This is the first time I have had to get past a bouncer to enter a pub. Just to be clear, it wasn’t because of my dress or lack thereof. Neither was this was not a pub/club hybrid. It was a proper boozer.
Being subject to such scrutiny brought back memories of the last time I was so obviously judged on my dress. This was when I was invited to try some food at a club/restaurant at Leicester Square. I arrived nice and early, appropriately dressed but they proceeded to dislike me so much that although they promised me free food, they then turned me away. Perhaps I should have worn a different face. Thankfully in this case, the bouncer, carefully attired in a smart suit with almost impossibly broad shoulders, was far more polite.
Instead of getting a scowl (I have that effect on people sometimes, despite my winsome smile) I received a pleasant nod and a “good evening sir”. Then he opened the door for me. The night was off to a good start.
Devils on horseback. We were very puzzled on what this actually meant. After much googling, we found out that this would be bacon wrapped around dates. After having eaten it, I can see how it got its name. It is a rather sinful delight, particularly suited to the name.
Steak roll, Lincolnshire poacher cheese, watercress with onion rings. With a generous helping of steak and particularly well fried onion rings on the side, it was not bad. Even if the steak was a little bland though. Nicely medium rare, could have perhaps done with a little more of a kick. The onion rings were skillfully fried, retaining little oil. They were crispy and almost healthy tasting, a particular skill to applaud.
Chicken and leek pie, house mustard. Delicate pastry on the top and bottom. Delicious full stew inside. Fabulous mash on the side. On its own, the pie would be cause for celebration but in this case the mash overshadowed the main event. This mash was intensely creamy, so much so that it tasted as though it was maybe made in a generous and delectable half butter and cream mix. Served with a side of mustard, this was what mash dreams of being.
Cheeseburger, grilled ox-tongue, crispy shallots. The star of the show, the ox tongue addition puts this up with some of the best burgers in London. With an unusual addition, the extra beefiness of the burger brought on by the ox tongue, firm bun, shallots, lettuce and a juicy patty, made this something comparable to Bleeker St. Burger. This was the best burger I’ve had in a pub. Although I caveat this by highlighting that I have rather limited experience in pub fare.
Lemon sponge and custard. Full without becoming too cloying. The sponge was light and airy, complemented with cream of just the right consistency. The cream managed to find that fine line between overpowering stodgy thickness and watery cordial.
Warm chocolate brownie. Light with full dairy ice cream on the side. Although I tell myself that brownies aren’t that hard to make (or so I tell me when I fail again), it is hard to bake a good brownie. It was not too soft, not too hard and not too sweet. Instead, it was just right.
Located just off Oxford Circus, not far from genteel Mayfair, and linked to the Langham, this was a most excellent watering hole. Although I have not tasted their liquid beverages, their food offering is quite fine indeed. Although perhaps a little more expensive than other competitors in the area, I guess the extra money goes to the kitchen. Perhaps it is wishful thinking but if only other pubs could cook like this, the world would be a better place. Then again, maybe they would need a bouncer too.
A quiet eating 8/10.
Dinner (2 courses) was GBP22 excluding drinks and service.
15 Langham Place, Regent Street,
London W1B 3DE