Sophisticated pub grub in an Old World atmosphere is the hallmark of the Shakespeare, a British-style tavern tucked inside the William hotel. Accented by weathered wood-beam ceilings and dim, moody lighting, this cozy bar delivers unexpectedly elevated English fare in a refreshingly friendly, laid-back atmosphere.
Service is prone to inconsistencies, but the food readily compensates for it. Starters like the Smoked Duck & Potato Tart ($15) and poached salmon toast ($10) hold their own against classic British dishes like the luscious Scotch Egg ($10), served piping hot in a deep-fried sausage and bread crumb coating, and the pungent Welsh Rarebit ($10), an open-faced toast smothered in Tickler cheddar with hints of Guinness. Don’t miss the surprisingly toothsome Country Pâté ($11)—it's generously portioned with a velvety smooth texture that joyously melts on the tip of your tongue.
Entrees like the Organic Scottish Salmon Burger ($20) and gammon steak with a fried egg ($24) linger amongst more traditional mains like bangers and mash ($19) and a behemoth serving of fish and chips ($25)—beer-battered and deep-fried, the cod is flaky and supple under its breaded hood, with sizable thick-cut potato wedges and an herbaceous tartar sauce appropriately complementing its stature. But it’s the shepherd’s pie (MP) that reigns supreme, with delicately whipped cheddar-laced potatoes ensconcing a bed of succulent ground lamb shoulder that’s slow-cooked in a roasted lamb bone broth.
A befitting dessert list featuring Banoffee Trifle ($8) and Sticky Toffee & Date Pudding ($8) rounds out the menu, but diners would be best served by indulging in a final cold draft brew. This is, after all, a pub.
BY: TIME OUT COMMUNITY REVIEWER CHRISTINE FISCHER HEWIT