What do a 79-year-old artist from Yorkshire and a Notting Hill restaurant have in common? Not a lot, you’re probably thinking. But Mr David Hockney and hot new West Coast-style restaurant Pomona’s actually share something very important. In amidst concrete grey London with its cloudy skies and distinct lack of sunshine, both share a true understanding of colour and the instantly uplifting power it can have. So yes – it makes perfect sense that Pomona’s have come up with a special collection of cocktails, inspired by – of course – David Hockney’s blockbuster exhibition, currently showing at the Tate Britain.
Created by Head Barman Kestutis Stirba (formerly of The Sanderson and The Electric), the collection comprises four cocktails based on iconic Hockney art works. Grand Canyon is inspired by his sweeping studies of the dramatic rock formations to be found in the Arizona National Park – and its deep, bold colours. The cocktail is an update on everyone’s favourite drink du jour – the Negroni – with a very Cali addition: freshly-pressed carrot juice. We loved the Bigger Green Valley – which pays tribute to the verdant landscapes shown in Hockney’s 2008 work of the same name. With cucumber, chartreuse, vodka and citrus accents served long over ice, it captures that fresh, leafy feel of the painting – a spring day on the cusp of summer.
Then there’s the Beach Umbrella – by far the sunniest of the menu. We’re in high summer here, midday on the beach, the sun is high in the sky and colours couldn’t be brighter. This is 100% California – with surf-style pineapple, pisco and arrak, finished with (what else?) sea salt. Finally, Rainy Promenade takes us back to Hockney’s native Yorkshire, inspired by Rainy Night on Bridlington Promenade, with its intense blues, purples and indigos. It’s dark and stormy, but this is a summer storm, and there’s electricity in the air. The cocktail – strong as you like – is our favourite new aperitif, with an unusual combination of port, tequila and orange, which shouldn’t work, but definitely does!
And if you’re having a cocktail or two, it would be rude not to have a little look at Pomona’s menu. However, to glance at the menu would be to decide to order it all – trust us. Simply divided into small plates, mains, salads and sides, it’s a sunny menu that will have you dreaming of moving to California. Cali’s diversity and fusion flavours up the ante on dishes such as steak tartare, served with kimchi to add a sweet-sour freshness to the plate. There’s seafood aplenty, with excellent soft shell crab and generous fish or prawn tacos to add to your must-order list. And yes, you can have Instagram’s fave avocado on toast – served zeitgeisty vegan-style on sweet potato ‘toast’ with coconut ‘labneh’.
Save some space for the mains though – there’s beautifully-cooked organic meat from the Ginger Pig on offer, best accompanied by Asian-style daikon slaw or home fries depending on whether you’re planning on considering the restaurant’s concise selection of desserts. Even if you’re not, you should – served with velvety creme anglaise, the ridiculously rich caramelized croissant and prune pie is a life-changing experience. Pair with a Salted Caramel White Russian, and then book your gym session tomorrow! Alternatively, can we suggest another walk around Mr Hockney’s unforgettable exhibition? Culture and cocktails – you can’t go wrong.
For more information and to book, see Pomona’s website or telephone +44 (0) 20 7229 1503. The David Hockney cocktails are available until May 29th.