Rita's to open Night Elm bar downstairs

puffsIt's been almost a year since Rita's Bar and Dining opened up its permanent spot in Hackney, which we loved. Now they're opening up the space in the basement, previously kept back for private events, as a new bar Night Elm.

They're viewing the bar as "a return to our pop-up days" being close in spirit to the original Rita's at Birthdays. We caught up with Rita's Missy Flynn to find out more...

What can we expect from the menu at Night Elm?

We're keeping some of our snacks from menus past and present with the addition of a few new bits that we think make up a great menu of bar food. It's kind of going back to the roots of when we opened Birthdays and wanted to put together a list of really simply the best food to drink with and vice versa, mixed drinks that make you hungry for delicious, interesting bar bites.

We've added Pork Puffs - somewhere between a dim sum snack and BBQ - puff pastry parcel filled with a honey BBQ pork, puffed in a hot oven and covered with sesame seeds and powdered sugar (pictured here).

And how about drinks?

On the drinks side, again simple and delicious is our main goal!

We won't be going overboard with the menu, a small list based on our ethos of simple, well made mixed drinks. We've made a few home made ingredients to play with - a couple of shrubs and, of course, lots of fresh fruit infusions and syrups. The difference will be that the emphasis is more on the short and strong as opposed to the restaurant where most things are served a little longer.

The drinks menu inspiration comes from the greatest, simplest classic cocktails like Manhattans, our favourite dive-bar style take on those (eg our dirty martini with olives) and our ongoing nod to Asia - with Japanese Whiskies and Sake served as a low ball (sake bomb!) or highball.

What will the set-up be downstairs?

We'll have a handful of tables for pairs and small groups with just a few stools at the bar.  There will also be a group table for up to 12 which is bookable for a sharing menu of our fried chicken feast served sharing served alongside drinks. It's less of a dinner but more of a boozy, sharing, fun meal with drinks.

Will the bar be bookable?

We do not have a reservations line set up specifically for the bar, but of course the table for 12 will be bookable and people should feel free to get in touch should they have any queries about groups of other sizes. The bar will also be available for private hire.

Night Elm opens on 17 September at Rita's, 175 Mare St, London E8 3RH. Find out more about Rita's and for more information on the opening, follow them on Twitter