A charming and cherished site in Maylands finds new life as an aperitivo bar with a refined modern edge.
Swallow Bar may be gone, but the pressed-metal bar, stained glass, pendant lights and hand-stitched vintage train seats remain. And rightfully so – these beautiful Art Deco-era details fit in at Volare, Swallow’s worthy successor, which honours Italy’s age-old drinking traditions with gusto.
It’s the technique-driven signature cocktails, though, that really stand out, twisting classic ideas in exceedingly clever ways.
As you might expect, the vermouth collection alone could easily keep you occupied well into the night – which is to say nothing of the staggering stockpile of amaro and obscure Old World liqueurs. It’s the technique-driven signature cocktails, though, that really stand out, twisting classic ideas in exceedingly clever ways. Frothy rockmelon juice takes the place of orange in a convincing riff on the Garibaldi, while a mascarpone distillate mixed with mandarin and jasmine served over shaved ice is grown-up granita done right.
There’s whimsy aplenty in the menu of small plates, too, which sees cacio e pepe
in the croquettes, chicken liver pâté piped into cannoli and octopus glazed in a Negroni marinade. It’s tricked up, but never too tricky for its own good, the sense of fun never obscuring the focus. Seldom do new openings arrive with such a level of confidence, polish and precision – but this one’s got all three in spades.