Nose-to-tail does it in the kitchen of this rollicking gastropub not far from Waterloo station, where cramped surrounds, jam-packed tables (no bookings), deliberately battered furniture and dressed-down service set the tone for an artful daily menu stuffed with butchers’ offcuts, wild pickings and seasonal scoff. Big, bold flavours are a given, whether you’re in the mood for snail and bacon kebabs, a pair of grilled Dover soles with chips and wild garlic butter or sautéed lamb’s sweetbreads with peas and mint. There are also trencherman joints of seven-hour lamb shoulder for three to share, plus deeply satisfying trad desserts such as flourless chocolate cake or buttermilk pudding with Yorkshire rhubarb. The no-choice ‘workers’ lunch is a steal, bookable Sunday lunches are a regular sell-out and there are some perky European wines to wash it all down. Handily placed for the Young and Old Vic theatres.
May 2019: We’ve added Three Cranes in the City, the rebooted gastropub from Francophile chef Henry Harris (following on from The Coach in Clerkenwell and The Hero of Maida in W9). And in Soho, the weeny dining room Upstairs at The French House is once again turning heads thanks to the arrival of chef Neil Borthwick (ex-Merchants Tavern in Shoreditch).
London is the gastropub capital of the world and we’ve eaten our way through the lot and rounded up the very best. These are boozers that can compete with restaurants in the culinary stakes – they just happen to come with cracking Victorian buildings, and fires, and dogs (mostly). So whether you’re after fish and chips, or a roast, or an oxtail ragù, you’ve come to the right place. Because food tastes better with bags of atmos. Fact.