• Roxii Hoare-Smith

Little Nan’s Rio Bar Review

Teapot cocktails, tasty treats and 90s glamour at Little Nan’s Rio Bar.

Sometimes being besties with an incredible fashion blogger, such as the berry haired beauty who runs Studded Kisses, has its perks and this was definitely one of those times. We were heading over to Little Nan’s Rio Bar, an amazing basement bar / tea shop / homage to all things 90s, in the super secret vaults of Dalston’s Rio Cinema to sample all the delights of the quintessentially British High Tea.

I don’t know if it was the twinkly green fairy lights, leafy decor, leopard print ceiling, movie posters, 90’s tunes or the great wall of teacups but I instantly fell in love with Little Nan’s and that was before we had even eaten anything! It could, of course, also have had something to do with the large floor fan that was blowing blessedly cool air around as we descended from the decidedly sunny London streets above. Having sunk gracefully onto the overstuffed velvet sofas after shrieking with joy over our mutual dining companion, a cute teddy bear, we were then handed large books that turned out to be stylised handwritten drinks menus bound inside actual books. As a proud book lover, I think that this is the best thing ever as once you’ve chosen your order you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy a good story.

Little Nan’s ultimate claim to fame has got to be the teapot cocktail, where colourful, alcoholic concoctions are lovingly mixed together and poured into beautiful teapots for you to sip at your leisure. I plumped for the deliciously decadent Lady Goody Two Shoes a lip smacking fusion of raspberry juice, mint and vodka that arrived in the cutest, and largest, lilac teapot I’ve ever seen. Roxii, somewhat appropriately, chose the pink hued Barbie Girl, a heavenly duo of sweet bubblegum and icy smooth vodka that seemed to be never ending.

Next up came the much anticipated High Tea itself, impeccably served on a stunning three tier vintage cake stand and jam-packed with tasty treats. We instantly fell on the twee finger sandwiches that contained a variety of sumptuous fillings including smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayo, cucumber, beetroot, jam and ham and mustard. The English classics just kept on coming, two home baked scones each served with fresh clotted cream and jam, Rocky Road and Tiffin squares plus thick slices of light, golden Victoria sponge coated with strawberry jam and wonderful vanilla buttercream.

As we savoured each mouthful we chatted, drank, gazed at the beautiful, strangely hypnotic surroundings and enjoyed the wonderfully offbeat atmosphere. The staff were attentive, yet not at all pushy and seemed to know just when you needed something be it a sandwich refill or another cheeky slice of cake. There’s a real air of acceptance, happiness and implied friendship here at Little Nan’s as you leave all your worries at the door, head down the rabbit hole and find yourself in this gorgeous 90s throwback wonderland where nothing bad could ever happen.

It was teapots and tiaras all the way as we joined a hen party’s impromptu conga, created hilarious GIF’S in the video room next door and tried on silly wigs, hats and cartoon heads as well as riding a giant rocking horse! Little Nan’s is for the dreamers, believers and the adventurers alongside everyone who loved the bright, beautiful and bum bag wearing era of the 90s. In short, the food is fantastic, the teapot cocktails are even better and the novelty value is simply perfect.

Little Nan’s Rio Bar

The Basement

The Rio Cinema

107 Kingsland High St



E8 2PB

Written by Kirsty Liddle.

Kirsty Liddle is a freelance journalist who has written for Bauer media and Vidados. Catch her tweeting @eclipse1473.

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