The Phoenix SW1
REVIEWS, July 18, 2006
Overall Value
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
The Phoenix, 14 Palace St, London, SW1E 5JA

When you come out of Victoria Station you can’t miss a new monstrosity which looks rather like the nose of a huge French TGV. Like everything these days, however, it turns out that it is in fact a shopping mall. And really on quite a scale. At its heart you’ll find a Ha-Ha!, a Tasca, and all the usual suspects. Keep going, though, and, at the back, you will find this revamped boozer, which has been the cause of some press excitement. At last! A gastropub in Victoria’

What the scribblers don’t mention is that it’s part of the 14-strong Geronimo Inns conglomerate (and, in fact, the second ‘Phoenix’ in the group). Its interior demonstrates all the artful vacuity you might perhaps therefore expect: this is a real pub which has been decked out in New England shopping mall style.

Lunchtime – we frankly can’t imagine dining here – revolves around something called the 10 minute menu. Apart from salads and sandwiches, there are two £10, 3-course selections, which go by the hilariously dull names of ‘A’ and ‘B’. Granted, prices are modest, but the results are about as exciting as the names. Our lunch, all served together on a tray, went: pasta gratin (quite tasty, accompanied by OK spinach), salad (rather oily and overloaded with pine nuts) followed by ‘cheesecake’ (horrible).

But there is a real reason to visit this place – thank you for staying with us – and that’s the booze. Apart from an extensive range of beers and lagers, there is a good range of wines (including by the glass). In fact, if you push the boat out, the wine list has – relatively speaking – some real gems such as Louis Latour Meursault 2000 at £29 a bottle and Krug at, wait for it, a bargain £80. Who said Victoria was dull?

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