As we all know black never goes out of fashion, hence it might come as no surprise when you walk into the Gallery to discover that it has been serving, feeding and entertaining Hampstead locals for more than 15 years. With black awnings, black walls, black shelves and black menu boards, you get the idea black might just be the owner’s favourite colour. It looks just as trendy and relevant as when it opened many years ago. Although on closer inspection, you do notice chips and cracks in some furniture and certain parts could do with a repaint.
The star attraction at the Gallery is undoubtedly whisky, whether it is the 101 options, whisky cocktails or even the use of the spirit in their food menu. The most enjoyable part is talking with their friendly bar staff and getting their recommendations. I tried one of the bar manager’s favourite whisky: Glenfarcas 15 yr aged single malt from Speyside. The aroma on the nose is honey, butterscotch and vanilla, but when you take a sip, it has a very dry taste, much like a sherry. For sheer quality and price, this is one of the best value single malt whiskies on the market.
The food menu is very much underrated and understated. It is mostly small plates with the odd larger portioned dish to share with your guests. Alcohol makes a ubiquitous appearance on the food menu, whether it is bourbon BBQ squid or cider fried onions. The lamb latkes with caper mayonnaise was finely minced and surprisingly delicate, whilst the cod cheeks and fennel was also richly flavoured with the addition of white wine with the cod meat smooth and fresh. I wouldn’t normally order fried chicken, but their version is with a Japanese-styled batter which is far less greasy than standard batter and also contains white wine.
Their apple pie might look very traditional but it is accompanied with whiskey custard using their house whisky, Monkey Shoulder to give the dish an added kick. The homemade crust tastes suitably flaky rather than soggy with the apple inside of a premium quality.
Apart from great whiskies and alcohol-fuelled food, they also have fantastic jazz and blues night, so do check out their website on a regular basis and plan your next outing with your friends at the wonderful the Gallery.