Where do I even start to share our Laki Kane experience? It is almost beyond words but I will try to do it justice…
I will be 100% honest that there was a split moment in time that we didn’t want to leave London City Center however, in hind site, the 20 minute tube ride and 8 minute walk was WELL WORTH the effort… even in the rain. We were greeted with an extremely warm welcome by Georgi Radev, Creative Director for Laki Kane and other amazing members of the team. (As a side note, I want to apologize to the Laki Kane team because I am horrible with names and wasn’t able to remember everyone… but know you all offered first class hospitality.)
The entrance, like many great tiki bars, is unassuming. It looks like a storefront, however, different than others, you can see inside… possibly a ploy to lure guests into the tropical paradise? Then, as you entered, there is a covering on the windows that almost mask the outside as a island/ocean view. As we walked to our seats at the bar, Georgi provided a tour of his escape. He spoke with such love and passion… much like I start to speak when talking about my small DIY Tiki Bar. The tables and decor aren’t just “there”, there is a purpose to them with each section of tables representing a different tropical escape (The Caribbean, Thailand, Polynesia and Indonesia).
As we sat were we welcoming (again) by the attentive bar team and offered a wonderful mint and lime welcome drink. It was light and aromatic and the perfect precursor as we indulged in our menus.
In true Trader Jay fashion, I have to start with the eponymous drink, so I asked for a Laki Kane (Lucky Sugarcane). Mrs. Trader started with a recommendation from Georgi, the Guinness Punch in Manhattan. The Laki Kane was very light, and fruity but not too sweet. It blended coconut water with passion fruit and rum. It was a great compliment to the Guinness Punch in Manhattan… this drink was deep, complex… a work of art. It took the classic Jamaican Guinness Punch and added the sophistication of a Manhattan for a regal drink.
With our first drinks in hand, Georgi whisked us upstairs to show us something new they were almost ready to roll out upstairs… the Spiced Dry Rum Club. It is truly an experience I’ve never seen and am a little sad that I wasn’t able to partake. During the 2 and a half hour experience you sit at your own pot still, learn all about the history of rum whilst distilling and creating your own a bottle of flavored rum to bring home! Then, your recipe is saved into their database so, at any point, you can re-order your rum. (Georgi, how do you feel about starting one of these in the U.S.?)
After our extended tour we returned to the bar and continued to explore and enjoy the menu. We had some food and it was all delicious, but we came for the drinks… Here are the others that we enjoyed:
- The Mahi Mahi (Trader Jay): The bar team seemed to agree that this was one of their favorite drinks. The layering and coloring was SPOT ON… just like a mahi mahi fish. The drink was good as well, a nice overproof rum with fresh fruits and even some tangerine sherbet shaken in.
- Southern Lights (Mrs. Trader): This drink featured one of Mrs. Trader’s Favorites… Bombay Gin. This fresh drink featured star fruit (carambola) juice… something that you rarely see. It was the right level of sweet and tart. The bonus was that it comes with a souvenir Laki Kane tiki necklace! SCORE!!!
- The Rita Hayworth (Mrs. Trader): This is Laki Kane’s take on a Margarita. It has the key flavors of a marg but with some additional feel. The pineapple is a nice touch as well as the Blood Orange (Solerno) liquor replacing triple sec. The Morano glass vessel is beautiful and the fired lemon on top gives it an aromatic edge.
- The Pin-Up Zombie (Trader Jay): This one was my favorite for Multiple Reasons…
- I love “Rum Forward” drinks where the rum is 100% the star
- Who doesn’t love a drink on FIRE?!
- I enjoy the fact that, as Georgi put it, that they like to take some of the classics and put their own spin on it. With the Pin-Up Zombie there is a hint of “pine”… yes, I said PINE. It is so subtle but gives it that different ending that makes you think “what was that? I liked it!”
- I am a sucker for an amazing Tiki Mug and this is one of my new favorites! There are plenty of Zombie mugs out in the world… I enjoy my Shrunken Head from Trader Sam’s… however I have yet to see a female zombie. The design is beautiful and unique and I’m thrilled that I was able to bring her home in 1 piece. (Georgi explained that they have a local artist design all their mugs and I thought that was remarkable… there were many great designs and I’m thrilled that I was able to bring home two!)
- Tropical Fever (Trader Jay): This is probably the most “out there” drink I have had in a long time and it, like the rest, was amazing and wonderful. It is a take on “High Tea” but mixed with the caramel tea is rum, maple syrup, grapefruit juice and… wait for it… peanut butter! Yes, PEANUT BUTTER! And, if you are a fan of it like myself then it is the tiki drink you have dreamt of. It even has a dry ice component so that “steam” is released from the teapot it is served in.
Before I wrap I want to point out some other things that took the Laki Kane experience to the next level…
They use either Bamboo or Pasta straws!!! While I don’t agree with the whole “if we stop using plastic straws then they world will be saved” movement, I can appreciate people trying to limit the waste. What I cannot appreciate is a paper straw! So hats off to Laki Kane using pasta! It is for sure more expensive but a much better alternative than paper.
The garnish game was top notch! They opt for all natural garnishes instead of plastic stirrers and toys… while I love me a good stirrer, these drink toppers kept with the fresh ingredient theme and were just as fun, beautiful and creative.
Finally, the table “doorbell”… this is not an original idea but I like the thought process. Each table has a device that both says who the table is reserved for as well as can be used to call your server when you need a new drink. This is especially helpful on a crowded Friday or Saturday evening. Since we sat at the bar we didn’t need one but nice to see that one was ready for us!
In parting can I just say that Laki Kane is a MUST visit! Everything about it is FIVE STARS, 10 out of 10, two CocoThumbsUp! The decor is wonderful and thoughtful, every drink we had was better than the last and, most important, the staff was amazingly hospitable and top of their class!!! Keep it up, Laki Kane Team, I cannot wait to find a reason to return!!!