Harden's survey result
“It feels as if one has been decanted into the 1920s but I never fail to enjoy my visits!” – “This unique City institution has a charm and authenticity that can’t be imitated” – a “joyous throwback” (founded, on a different site, in 1830) which offers “simple, well-executed British seafood classics” (followed by steamed puddings) at lunchtimes only, to a largely besuited crowd. The “eclectic seating arrangements” can “be a surprise to newbies” – you either perch at “makeshift bar-tops”, or cram into the rear dining room where “service is hindered by the lack of room, but everyone mucks in and plates get passed around”. “The waiters are nearly as old as the building, but that just adds to its appeal…”. “Black Velvet is served in pewter tankards, and a ‘bill of fare’ serves instead of a menu”. The experience comes at “ridiculous prices”, but most reckon they’re worth paying… “and the place does now take cards”.
“A throwback to 100 years ago” – this “unique”, “magnificently unchanged” Victorian relic is “an old school experience of the best sort” and a revered haunt for its pinstriped clientele, attracted by “some of the finest fish and seafood”. “Sitting at the bar is lovely and you get great attention from the waiting staff”, or sit down at the back to a full meal of “black velvet in a tankard, followed by oysters and then lovely fish (perfectly cooked), with splendid jam sponge”. That prices are slightly “outrageous” has always been part of the package. Except for private parties, it’s always been a weekday lunch-only venue, but in September 2018, they seem to be experimenting with the odd evening service.
For “old school cooking in a traditional setting” few London restaurants can genuinely live up to this “unfailingly beguiling” Victorian time warp, which has served “expensive but gorgeous” fish and seafood, English puds, tankards of beer and exclusively French wines to pinstriped City gents for more than a century. “I take all my most important clients here – it’s a treat!”
“Untrammelled by fads and fashion” – this “quirky old restaurant, with its cramped tables and bar seating” has been an “unchanging staple” of City life since Victorian times. “Fun but fearsomely expensive”, you get “great fish done the old-fashioned way” (“ie nothing is overly mucked around with”) and alongside wines and champagnes, “Black Velvet in tankards” is another tradition. Arrive early if you want a seat.
|Wine per bottle||£35.50|
39 Queen Victoria St, London, EC4N 4SA
|Monday||11:30 am‑3 pm|
|Tuesday||11:30 am‑3 pm|
|Wednesday||11:30 am‑3 pm|
|Thursday||11:30 am‑3 pm|
|Friday||11:30 am‑3 pm|