Tom Lamont reviews
Wednesday, September 09, 2009 - Occupying an imposing corner on Ladbroke Grove, with lots of space and passing traffic, in its former incarnation the Elgin was gloomy. Refurbishment has done wonders...Food is good and not too dear (thick ham with giant duck eggs - 9; chunky homemade cheese burgers - 10.50), but you might want to opt for one of the fist-sized pies or Scotch eggs, displayed under a glass dish cover on the bar counter, while you muse on one of the array of free newspapers.
Union Square (The O2) - 3/5
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - It isn't subtle. The walls of the downstairs bar and upstairs dining room are crammed with art depicting scenes of the rural American west...Rich food includes New York strip steak and above-average hamburgers, costly at 26 and 14 respectively. But the impressively massive wine list has 30 bottles of each colour, including a page dedicated to American offerings, and about a quarter are available by the glass. It's garish, a little brash, but Union Square currently stands as the best option for a drink in The O2.
Thursday, August 13, 2009 - Downstairs, away from the live music, a (red) 'green room' has a pool table and old-fashioned jukebox. At the top, a third space, Mook's Bourbon Bar, serves up 80 varieties of the spirit. The house cocktail is a vivid green Charlotte mint julep, given extra zing with a generous squeeze of fresh lime. Food is US-style, with 'sliders' (aka bar snacks) including rich-looking crab rolls and popcorn chicken. Budweiser is on tap to wash it all down. An interesting extra, the 'gospel brunch' on Sundays, offers a buffet of pancakes accompanied by a live gospel band.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - This one will divide opinion. A beer and cocktails joint in Islington that looks like a remaindered furniture shop? The bottled beer selection is one of the most varied in London, boasting everything from light Vietnamese to a strong Scots brew infused with whisky, each listed with a suggested chaser…Sat at one of the huge tables I have to admit I was disappointed by the bar snacks – sliced meats (£7.20) or figs with prosciutto (£4), fresh enough but prepared without flair or proper seasoning… The drapes and candles will be too much for some – normally they would be for me – but I’m won over by Public House’s easy charm.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - Hidden on a cobbled backstreet off Gloucester Place, the S&E is easily the most attractive opener of the year. The ground-floor bar, tiny and with space for just three tables, is fascinating – rimmed by banquettes with cushions stitched from tweed, and a bar counter made from piled-up paperbacks… The Swan & Edgar offers real ale, wine, and what the owners are calling “serves”: ultra-simple cocktails made with just one or two ingredients. So far, so impressive. Then the food arrived…
Wednesday, April 08, 2009 - A relaxed and calming space, it’s open-plan around a C-shaped bar with cream tiled walls, sharply colourful sofas and a bank of dining booths in vivid royal blue…Food is a strength. Mains look appetising (venison pot roast, chicken and cep pie), but I followed a chalk board (“It’s all about the small plates, baby”) and ¬ordered from the bar snacks: rich feta with oily peas, crayfish in spiced mayo, smoked duck breast with chutney and pickled artichokes, all on a wooden platter at £10.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009 - A Scottish fillet was fab, both to look at (charred on the outside but oozing red within) and to taste…The chandeliers probably prevent this from being my own personal Avalon, but it’s a very impressive new venue from owners who already run great London gastros, such as The Bolingbroke and Abbeville. For locals, it’s a fine addition. For steak lovers elsewhere, it’s worth a pilgrimage to SW12.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008 - Certainly, there are already wine bars that serve snack platters of Italian charcuterie...but Southwark wine den Viva Verdi arrives claiming to be the capital's first dedicated prosciutto bar, and the claim is probably accurate: nowhere else is the heaven-sent marriage of rich prosciutto and strong red wine made a restaurant's complete focus.