The Leman Street Tavern, Aldgate
I have started branching out! Here is my first review for the Food & Booze section of The London Word. First published on their site on 7th April 2016. Hope you enjoy!
Geronimoooo! That well-loved bunch of Inns have added another sheep to their flock. Billed as a city pub for city people, based in Aldgate, the description is spot on. This isn’t a pub I can imagine being frequented by the nearby Brick Lane hipsters but does have the comfortable swank of a pub being enjoyed by suits. Fitted out with exposed concrete (that staple of east end cool), metal and glass, they’ve gone for a warm but contemporary feel. Neither full pub nor full bar, it lies somewhere in the middle, offering good quality British pub food with a pub-cum-cocktail-bar atmosphere and a bar staff that is well versed in cocktails.
You won’t find a cocktail list anywhere except in the bar staffs’ heads, which while impressive would have been better if they were more fully staffed. While not even at full capacity, the bar still seemed under the pump. As they reeled off the list of drinks, I found myself under pressure – the staff looking at me blankly waiting for a decision, the people either side of me jostled impatiently waiting to be served. Although it gave a more personal touch to the service, it’s not great for the indecisive. Luckily my bar tender named my favourite, so I ordered the Whisky Sour. Delicious.
Asking them for their non-alcoholic offering left them stumped. No inventive mock-tails here I’m afraid. Luckily that wasn’t for me, so the evening became an education on Vestal, a potato vodka, while my hoping-for-a-mock-tail-but-relegated-to-fruit-juice guest watched on. Hello Vestal new friend! A 0 calorie vodka smooth enough to shot. The health sell fell a little flat when chased with a lemon rolled in pure sugar but I was still sold! No post tequila slammer face here. And another please!
Getting peckish,I tried a few of the smaller dishes from the food offering. The spinach and artichoke tart was lovely. Flaky pastry with a creamy filling. The ox cheek croquet could have had more ox cheek in it and the chips we chunky, crispy and fluffy; although my preference is for skin-on. My ultimate food test for any pub however is based on one humble bar snack. The scotch egg: if you nail it, I’m yours. I will bow down to any establishment that serves me a superb scotch egg. It’s harder to find than you might think. Such a classic, but to make it perfect takes great care and it is easily over looked. If I find a pub with a cracking (no pun intended) scotch egg I trust the rest of their food will have been made with just as much care.
But before this becomes an ode to scotch eggs (oh how doth I compare you to a sunny side up day), how did The Leman Street Tavern’s match up? It was a good scotch egg. Crunchy crumb, soft meat and with a runny yolk. Hooray! But it was served cold – such a shame. Close but not quite. Which I think sums it up. The Leman Street Tavern missed a little of the warmth or uniqueness I want from a great pub. It is nothing I haven’t seen before. It’s a safe bet and a solid pub. It’s nice, it’s good. It’s all the words I was told were not adequate enough to use as a description as a writer. There is nothing really wrong with it, but I just can’t rave about it. It is most definitely a city pub for city workers and as such has hit it bang on and will make the workers in Aldgate towers very happy.
31 Leman Street,
Tel: 0203 437 0001