"Honest wines and food in the heart of tourist London"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
The Bedford and Strand’s location between Covent Garden and the Strand mean it’s ideal for after work drinkers. Special attention has been paid to the wine list, which features an extensive array, all available by the glass, carafe or bottle. The wines are divided into amusing categories: starting with reliable, moving up to honest, decent, good and finally staff picks. They remain inexpensive however, as our 2006 Rey Don Garcia Crianza Rioja was only £25.
I am told by the manager that as much emphasis is placed on the food menu as the wine list, and a quick peruse reveals duck terrine and Bayonne ham with remoulade, as well as pies and pork chops. An interesting mix of British trad and Continental. They also, curiously, have a deli counter.
To start, we chose from the many fish dishes on the menu; a salad with scallops, capers, sliced apple and lettuce, with a lemon dressing was my healthy choice. The scallops were cooked just right, and the combination of apple, lemon and capers was a surprisingly delicious one. My friend’s potted crab was rich and creamy, and a rather large portion for her slices of toasted French bread - I was happy to help her finish it however.
With rain and chilling winds beckoning outside I decided to go for a hearty chicken pie for my main. A thin layer of pastry revealed underneath a tasty stew of chicken, mushrooms and carrots. A perfect dish for winter when something filling is required, especially with a plate of mash sprinkled with parsley. My dining companion was delighted with her smoked haddock fish cakes topped with a light layer of rich cream and parsley sauce, and accompanied by green beans.
Utterly stuffed, we shared a pear tart with prune d’Armagnac ice cream. The pastry was soft and drizzled with plenty of moreish syrup, whilst the flavoured ice cream was a perfect match. Whilst we sipped our post-dinner teas to aid digestion, we remarked on the sleek interior. Its discreet entrance and elegant use of dark wood set it apart from fellow pubs, and a partition between the bar and dining area is a nice touch.
The Bedford and Strand is more of a gastropub than the touristy spots that surround it, and punters are mostly suits popping in after work. All the staff that served us were decidedly friendly too, which always leaves a sweet taste, as well as the fact that a three course meal for two with wine comes to roughly £70. Very pleasing indeed.
Leila reviewed Bedford & Strand on Tue 23 Feb 2010