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The Londoner’s Guide to Gastropubs

Words: Mallory Legg

The gastropub: ‘a pub, bar or tavern that offers meals of high quality’. And who does pubs, bars or taverns better than the city of London? In our opinion, no one. The key to an outstanding gastropub lies in an ambience and aesthetic that matches the comfort and unstuffiness of a pub whilst maintaining a commitment to serving high-quality gourmet dishes. Combine this with a nicely poured pint or the simple gift of a cocktail and it is simply unmatched. The gastropub’s presence in London has long been established, but there is a constant influx of newcomers, and with such a competitive culinary environment it can be tricky to know where to start, so here is the Londoner's guide to the city's newest and best Gastropubs.

The Cow, Westbourne Park

The Cow, Westbourne Park

Photos (Left to Right): Tatler/The Cow/The Cow

Since 1995, The Cow on Westbourne Park has been a comforting oasis for students, celebrities, dogs, cats, and eccentric regulars alike acting as a quintessential British gastropub. The murals by Paul Slater, in the saloon, establish a sense of humorous mischief that coincides with The Cow's environment. This little enclave off the street has the power to make the pairing of Guinness and Oysters taste so right, who would have thought? If you do not fancy a beer, then substitute it for a Pint of Prawns, and whilst they may not give you the same buzz, I can assure you will not be disappointed, as freshness and flavor are paramount here. The Cow ticks all the boxes that would make it one of the best and most evident examples of the gastropub framework: comfort, memorability, and depth of flavor.

The Cow

Hicce Hart, Angel

Hicce Hart, Angel

Photos (Left to Right): Clerkenwell Boy

If Hicce was not enough on its own, the adoption of a pub, now named Hicce Hart, will definitely do just fine for the London crowd. Step inside the glazed brick exteriors to find a dimly lit, intimate restaurant that provides a haven for gastronomes to indulge. Walk to the bar and ask for a negroni, watch in pure awe as it pours out of the bar tap. Sit down, order the Beef Cheek, the Pork Chop with Remoulade and Hazelnuts or maybe even a roast made over a wood fire on Sundays. Wash it down with a Hicce IPA personally crafted by The Goodness Brewery Co or perhaps opt for a biodynamic, sustainable wine. Just thank your lucky stars that Hicce chose Charlotte Harris, a top-grade chef, to lead her predominately female team to create this establishment, this haven, that is Hicce Hart.

Hicce Hart

The Audley and Mount St Restaurant, Mayfair

The Audley and Mount St Restaurant, Marble Arch/Hyde Park Corner

Photos (Left to Right): The Audley

The Audley Public House is a gastropub that does not stand out simply because of its beef and ale pie or small but intentional menu, constructing classic British plates with seasonal produce sourced from around the UK. No, The Audley stands out because it is not just a gastropub, it is an intersection of history and art wrapped up in the beautiful bow that stands on the corner of South Audley and Mount Street. Sitting at the bar sipping your Sambrooks Brewery beer which the bartender kindly informs you is The Audley’s independent supplier and one of the oldest brewers in London, you might find your eyes wandering. Gazing up, you see that you have been drinking under a Phyllida Barlow mosaic made of shards of reds, pinks, and purples that span the entire ceiling. But the wonder at The Audley does not stop there. The Victorian building has been transformed for restoration purposes to remain true to the interiors and exterior of what has stood on this corner since 1888 - a pub designed by Thomas Verity, the same architect who designed the facade of the pavilion at Lords Cricket Ground. If that was not enough for you, then make sure to visit the Mount St. Restaurant upstairs, where the menu is expertly curated for every meal and where the rooms are adorned in original Picasso's, Freud's and Hockney's. The Audley, put simply, is a landmark, it is a showstopper.

The Audley and Mount St Restaurant

The Holland, Kensington (Olympia)

The Holland, Kensington (Olympia)

Photos (Left to Right): The Holland

If you are looking for a place where the extravagance is put aside and what you have left is a full plate, a drink chosen from an extensive list of wines, beers or cocktails, and a welcoming place to halt your day for a moment, then The Holland is for you. I will pre-warn you though the menu is simply impossible to choose from. How could you choose between Roast Squash Spelt Risotto and Pastrami Cured Salmon, Beetroot And Horseradish Creme Fraiche? How could you not order a kilogram Rib of Beef? Washed down with a glass of Romanian orange wine or South African Shiraz… why leave? And just to seal the deal, the simple glass of water in front of you is sourced by Belum and 50% of each of those sales goes to support Belu, whose profits go directly to WaterAid. It is only right to sit down, if only just for a glass of water, at The Holland.

The Holland

Ino Gastrobar, Oxford Circus

Ino Gastrobar, Oxford Circus

Photos (Left to Right): Ino Gastrobar Instagram/Ino Gastrobar Website/Ino Gastrobar Website

Looking for a gastropub that does not conform to the London standard of British staple dishes? Well, I think we have found the best Greek gastro(bar) in the city. INO Gastrobar showcases the Greek culinary tradition of charcoal cooking, using ingredients from Greece and sourced from farms around the world. It is unique, idiosyncratic and distinct. Treat yourself with Pitta Bread slathered in Taramasalata finished with a runny egg yolk, Octopus Tacos, or a Wagyu Picanha Steak topped with Cranberry sauce and Celeriac puree. Coupled with a Honey Old Fashioned or glass of Greek wine, nothing is better than a warmly lit, deliciously decadent, Greek holiday at INO.

Ino Gastrobar

The Tamil Prince, Caledonian Road & Barnsbury/Highbury and Islington

The Tamil Prince, Caledonian Road & Barnsbury/Highbury and Islington

Photos (Left to Right): The Tamil Prince

Craving a curry during this cold holiday season? Escape to The Tamil Prince in Islington and indulge in some of the best Indian pub food that London has to offer. Ordering the Channa Bhatura is a must: the pillow of dough smothered in chickpea curry is what will make you want the wintery weather freeze to continue, just so you can continue craving the warm comforts of this dish. Alternatively, settle for some Okra Fries washed down with one of the many British or Indian beers that The Tamil Prince has to offer. Or just stop by to warm the soul with one of their many cocktails that feature Indian spices and herbs. Simply stated, The Tamil Prince is a pub that features some of the best dishes to be craving on the freezing temps of this winter, helping to whisk you away to warmer climes with their supreme South Indian depth of flavor.

The Tamil Prince

The Princess Royal, Royal Oak/Bayswater