"It's not much but it's ours"

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Great Queen Street

Tell all your buddies That it ain't no drag

Sometimes restaurants lose sight of their raison d’etre and in case you’ve forgotten this is to feed, to entertain, in short, to give the patrons a jolly good time. I realised this during DH’s recent visit to Padstow. The gulf between the dismal No. 6 and the sprightly and enjoyable Margot’s was palpable. Places where the emphasis is on giving the punters a good time (dearie) are becoming more prevalent though and the latest amongst them, Great Queen Street, is the offspring of the Eagle, Anchor and Hope and last but by no means least The Fox.

I’d had the heads up about the joint a month or two ago but everything had gone quiet, then all of a sudden there’d been reviews in a London free sheet and then Fay “I’d attend the opening of a envelope” Maschler had been there twice. Time for DH to move in.

Great Queen Street is situated, somewhat incongruously (for a gastropub) in Covent Garden. The incongruity lies in the fact that in an area where the majority of restaurants pin their flag unashamedly to the pole of mediocrity this place stands out like a…well a Welsh Bengali at a BNP Rally. The design is firmly in the mould of Eagle/A&H type gastropubs with plenty of stripped wood and dim lighting to go around. There’s also a longish bar where you can get the full menu.

With an appetite made keen by a well made DM at the Renaissance Chancery Court I did the only thing I could and went for double starters. Cured Gurnard with leeks and aioli read better than it looked or tasted. The taste of the fish was killed by a heavy hand on the salt shaker and the aioli was non-existent. Much better was the smoked eel which came in the generous form of two large fillets. The Cucumber accompaniment was lightly and sympathetically pickled.

The Ox Heart with Beetroot and Horseradish was one of those dishes where you wonder why it isn’t on every British menu. Tender, meaty, subtly Offaly, it had been cooked with care. The cubed beetroot with horseradish provided the necessary counterpoint. Chips cooked in duck-fat didn’t taste like it and had a slightly tough skin but were tasty nonetheless. The pud list is a bit small and it didn’t have HP favourite: helado. Luckily a special of Muscat crème brulee proved a suitable substitute.

Despite being pretty full, two or three staff managed to keep the service rolling along and indulge my endless questions about the restaurant’s origins. As an antidote to the overpriced and the pretentious Great Queen Street deserves to succeed and provides the only sensible option in this neck of the woods.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The gulf between the dismal No. 6 and the sprightly and enjoyable Margot’s was palpable"

Dismal beacause you couldnt take photos?

Yet here you take an out of focus snap of a menu & a bowl of chips!

Well done

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 7:44:00 am  
Blogger Gavin said...

Is this the space that, back in the day, was the decadent drinking den Zanzibar? Ah, happy (lack of) memories.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 8:58:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, I think this where "The RamPage" used to be? It was a pub run mostly by Australian staff which served slightly Thai-like food. It wasn't brilliant, but it was two minutes walk from work so was convenient.

I shall certainly be trying Great Queen Street soon, it sounds really good. Although our office is moving to the wilds of Hammersmith in three weeks so it won't be that convenient for very long.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 10:14:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

>>Well done<<

Thanks. But to be honest it was HS who was upset by the moratorium on the photos. I don't care one way or another (see my visits to St Albans and Scotts where I had a good time despite the lack of photo opportunities).

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 6:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went there today for lunch. It is indeed what used to be The RamPage and still looks rather similar inside. The tables and chairs are exactly the same as they were before. However, instead of the walls being dark blue and adorned with amateur impressions of such paintings as The Rape of the Sabine Women and The Charge of the Light Brigade, they are now burgundy. And the wine bottle display behind the bar has changed.

Food was really good. I had pot-roast chicken with peas and morels which was brilliant. Starter of "crab on toast" was less brilliant but still good.

Thursday, May 03, 2007 2:30:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Point taken.

Presentation is important but so is the quality of the food. I can see Nr6s point & understand your disappointment as to the quality that evening however as a totally unbiased individual I think you caught them on an off night.

In my opinion Nr6 is by far the best eatery in the area and trust partially living there we have eaten at them all.

Thursday, May 03, 2007 3:16:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

HP is usually less pissed off than I am about being told not to take pictures but, I can usually put up with it if the food is great.

Unfortunately, it just wasn't at N6 on our visit although, I am fully able to believe it is capable of much better


Thursday, May 03, 2007 10:55:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

I'm still unsure (and suspicious) why somewhere 4 hours away from London would want to ape its Restaurants and its mores. They're missing a great opportunity. See Le Champignon Sauvage: great cooking you won't get anywhere in the capital...and you can snap away to your hearts content.

Thursday, May 03, 2007 11:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


the world does not begin & end in London.

The other citizens of this great Isle are entitled to eat quality food also!

Monday, May 07, 2007 3:27:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

I would not argue with that, and indeed, I often find that high end restaurants outside London offer better value and less cynicism than their London counterparts ( see recent post on Le poussin

however, Number six was not one of them for all the reasons we stated


Monday, May 07, 2007 10:35:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...


I think you may have misinterpreted my last post.

I was trying to say that there is so much great food to be had *outside* London (as I am beginning to discover) that I wonder why any restaurant would try and replicate a high end 'London-style' restaurant over 250 miles away.

My suspicions are they are either trying to ape London restaurants, for some misguided reason OR they are catering for a London clientele. I haven't decided which it is yet.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 5:23:00 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Go to Great Queen Street - I work there and its FABULOUS!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 3:52:00 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for your suggestion for us to try lunch there. We went yesterday, and it lived up to expectations... very good service as we were there early and the menu was just right - all choices cooked nicely and a light, strawberry trifle ended the meal on a summery note. It was just a block from the Peacock Theatre.. perfect choice!!!

June aka zuriga

Sunday, June 03, 2007 6:39:00 am  
Blogger Chris Pople said...

Second that - had a great meal here recently. Nicely British style too. You can see what else I had to say about it by clicking on my name above.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007 4:16:00 pm  

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