NOTE: This bar has been taken over and given a complete makeover. Full review to follow. The Time Out Food and Drink Team
For all its cocktail bar posturing (the choice of real ales here is, well, non-existent), this friendly spot is delightfully relaxed. Head to the paved beer garden if the chandeliers, gilt-framed mirrors and glittering wallpaper seem too prissy – that’s where the blokes and kids were congregating on our recent visit.
A change in the kitchen team has led to a fusion-fuelled menu, but for once that’s a good thing, with well-judged dishes such as a pleasantly tepid sushi rice salad with samphire, hot-smoked salmon and pickled ginger among the seasonally inspired picks. You’ll still find good British fare: ham hock salad with potato, watercress and egg, say, or grilled steak with horseradish butter. A confident burger came with sensational chips (also available with aïoli for snacking).
There’s a thoughtful children’s menu taking in shepherd’s pie, cumberland sausage, battered fish, and pasta (£4.50 including ice-cream for dessert); staff are extremely good with little ones too.
The international wine list starts at £16 a bottle, and classic cocktails are a mere £6.50 – underlining the overall impression that Villiers Terrace’s target market is designer-heeled yummy mummies. That’s not necessarily a criticism given the location, but worth noting if you don’t fit the demographic.