As a marketer, I often wonder how it is a place seeps into your subconscious. “I’ve heard great things” turns into you recommending to other people, which inevitably turns into a reservation.
The ambiance tries very hard to mimic an iconic London pub experience, with some success, though, given the price point- one would expect a setting more Buckingham than back-alley Brighton.
I went with some of my favorite eaters, and we sampled widely, sadly, with widely varying results.
The scotch egg was a highlight, lovely golden crust, the yolk just soft and creamy. A pretzel served with a delicious (though very unappetizing grey) gravy with chunks of cheese (Rarebit—not nearly as exciting as the name would imply). The bone marrow & escargot was over breaded- the escargot were so flavorless and amorphous I was sure they had forgotten to add them to plate. We also sampled the Amish Chicken Wings—which were good, drenched in a rich, spicy mole—but I couldn’t help but feel that they were completely out of place.
When we sat down, the waitress immediately informed us there was only order of Fish & Chips remaining- which seems odd, given that it was fairly early on a Saturday evening and it’s meant to be their signature- frankly, they could have kept it in the kitchen. For $17, the two lonely pieces of haddock where crisp, but under seasoned and bland. Meanwhile, the Ribeye steak was a seared salt lick. The “filet” featured huge globulous lumps of fat, circled in untrimed gristle. It was tender, and the flavor good if you could ignore the way your mouth seemed to be curing itself with every bite. The chewy, overly large Yorkshire pudding- think a popover with no butter- only highlighted how unbalanced the whole mess was. The pinesol did act as a pallet cleanser… The all-important cocktail menu had interest to spare- clever sounding combinations that either came on too strong, or one in particular that completely eschewed herbal and landed in Pinesol territory.
That brings me to the bill: I’ll grant you- we ordered 4 apps, 4 entrees, and drinks- but the bill came to a whooping $300 for 4.
A great food experience can be transportive – but my money would have been better spent on a flight to London.