"Buzzy West London pub with hearty food"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
The Mall Tavern is one of those modern gastropubs with elements of old fashioned charm that are so de rigeur these days, in this case aided by glass cabinets and chandeliers. It’s an attractive pub, and clearly a popular one with locals. Both the bar and the dining room at the back are buzzing with West London residents: young, smartly dressed, and with plenty to natter about.
They have retro dishes like ‘chicken Kyiv’, and irritatingly named options like a ‘remarkable’ pork pie with green tomato and chutney, and ‘Pierre’s-Plethora-of-Posh-Potted-Pates-&-Pickles’. If typewriters were still in use there would be some very disgruntled staff members, not to mention illegible menus going around.
We naturally have to try the most conceited-sounding dish, and we soon forgive the P-P-P-P-P&P for its name because each little bit of it is delicious. Served in vintage-looking receptacles (naturally), there is a rich pea mousse with watercress and whole peas, a smooth chicken liver pate with a pickled onion, and salmon pate topped with roe and garnished with chopped gherkin. The pickles consist of thinly sliced pickled mushrooms, carrots, and beetroot, and a chunky piccalilli. Delicious homemade sourdough, still warm, is the perfect base for the pates, and brown bread crisps are ideal for dunking into the pea mousse.
The starter is big enough for two to share, but we also manage the ‘piggy fritters’, chunky pork and potato fried in breadcrumbs, and fried Brie, which oozes out of golden parcels, with a tart cranberry sauce on the side. Both are very good indeed.
The ‘cow pie’ obviously does well here, as we spy several of them sashaying by. An impressively large dish is topped with a glazed pastry, containing huge chunks of beef that could have done with being a little softer. But the real talking point is the cow’s bone positioned atop the pastry, with a liberal quantity of rich marrow spilling out of it.
Another main, the grouse pasty, is superb. The meat has seemingly been cooked in red wine, adding a sweet flavour (aided by chopped carrots) to this already strong-tasting bird, and it is cleverly paired with a simple yet brilliant salad of leaves, blackberries and crisps.
The peach jelly is another triumph, refreshing rather than saccharine, with slices of peach that have marinated in red wine, but have been dried till their texture has firmed up.
To drink there are classic cocktails as well as the very English Spiced Champagne Rhubarb, and Sour Marmalade Martini. Locally made Sipsmith vodka and gin are also featured; but if spirits don’t appeal there is a more than decent wine, of which we select the Picpoul de Pinet, a crisp, dry white wine that is appearing more and more on London’s wine lists this year.
It’s easy to see why The Mall Tavern is popular, they’ve struck the balance between fashionable pub and good hearty food. A meal for two with wine is around £80.
Leila reviewed The Mall Tavern on Mon 03 Sep 2012