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Dec 13, 2011 07:10 AM

Good pub food in Central London

Is this a possibility anymore? Fish and chips, ploughman's kunch, shepards pie....

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. If there is a particular pub in the suburbs that is worth the tube ride, I would also be interested. Thanks so much.14 days till our trip and counting......

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  1. There's quite a few these days. In Central London, Great Queen St in Covent Garden is very good, or its sister pub Anchor and Hope in Waterloo.

    The Harwood Arms in Fulham could be worth a trip, depending on where you are staying, it calls itself a pub but is perhaps more of a very good restaurant in a pub setting. The Bull and Last in Highgate is also great; all do very good Sunday roasts.

    For pies, the Newman Arms in Fitzrovia is worth checking out, and its very central but gets busy.

    Although I say there a few good pubs around, there are more serving diabolical microwaved food so do ensure you do your homework first!

    4 Replies
    1. re: pj26

      You'd have a brilliant meal at any of the places pj suggests but I'm not sure they count as traditional pub food? More like modern British, and probably all the better for it.

      I think more of this sort of thing for pub food: but it's rarely done well, at least not in central London. I wish it were! My cravings for garlic mushrooms and scampi'n'chips often lead me astray.

      1. re: gembellina

        I had some pretty good fish and chips at the Bull and Last, along with their famous scotch egg, and I have had liver and bacon at the Anchor and Hope which is 'traditional'.

        Perhaps what I have suggested are better described as gastropubs, rather than traditional-type pubs. But as you say, the traditional may not be what you should aspire for!

        1. re: pj26

          Yes there's definitely the occasional option of something more traditional on the menus, and likely to be very well-executed.

          p.s. that link is in no way a recommendation, it was what came up when I googled "traditional pub food menu"!

      2. re: pj26

        If you fancy a day outside London, it's fairly easy to get to Maidenhead and then to Bray where Heston Blumenthal owns a very good gastropub called the Hinds Head. It's near Windsor and Eton - nice towns to do a bit of sightseeing. Cabs are easy to find.

        Fish and chips very good at The Golden Hind in Marylebone or Master's Superfish near the Anchor & Hope close to Waterloo.

      3. IMO, there's a world of difference between the well known gastropubs and "proper" pubs serving good food. The former are pretty much restaurants and not pubs - nobody's in there having half of mild and game of darts.

        The OP does right to ask for local knowledge of the latter as it's rare that places like that hit the limelight - but it's the sort of pub that most folk will eat in, rather than the gastros. I don't often visit the central area of the capital so havnt much to suggest - apart from the Coach & Horses on Bow Street which my notes from a couple of years back indicate was a decent lunch (ploughman's, good sandwiches, etc - tiny place was packed - we ate standing up like everyone else)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Harters

          I recall the Crown and Goose in Camden as being a pub with good traditional food - no darts tho! - but it's been a year or so since I worked in the area so maybe someone else can report from more recently?

        2. As pj26 said, the pies at Newman Arms are very good; and it probably doesn't fall into the "gastropub" category.

          1. Where are you staying please? I know you've said you'll travel, but no Ploughman's will ever be worth an hour each way on a smelly tube train.

            Anyway, tomorrow night I'm going for dinner at the excellent Star Tavern, which does good non-gastro pub food:


            Actually, I haven't been for over a year, so I hope it's still OK. I'll report back on Friday.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Robin Joy

              Star Tavern report.

              Last night was very busy and brutally noisy early on, and our foursome was lucky to get a table, but all good places are busy in mid December. Quieter by about 9 o'clock. Excellent London Pride beer and OK wine below £30 a bottle. Meat pies and fish & chips were ordered, and at less than £10 they were fine. Good chips. Emphatically not a Gastro-Pub, but bought-in (my guess) food perfect for hungry customers.

            2. Hi, I found the Somers Town Coffee House the other day - it's up an unprepossessing road round the back of St Pancras, but it's a wonderful spot. Calm, clean, very friendly. The new management have only been in a few weeks, but all seemed to be working pretty well.

              They call their food 'British tapas', but it's just smaller versions of the classics, really - ploughmans, stews, fish & chips. I had some good devilled whitebait and a very generous portion of beef shin stew, both about a fiver each... very reasonable.

              NB it's many rungs below Great Queen St, A&H etc, but it does fit the 'pub food' bill.. .