The Mall Tavern, London W8, Restaurant Review

The Mall Tavern – Restaurant Review

The Mall Tavern
71 -73 Palace Gardens Terrace
London W8 4RU
Tel: 020 7229 3374

Louise Elgin Reviews:

Over the past ten years there is hardly a public house left in central London that hasn’t been transformed from traditional boozer to gentrified gastro pub. The Mall Tavern in Notting Hill Gate is Andy and Jonathan Perritt’s latest addition to their expanding empire, having already had success with their first two ventures, The Stag in Hampstead’s South End Green, and The Regent, just north of Ladbroke Grove in NW10.

There is a general theme that runs throughout all their venues which is one of a laid back, chilled out and easy going vibe. They are definitely somewhere to relax, have a drink and meet friends, whilst listening to music which is played fairly loudly. The Mall Tavern’s interior is spacious and uncluttered, with a dark wood central bar dominating the room. Reclaimed Victorian tables and chairs are paired with an original wooden floor and comfy Italian leather banquette seating. There are attractive chandeliers throughout both rooms, as well as large mirrors and potted plants. In the dining area there are two dresser-style cabinets full of antiquarian knick-knacks collected by the owners who are both antique enthusiasts. Chef Jesse Dunford Wood, who trained under Rowley Leigh at Kensington Place, has taken over the kitchen with his enthusiasm and passion for British cooking. The daily changing menu concentrates on good, hearty, honest British grub, the sort of food we grew up with, yet these days seems harder to find unless you cook it yourself. If you are a fan of traditional ales there is a range that includes Madonna’s favourite tipple, Timothy Taylors, as well as the wonderfully named Old Hooky and Black Sheep. I stuck with a crisp Italian white wine, Trebbiano/Garganega, which at £3.80 a small glass seemed a relative snip and perfect for a summer’s evenings drinking.

The menu commenced with a list of starters and nibbles under the heading of ‘Great British Bar Snacks’. This included a simple but delicious sounding plate of pork crackling with bramley apple sauce priced at a modest £2.00. We began with a healthy alternative to the potato crisp. A delightful bowl of English peas in their pods, each mouthful a refreshing crunch of goodness. We also tried some piquant and well flavoured potted mackerel pate (smoked on the premises) served with crisp toast and paired with a refreshing glass of Chilean chardonnay. My starter was a colourful and artistic plate of yellow and red tomatoes of different shapes, textures and flavours, accompanied with slithers of tangy Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, watercress and red onion shards with a tangy vinaigrette.

To follow, I had a plate of suckling pig, which arrived in two large hunks. It was artistically presented on a wooden platter with a generous helping of apple sauce, fried potatoes and a green salad. A grilled sirloin steak with mustard and horseradish butters proved slightly disappointing as it was rather under-done and hard to cut through. With this we had some very fresh and al dente seasonal vegetables, a plate of quintessentially English spring greens and runner beans. To drink we chose a bottle of pungent nosed and earthy Spanish Rioja, reasonably priced at £23.50.

To round things off there were a couple of items on the pudding menu that were unusual including ‘Arctic roll’ which is a flashback of my childhood and definitely dates me! As well as English strawberry and cream and W12 Elderflower jelly. We finished with a selection of English Farmhouse cheeses with homemade biscuits, these included Wookey Hole Cheddar, Wigmore and Wensleydale Blue.

There is a gorgeous garden at the back which is perfect for those hot summer nights ahead when only dining al fresco will do. As for the footy fans amongst you, (yawn!) The Mall Tavern will be showing all the important World Cup games in the front bar and the others in the private room upstairs. Meanwhile the rest of the place will be a football-free zone, so hopefully that will please everyone.

Louise Elgin. June 2010.
A three-course meal for two with a bottle of wine is around £40 a head.

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