Spotlight: North Bar & Kitchen launch North42 Gin

North Bar & Kitchen has kept its place towards the top of Leicester’s food scene for a number of years now. Following the success of the restaurant the owners have decided to follow another ambition of theirs; to launch their very own gin. Now, following a successful crowdfunding campaign North42 is now available to buy! 
 
We caught up with one of the owners, Sally Davis, to find out more.
 
You’ve just launched your North42, your very own gin, how long has this been in the planning stages?
North42 Gin has been the dream of Joanna and myself for many years now. Gin has always been our real passion. When we opened North Bar & Kitchen 4 years ago we made sure that gin was front and centre of the bar. The intention was always for our own gin to be our house pour and number 42 in our collection of premium gins. In terms of actually developing the gin and going through the crowdfunding process, we have been working flat out on the project for just over 6 months now.
 
PICTURE ALEX HANNAM – Co-owners of North Bar and Kitchen, L-R Joanna Betts and Sally Davis at North Bar and Kitchen
 
What was the trickiest part in the process of launching the product?
As you’d expect, dealing with the administration has been the hardest part – making sure the taxman is happy in terms of paying the tax and duty that we owe on the gin – not the sort of thing you want to get wrong! We’ve been making a list and checking it twice to make sure that we do everything absolutely right.
 
What made you choose the flavour that you’ve gone for?
I invented the Rhubarb Tumble cocktail when North first opened and it has gone on to be our biggest selling cocktail. People would always ask what the ‘secret ingredient’ was and now they know it was blood orange. It was a no-brainer to use a flavour combination that our customers love so much in our gin. It’s fantastic how flexible North42 is as a gin – it works as a sipping gin, or you can choose your perfect pour with either plain tonic or ginger ale. They all taste wonderful.
 
 
You set up a crowdfunding campaign to help bring the gin to the market, what tips would you give to anything thinking of launching their first crowdfund?
Do your homework! Make sure you are prepared for all the costs your project will involve, including the cost of the platform fees and fulfilling the rewards for your pledges. Campaigns that adopt the ‘all or nothing’ approach to fundraising are generally more successful, so you have to go ahead with your project whatever happens once the money is raised. Make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises!
 
North Bar & Kitchen has continued to stay near the top of the restaurant scene in Leicester for a number of years now, what’s your secret to success in such a competitive industry?
People come back to North time and time again because they know they will consistently get the very best quality. We carefully source our ingredients, locally where possible, and prepare them with flair. We make everything in-house – even our oils and dressings. It’s important to us to have control over every element of service so we know the dishes are packed with as much flavour as possible.
 
Our guests know that they will always receive the very highest standards of food coupled with attentive service that isn’t stuffy or formal. We want everyone who visits us to feel like they are being treated like a valued old friend.
 
 
For anyone who hasn’t been to North before, how would you describe the restaurant and what are your stand out dishes?
Our restaurant on Hinckley Road is one of Leicester’s leading fine dining destinations. Our menu is modern British with a French twist. One of our most popular dishes is the Hereford 30 day matured fillet steak. There is nowhere to hide with a dish like that – you have to have the very finest meat and treat it with the utmost care to allow the natural flavours to shine. Our Sunday Lunch is extremely popular for the same reason – we do the classics well.
 
In recent years, our reputation nationally has been sealed because of the quality of our Vegan tasting menu. There are so few options for Vegan fine dining in the region, and ours has been held up by organisations like PETA as one of the best in the country. Once again, simplicity is the key. We love creating plant based food where seasonal, fresh vegetables are the star of the show.
 
Where are some of your other favourite places to eat in Leicester?
With working full time and running North, I don’t get a lot of opportunities to eat out! When we do go out we like to make sure it is somewhere really special – and somewhere we can do a bit of snooping to see how our competitors do things. For that reason, it’s always fascinating to visit places like John’s House and Sat Bains. That’s definitely the sort of level we feel North is operating at.
 
What dish on the menu goes best with your brand new North42 gin?
We have actually curated a five course gin pairing menu, so guests can come and see for themselves how our food and our gin matches. For sheer indulgence and incredible flavour, my favourite course on that menu is The Lobster. This is butter poached lobster served with charred leek and lovage oil. We serve that with our Atomic42 cocktail, which pulls the very best out of the aromatic, sweet flavours of the dish. It’s a delicate, but memorable pairing.
 
 
Where can people find out more / buy the gin? 
North42 Gin is available to buy now through the website north42gin.co.uk. In the online shop you’ll also find our unique branded glassware and access to buying tickets for the exclusive gin pairing menu. We’re super excited that we will be having a pop up shop at Selfridges too in the coming months, where the gin will be available, but this is likely to be the only physical retailer initially. Keep an eye on our website and social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for all the latest news about the gin and the restaurant.