Heading out into the Northern Quarter straight after work you're not exactly stuck for somewhere to grab a bit of food and a cocktail, but what if you don't want to hit the bars at 5pm?
Federal Cafe, long standing brunch favourites of ours and undoubtedly one of the Finest set of coffee aficionados around, have introduced Federal After Hours. Mon-Sat 5pm-8pm you head in, casual atmosphere, pull up a chair and get straight into that coffee with a fantastic Espresso Martini (vanilla infused vodka fyi). Federal have kept it simple, 2 sharing board options, meat or vegetarian, and a short drinks list.
We ordered the Meat board which comprised of Grilled Chorizo, Beef Brisket, Smoked Salmon, Maple Crispy Bacon all seven with toasted sourdough. Plenty of food for 2 chaps having a catch up, the brisket flavouring was excellent and we really enjoyed the lot. Salmon was kind of an odd pairing, but the freshness did balance out all that meet.
Cocktails you've got the afore mentioned Espresso Martini, a Paloma: Tequila & Grapefruit Soda, Dark & Stormy: dark rum, lime & ginger beer or the Negroni Sbagliato: campari, sweet vermouth & prosecco. In the interest of being thorough we of course tried them all. Stand out was the Martini with Dark & Stormy coming in a close second. My advice, order both and share.
Gin & Tonic is the second half of the drinks offering, a simple and distinct selection comprising of Opihir: oriental spiced, Gin Mare: a savoury gin distilled with rosemary, thyme, olive and basil, my new favourite Gin or a quality classic Bloom Gin.
Overall we really enjoyed Federal After Hours, the selfish part of me hopes it will remain a hidden gem reserved only for those in the know, but realistically I think 5pm-8pm is going to be the new black.