?
Absolutely. Our Blood Orange and Jalapeno Margarita is on the menu from today, here’s how you make it:
- 2 x slices of jalapeño pepper
- dash of sugar syrup (just sugar stirred into hot water)
- 25ml of blood orange juice
- ½ shot of Cointreau
- ½ shot of tequila (we use El Jimador)
- ½ squeeze of lime
Muddle the 2 x slices of jalapeño in a glass, add a dash of sugar syrup, the blood orange juice, Cointreau, tequila and squeeze of lime. Shake in a cocktail shaker with cubed ice and serve on the rocks in a shot glass. Sit back and sip.
Seven at Brixton, 7 Market Row, London SW9 8LB
Monday 9am-6pm, Tuesday-Saturday 9am-11.30pm, Sunday 10am-11.30pm
Julie tweets @juliecarolan