THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
A recent refurb was meant to give London House a less formal, neighbourhood pub vibe. The intimate rooms are cool and sleek; the art on the walls, contemporary and edgy. A new terrace is hidden away, giving it a VIP feel. Quality decking, rattan furniture and barbecue promise fabulous al fresco dining. Service is excellent and every member of staff has apparently graduated summa cum laude from charm school. In short, NOTHING like the pub in my hood!
The new Head Chef, George Lyon is no more successful at serving up pub grub... His food is sensational. The menu reads a bit like pub food, but the similarity stops there. George is a star and his less-formal-pub-vibe food knocked me out. I can’t imagine what he would do if he decided to go upmarket!
The menu is small and in perfectly understandable English. I didn’t have to google anything! All seemingly simple. It’s not. Each dish is well executed and the attention to detail is very fine.
Heritage tomato and burrata (£9) were high quality ingredients, beautifully presented. Crispy pigs head croquette with sauce gribiche (£8) was a treat. Crispy outside with a soft, moist and flavourful filling. The grabiche, similar to tartar sauce but made with hardboiled egg yolks was rich and delicious. With these, a glass of 2014 Sancerre, Dom. Du Nozay (£10) was a delight. Great balance of acid and fruit with a hint of butter.
We were surprised with a second course of roasted skate wing with courgette and basil purée (£22.50). Lucky us! Perfectly seasoned, the skate was firm, but still came right off the bone. With lightly dressed ribbons of squash and a sweet/savoury purée, this was heaven on a plate! A 2014 Gavi di Gavi (£9) was a good match. Very light with a mineral finish.
In the spirit of pub, we went for meaty mains. Roast lamb, with scrumptious, creamy, jersey royal potatoes and fennel salad (£23) was very good, but red wine braised beef with wild mushrooms (£19) was extraordinary. The caramelization on the meat gave such flavour and the sauce was a taste explosion. Great mash and mushrooms made this the dish of the night. With a 2013 Priorat, Ritme, Acustic Cellars, a Spanish Grenache with berry, spice and oak, it could hardly be better.
Doughnuts, lemon curd and white chocolate (£8.50) were really fun. I don’t allow myself doughnuts unless they’re posh! The white chocolate hits your tongue first, then the lemon explodes in your mouth. Sweet and sour surprise! This was yummy. Chocolate délice with passion fruit sorbet (£8) was sublime. An inspired combination a flavours, textures and temperatures. A Graham's 30 year old tawny port sent me over the moon. Alcoholic liquid caramel nectar. This is not on the wine list, but you might get lucky on Wine Wednesday (see the photo on the right) when wines are on offer at retail prices and there are specials to be had.
Neighbourhood pub? No. Destination? Yes!