A quaint pub on the edge of Covent Garden.
On first impressions, Mr Fogg’s Tavern – a cosy, Victorian-style watering hole specialising in premium ales – seems little different to a traditional pub. It’s warm, it’s crowded and the hooch is cheap (well, by Covent Garden standards). But as you delve further into the story behind this little boozer, you’ll find it’s inspired by the protagonist of Jules Verne’s adventure novel ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, and it’s overflowing with Phileas Fogg regalia.
Look up and you’ll see ageing souvenirs and knick-knacks hanging from the ceiling and taxidermy mounted on the wood-panelled walls. Even the loos are in keeping with the theme, airing old-style commentary through a crackled mic. Despite this populist theme, and the central London location, the exterior is discreet enough to keep the place from swarming with tourists.
There’s an extensive drinks list, but real ales are the crowd-pleasers here. After sampling a few, I went for the Whitstable Bay Blonde lager – a light, floral ale that avoids the bitter aftertaste common in many hoppy lagers. Drinks are modestly priced, served in tankards and pewter cups by staff dressed in aprons and hats, all with a fun sense of humour. You can expect typical pub grub – mini fish and chips hit the spot, but mushroom and potato croquettes were bland and (like most things) could have been improved with the addition of cheese.
This pub manages to pull off the old-fashioned feel without seeming like it’s trying too hard. An hour into the evening, our host Mr Carradine had taken to the piano and begun an unexpected sing-a-long. Before we knew it, we were up on our feet singing ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’, which suited the theatreland setting pretty nicely.
|Venue name:||Mr Fogg's Tavern|
58 St. Martin's Lane
|Transport:||Tube: Leicester Sq/Covent Garden|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.1 / 5
- 5 star:7
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:4
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:0
From the moment, you step into Mr Fogg’s it transports you back in time, as the bar is built on old English wooden panelling, and is decorated with paintings from historical events and ornaments from the past. This makes the experience much more enjoyable as the scenery itself is entertainment, and is a great tourist attraction.
For starters, I opted to try all the starters on the menu, so I could taste all the dishes they had to offer. For the first starter, Fogg’s flaked smoked haddock kedgeree was presented, I have never had kedgeree before, and so this was a new dish for me to try. The Mr Fogg’s version consisted of chunks of Haddock, wrapped in curried boiled rice with the boiled egg lying on the top. I was a little sceptical at first but was pleasantly surprised, how well seasoned the rice was and how tasty this little dish was.
When I read that grilled frog’s legs were on the menu, my immediate thought was ‘What the hell?’ However, I was willing to give it a go as you only live once! Nevertheless, be warned, as the Frog’s legs do look as if they are about to leap off your plate! I am amazed at how good the frog’s legs actually tasted; it has quite a rubbery texture to the tongue and tastes like exotic chicken. The banana sauce accompanying the legs does make them taste even yummier. I would recommend the Frog’s legs as it definitely breaks the norm and it is always a good idea to try something new- if not, there are always the sweet potato wedges that also come with the legs to nibble on instead.
Next to try were the crispy herb tempura prawns, which are accompanied by a spicy dip. This dip absolutely makes the dish, as the dish uses more savoury spices rather than sweet spices. The spicy dip does not set the taste buds completely on fire, but rather it enhances the taste of the prawns, makes them yummier. This dip was everything, which leads me to also try it out with the frog’s legs.
Can you believe that all these dishes were just starters? Our main had not come yet.
Therefore, for my main, I chose the lobster and avocado salad, which is drizzled with zesty grapefruit dressing. To be honest, I did enjoy the salad, but the grapefruit dressing was too citrus for me as before the dish my palette was quite savoury, which unfortunately aided in enhancing the zest. The salad was well prepared and very refreshing.
I did manage to steal some of my friend’s oven-baked salmon, which was topped with cheesy leeks sauce and served on a bed of spring onions mash. Delicious and the salmon pieces were well seasoned and melted in my mouth.
The desserts came; at this point, I was completely stuffed. The only disappointing factor was I could not try all the desserts because of my intolerance to certain dairy products, but I manage to try a bit.
First, to try was the trio of ice creams vanilla, chocolate, pistachio. The chocolate used is dark chocolate, is very rich, and therefore needs to be tried with other flavours as each flavour compliments each other. The pistachio is quite savoury and therefore calms the richness of dark chocolate. The vanilla ice cream is quite bland, so the dark chocolate enhances the taste.
Next to try were the glazed drunken figs, served with mascarpone cream. The initial taste was nice but annoyingly sweet, so it is best to serve as a sharing dish as the taste is quite intense and unique for one person. The figs have an acquired taste but if you have a sweet tooth, this is for you! I would recommend trying this dish first as the taste is quite complex but the more you taste the figs, you will also taste different flavours of the figs.
Lastly, the strawberry jelly parfait, which is a British traditional favourite, and immediately brought back childhood memories. My friends and I started to reminisce over childhood party memories whilst eating this dessert, which was a great way to end the brunch.
Now the question on your lips, whilst reading this review is- ‘what do the punches taste like? Well luckily, I tasted all the punches, which seemed to be a good idea at the time, but perhaps not for the rest of the day.
The punch of Bison was my least favourite but only because it is vodka based and is citrus, which is not my style. Zubrówka Bison grass vodka, Belvedere grapefruit vodka, orange juice, earl grey tea and honeydew melon syrup was used when making this punch.
One punchy G&T, which consist of Bombay London, dry Gin, homemade lavender syrup, and fresh lemon juice and grapefruit tonic, topped with sparkling wine. This is a great punch if you love Gin and want a refreshing Gin punch to accompany your food.
Punch-Gin above one’s weight; A cinnamon infused star of Bombay London, dry Gin, lemon juice and cranberry juice, topped with Rose lemonade. This punch not only looks beautiful but also tastes amazingly sweet. A girly gin cocktail that goes down a treat!
However, of course, my favourite punch had to be rum based; Bacardi Carta Oro rum, Luxardo maraschino cherry liquor, pineapple syrup and lime juice, topped with soda water. This drink was made very strong but with just the right amount of sweetness. This punch was called the Rumpy Pumpy punch.
(3 courses for £38, including 1 hour and 31 mins of punch)
(3 courses for £32)
What to wear: Casual
Ambience: Traditional British feel with staff that are very informative and passionate about Mr Fogg’s.
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