Interview with the general manager and partner at Iron Bloom Marco Zanotto
What is your background?
I have worked in hospitality since I was 14-year-old. My uncle had a restaurant back in Italy, and I loved to go there to help out during weekends. Then I moved to London and I wanted to learn everything about this job, so I started as a waiter about 7 years ago. During those years I worked in every area of the business. I always wanted to open my own place, therefore I figured that I needed to know each and every aspect of the industry and how to execute it
What inspired you to work in hospitality?
I still remember my first customer, I remember the joy that I felt when he walked up to me and thanked me for the wonderful service I gave them, it wasn’t just a formal thank you, it was gratitude for taking care of them. I realised in that moment that I knew what I was going to do for the rest of my life.
Tell us about cocktails and drinks at Iron Bloom?
Iron bloom is different from your regular dining den with tables and lounge music, you come in and don’t know whether you are in cocktail bar, a restaurant or a rave party!
What we do here is something that we like to think is revolutionary for the area of Shoreditch, we serve small plates of English food with a contemporary twist to make it fun and interesting, like the lobster doughnut, the charcoal bun, wagyu beef burgers, crispy pickle and so on.
What makes a dining and drinking experience special?
Our bespoke wine and dine concept is to pair every dish with a cocktail that is appropriate for the kind of experience that we want to offer. Most of our products are homemade, from liquors to bitters to butter-wash, and aging into barrels. All we care about is to make sure that every single thing we serve it’s a remarkable experience for our guest.
How do you pair cocktails and food, what is the thought behind it?
Our concept behind cocktail/food pairing is a bit different from what people would imagine, for instance, if we serve a sweet dish then the cocktail will be sour. The reason behind it is because we aim to give an endless experience, for every bite you take we recommend to have a sip of the cocktail, not only because the drink will complete the flavour of the dish, but also because it will gently clean your palate in a way that each following morsel or gulp it’s just like the first one.
What is your favourite cocktail, and why?
My favorite cocktail of all time is called Bijou. It was invented by the first woman Bar Manager, Ada Coleman, at Savoy American Bar.
The drink represents three of the most expensive stones & metals in the world:
Diamond = Gin
Ruby = Sweet Vermouth
Emerald = Green Chartreuse
Gold = Orange Bitter
It’s a straight up cocktail. I love the balance between the fruitiness of the sweet Vermouth and the herby part from the French liqueur; the Gin brings everything together with the botanicals, I could have a thousand of them.
And finally, what is the best hangover cure?
I’ve been dealing with hangovers pretty much all my career! It’s part of the job, we like to say ;)
I’ve had to learn the best and fastest way to cure my hangovers; in the end it’s all about blood, if you drink cocktails with loads of sugar, you’ll get drunk very fast and the headache in the morning will be terrible. The sugar pumps your through your blood at 100 miles per hour and if you mix it with alcohol, well… that hits you at the same speed. So, I suggest hydrating yourself with water every other cocktail and avoiding having too many sugary drinks. In the morning you’ll still have the same feeling but a less painful head. Another trick to nurse your hangover is drinking coconut water (add a nice half a litre to a litre); same concept as before, sugar makes your blood run faster, in the morning your blood is likely to still be full of alcohol, therefore by introducing a fair amount of sugar in your system your blood will clean it-self much faster than on a regular hangover day. To speed up the process even more I’ll share with you my morning-after recipe:
- 100ml apple juice
- 100ml coconut water
- 1 squeezed lemon
- 4 slices of ginger
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
blend everything together and drink up!