Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An evening at Evans & Peel Detective Agency


I've never been good with secrets so I've wrestled with my conscience over this one. I'm desperate to tell everyone about my amazing experience at Evans & Peel Detective Agency, but the whole appeal of the venue in question is its secrecy. But like any good detective writer, I'll try to give you enough detail to pique your interest without spoiling the mystery...

Our story begins at Evans & Peel, a curiously dark speakeasy on Earls Court Road, which was quietly recommended to me by a reliable informant (who we shall call Grum). The agency harks back to the golden age of 'whodunnits' - think Sherlock Holmes, Poirot and The 39 Steps. But unlike many trendier speakeasies, Evans & Peel is warm, authentic, dramatic and, above all, fun.

The experience is underway from the moment you book your 'appointment' with Detective Peel. He replied to my email asking me to call the agency so they can proceed with my 'case' (brilliantly, the email was signed off with 'Sent from my Gramophone').

This affectionate humour and attention to detail runs throughout the Evans & Peel experience, which is from beginning to end a loving tribute to the classic 1920s and 1930s crime mysteries.

The office: image from www.missimmyslondon.com
On arrival, ring the doorbell, make a few shifty glances and - when you're sure you're not being watched - slip inside incognito. As you descend into a Cluedo-esque world of flickering light bulbs, gramophone music, typewriters, blood red wallpaper and drawers full of liquor, the dashing Detective Peel awaits in his office, ready to question you about your 'case', so be ready to improvise; the more elaborate the tale, the better!

In fact, if you're with a group and someone is running late, why not have a bit of fun with them and inform Detective Peel that this latecomer is a prime suspect in your case...? After a grilling from the Detective, you can be sure your unsuspecting companion won't keep you waiting next time. Once Detective Peel is satisfied, he will whisk you with a magical flourish into a large and atmospheric bar, which will be your home for the evening.

The bar: image from www.missimmyslondon.com
Here, you will be taken care of with old-fashioned service from charming waiters, who would have you believe there is no greater pleasure in life than to serve you their bespoke and delectable vintage cocktails. My highlight was the A&T, a quintessentially English concoction made with gin which has been hand-infused with Earl Grey and lavender.

The establishment requires that you order food with your cocktails, to get around a licensing restriction - but with mouthwatering American style tapas dishes on offer including a smokey Waldorf salad, macaroni cheese, tender pulled pork sliders and simply delicious crunchy wedges, having to order a few bites from the menu is no hardship whatsoever.

Once you have solved your case, you are free to depart the agency, but please remember to refrain from dilly-dallying and drawing unnecessary attention to the doorway on your way out. A visit to Evans &  Peel Detective Agency should be clothed in secrecy, so it's important not to give the game away.... Oh.

I've said too much already. Whether you're planning a clandestine date or a big birthday celebration, or if you simply need to catch a wayward villain, all you need to know is this:

Evans & Peel
310c Earls Court Road
Telephone:  020 7373 3573

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