A former chain pub has been given a makeover to create a two-floor pub and dining room beside Fulham Broadway tube. The ground floor, which goes by the name of Broadway Bar and Grill, shows the signs of a typical London boozer, from the always-on TV screens to the rows of near-identical brews on tap. There’s a bar menu serving burgers and the like.
In the first-floor dining room, called Brasa (which has a separate entrance on the right), things look a lot more promising. The dining room’s more suited to dates than mates, the lighting subdued, the tables well spaced. The menu’s brief, British, and centres on grilled dishes, cooked on a huge grill imported from Spain.
When dishes are this simple, the ingredients have to be top quality – and the competition’s stiff these days. Yet the meats are described very minimally – ‘grilled longhorn T-bone £22’ – ie with no provenance, ageing or even weight information given.
Our T-bone steak was disappointing. While the centre was chewy and red, the edges were tough and overcooked. And the kitchen had decided to cut the steak into slivers (what Italians call tagliata) before it reached us, possibly thinking they were doing us a favour as we were sharing dishes. But as a result, it just didn’t look like a £22 piece of steak. I also recently had the experience of reviewing an Angus Steak House, and – to my great surprise – the steak at their revamped Leicester Square branch was better.
Grilled pheasant, also curiously cut into slices as if we were invalids, was a better choice at £11, but came with no side vegetables; grilled fennel and a bowl of triple-cooked chips each cost £3.50 extra. Starters were a bit unremarkable for the prices charged – £6.50 for some slices of limp beetroot with ricotta, for example. A dessert of ‘payn per dew’ (an old English spelling of the French 'pain perdu', aka 'French toast', or eggy bread) was off, so we had the ‘warm chocolate cake’ which was actually more of a fondant.
In its favour, the service was charming and Brasa’s room is refreshingly quiet after the TV screens downstairs. With its location right next to the tube, we don’t doubt this prime location will attract a fair number of souls unaware that in the backstreets nearby you can find a handful of far superior gastropubs.