Trying a selection of gin cocktails at Santorini Bar & Grill's new Gin Room in Headingley - review
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The Greek and Turkish restaurant has revamped its decor and extended the bar area under the name the Gin Room.
The new bar had caught my eye when it opened on Otley Road in January, so I headed down for a quiet catch-up with a friend.
On a weekday evening Santorini was busy but not noisy - it was a lovely escape from the 'Otley Runners' who often blight a quiet drink in Headingley.
There is now a large seated bar area by the window of the restaurant, with plush green sofas, marble tables and gold furnishings.
The bar itself is decked out with sleek green tiles, fresh flowers and leather bar stools and pink mood lighting gives it a luxurious feel.
With table service, an ivy wall and plenty of comfortable seating, the Gin Room has all the makings of a high-end city centre bar.
What's on the menu?
Gin lovers rejoice! As well as an extensive collection of the spirit behind the bar, there are seven gin cocktails, as well as classics such as a Pornstar Martini, Bellini and Long Ice Tea.
For the more adventurous, the Gin Room offers a Nutella martini - made with Finlandia vodka, Bailey's and the chocolate hazelnut spread.
Or there's the Kamari Santorini special, made with Bombay Sapphire, spiced rum, Disaronno, orange juice, lime juice, sugar syrups and cherry brandy liqueur.
Beer-drinkers can choose between the Greek pale lager Mythos, the fresh-tasting Turkish EFES or a bottle of Peroni.
Now onto the drinks...
My eyes had lit up at the gin selection. I opted for the Pink Pepper Gin, made with Mediterranean tonic and garnished with basil, pink peppercorns and strawberry.
The hint of basil was a delight and it was not too sweet and beautifully garnished. All gin mixes are made with 50ml measures making it worth the £7.50 it set me back.
My only complaint was that the pink peppercorns were not strained - it was very difficult to take a sip without getting a mouthful of peppercorns stuck in your teeth, making for an unpleasant and bitter crunch.
My drinking companion chose the Strawberry Gin Mojito, made with strawberry liquor, gin, lime juice, tonic, mint and strawberry and topped with tonic.
This was much more sugary than a traditional Mojito but it was perfect for her sweet tooth.
After my peppercorn experience I decided to choose a classic gin cocktail for the second round - the English Garden, a Bombay Sapphire and elderflower creation.
This was mixed perfectly and was deliciously refreshing and once again the 50ml measure was welcomed, after trying many a watered-down gin cocktail at other bars in Leeds.
Was it good value for money?
At £7.50 a cocktail it's not budget prices here - but with generous measures, beautifully presented drinks, friendly table service and the ambiance of a high-end city centre bar, I'd say it's very good value for money.
With many students now staying on in Headingley after they leave university and more and more young families moving in, this is a welcome new addition to Otley Road.
Santorini's owners have clearly spotted a gap in the market and stepped in.
I'd definitely return for a catch-up with friends, to unwind post-work, or enjoy a drink before tucking into Santorini's Greek and Turkish platters.
Address: 55 Otley Rd, Headingley, Leeds LS6 3AB
Telephone: 0113 278 1532