Things don’t change much at this enduring City classic, and that’s the way everyone likes it. Rumour has it you’re now allowed to use mobile phones, but the bill is still handwritten on a form that includes ‘cigars’ as the last category, the walls remain covered with photos of old sports teams, and many of the staff have been here for years.
They serve regulars from behind counters fronted by stools, proffering sliced bread and butter and lemon wedges, filling glasses with the sauvignon blancs and chardonnays (mainly Burgundian) and Chablis that dominate the wine list. The main menu shows similar conservatism, with lobster and crab bisques prefacing a choice of fish and seafood dishes that read and taste like upmarket versions of a pub-side stall – smoked fish, whitebait, smoked trout and so forth.
Top-quality fish are then served fried, grilled or poached to order, with a short side vegetable list (topped by peas). The handful of slightly more elaborate dishes includes a fish pie that bears witness to its well-practised makers in every light, succulent forkful.
You can also get good crab and smoked fish rolls, fancier specials and old-school puddings. The relaxed, shirtsleeved City crowd is welcoming of incomers, as is the very able maître’d.