Us Londoners love a good ol’ gastropub, fact. Which is why we’re lucky our capital is awash with them, providing a dose of Victorian buildings, coveted Yorkshire puds and the odd cocker spaniel lying by the front door. Suckers for tradition, and fine dining of course, we’ve been on a mission to scout out the best of a very good bunch, to show you that you don’t always have to ravish at The Ritz to get a good supper. So, whether it’s sausages and mash tickling your fancy or a good old crème brûlée, these pit-stop pubs have got it all.
What: Camberwell Arms
Why: This dandy little pub was voted The Guardian’s number one spot for Sunday Lunch last year, so we’ve got a lot of faith that’s it’s not too bad on the Yorkshire puds and roasted spuds front. Found in the South of London, the Camberwell Arms is all about the simple things in life, offering food such as charcuterie, sausages, smoked fish, pickles, pasta, breads and ice cream all made in house.
Where: 65 Camberwell Church Street, Camberwell, SE5 8TR
What: The Garrison
Why: Those who’ve grown up in and around Bermondsey have probably grown up with The Garrison in tow. The 2003 founded pub has a simple intention, to serve great food with a smile. We’re pretty sure they’ve achieved this fine ethos, with delicious dishes in the form of poached organic salmon, confit duck leg, ale battered haddock and chips and dry aged Hereford ribeye on offer. For the brunchers not the lunchers amongst you, there’s also a bottomless brunch on offer, to make all of your Sunday dreams come true.
Where: 99 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XB
Princess of Shoreditch
What: Princess of Shoreditch
Why: The Princess of Shoreditch certainly is pub royalty, and almost poses the question “is this a pub?” upon sampling the food. A peruse on their website is quite the laugh as the bio reads: ‘Our ethos hasn’t changed a bit. To be the best pub in Shoreditch with the best food in Shoreditch and the best atmosphere in Shoreditch’. Quite the mission, but it seems they’re living up to their bold banking on being the best. The menu offers a vast amount of wine and a tasty lunch menu featuring pub favourites chicken pie, minute steak and more.
Where: 76-78 Paul Street, EC2A 4NE
The Thomas Cubitt
What: The Thomas Cubitt
Why: Belgravia is undeniably beautiful, and The Thomas Cubitt sure does replicate this, posing the question of whether a thatched roof, pint of ale and ‘ye olde’ signage are a thing of the past. The interior features tradition in the form of open fireplaces, wooden floors and a solid oak bar, and the menu all things British and seasonal.
Where: 44 Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, SW1W 9PA
The Duke of Richmond
What: The Duke of Richmond
Why: We’re at the ready to inform you of the reason why this charming little pub deserves a ‘Duke’ status. A Richmond staple, as the original gastropub, The Duke of Richmond champions pub grub in a traditional Victorian setting. On the menu are sharing plates in the form of bread boards and vegetarian platters, and lunch items free range chicken, or The Duke Burger… sounds ominous.
Where: 316 Queensbridge Road, E8 3NH
The Hero of Maida
What: The Hero of Maida
Why: Here’s a slice of tradition for you, set amongst a shabby chic, and delightfully alluring interior. The Hero of Maida (in Maida Vale, would you have guessed?) is named after their eponymous hero, Sir John Stuart, who can be seen in artworks across the pub. Inside the Victorian watering hole, visitors can have a munch on dishes that include grilled rabbit, mustard sauce and smoked bacon; rib eye steak, chips and bone marrow butter; or pan roast chicken, braised lettuce, morels and peas.
Where: 55 Shirland Road, W9 2JD
Why: Smokehouse in Islington offer a range of smoked and grilled food… the name gives it away a little, with an extensive beer list and wine sourced from small family-owned vineyards. The dining experience provides an intimate vibe, miles removed from customary pub expectations. The fish is delivered daily from Cornish markets, the meat changes weekly and fruit and veg arrive fresh from Natoora greengrocer. Suffice to say, Smokehouse pride themselves on great quality and fresh finds.
Where: Islington and Chiswick
What: Lady Ottoline
Why: Every lady needs a bit of Oo La La in her life, and this pub is covered in the stuff. Gone are the days when Betty’s hotpot sufficed in Corrie’s Rovers Return, now Lady Ottoline is proving that pubs can be oh so alluring. The Bloomsbury-based pub offers over 40 gins, craft beers and ever-changing food. Or, if you want to take things to the next level with Lady Ottoline, why not take The Morrell Room for private hire. Their website claims their Sunday roast is a must-try…we’ll let you be the judge.
Where: 11A Northington Street, WC1N 2JF
What: Jugged Hare
Why: The Jugged Hare pride themselves on being London’s leading game restaurant. The menu boasts a wide range of slightly alternative dishes to your haddock and chips traditional finds, including food such as venison rack, haggis mash and Suffolk venison pie of the day. The menu specifies all that is seasonal, so you’ll always be eating the most up-to-date of dishes. So, if you’re game for it…
Where: 49 Chiswell Street, EC1Y 4SA
The Fox and Pheasant
What: The Fox and Pheasant
Why: Having undergone a recent year-long refurb, The Fox and Pheasant have finally opened their doors again, tucked away in Chelsea. The name really rings out country vibe, which is wholly represented within. Head Chef Tony Bee trained under Gordon Ramsay, and keeps seasonality at the core of the menu, which features Monkfish cheek scampi and gluten-free sticky toffee pudding. Wash down the pub grub with drinks like Aperol Spritz, Bloody Marys and Espresso Martinis.
Where: The Fox and Pheasant, 1 Billing Rd Chelsea, SW10 9UJ