On Earl’s Court Square, off Earl’s Court Road, third door down past the launderette, there’s a discreet sign – “Evans and Peel Detective Agency”. The door is locked, so I start ringing the bell…
“Hello! I have an appointment at 9:30!” I shout when I hear a woman’s distant voice.
“There is an investigation going on at the moment, please wait on the stairs,” she tells me.
Five or ten minutes go by and finally I’m inside a 1920s detectives’ office (including ancient typewriter, phone and other gadgets). A beautiful lady dressed in a white fur coat sits behind her desk and asks about my case. I mumble something incomprehensible and tell her that a friend of mine will join me shortly.
The lady detective says my guest will have to discuss the case with her, then pushes a bookcase forward and a secret doors opens into a beautifully designed Prohibition-style bar. It’s low-lit, mysterious, warm and filled with delicious smells of smoked fish and meats.
The detective informs me that the tile and brick feature wall behind the bar at Evans and Peel Detective Agency was uncovered in the initial stages of renovation, its entire bar has been crafted from the 250 year old oak of claimed church pews, and theatre seats from the 1930s were shipped over from France.
Tables were made from scaffolding boards, placed on top of antique Singer sewing machine bases, and vintage glass cabinets had their legs removed and were mounted on the walls so that each spirit has its own dedicated cabinet.
All tables, chairs, radiators, light fixtures and the eclectic crockery were sourced from flea markets and antique shops, along with the vintage fire extinguishers and taxidermy.
When my friend Konrad finally shows up at Evans and Peel Detective Agency, he tells me that the lady detective with the white fur coat asked him if he had known that I skinned cats. Only when he assured her it did not bother him, she let him inside. Konrad was very impressed with the secret door.
Evans and Peel serves ‘American tapas’ – small plates of rich things such as wedges (£4), mac & cheese (£5) and smoked goats’ cheese fritter with maple syrup (£4). We sampled “The Whole Caboodle” dish – a selection of treats that came on a three tier cake stand (£32). The detectives said that all food is locally sourced and smoking is done in-house using a custom built smoker called ‘The Flapper’.
A prohibition-style bar would never be successful without some fabulous cocktails (all Evans & Peel developed cocktails are priced at £9.50). Auntie May’s Pisco Flip (A Pisco Sour with apple and lemon curd) came in a tea cup and was dangerously delicious.
According to the menu, amateurs should beware of Only the Daring (Whiskey, Campari & bitters) that is for heroes only. G – Minus (Gin, lavender and Earl Grey with orange bitters) is a re-mastered G&T, that combines all English flavours.
There’s a no standing policy at Evans and Peel and they say all clients must be seated for their consultation. But the bar is not a members’ venue and a few tables are left every night for that urgent case solving.
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