There’s something innately British about the pub experience, from the local cask ales by pump to the classic grub you’re served up. But if you’re looking to impress your in-laws or a date with somewhere fancy, it traditionally isn’t the most upmarket place to head. Until now that is, as pubs are levelling up their offering and serving up some of the best restaurant-quality food around.
Read on to find out where London’s poshest pubs lie, from the new establishment from ex-Dabbous chef Rob Tecwyn to the capital’s first Michelin starred pub.
The Harwood Arms
London’s only pub to be awarded a Michelin star, The Harwood Arms is the brainchild of chef Brett Graham of The Ledbury, restaurateur Mike Robinson and Edwin Vaux of Vaux Brewery.
Located in Fulham, you’ll find head chef Jake Leach, previously at Claridge’s Fera and head chef at The Ledbury, at the helm serving up the best of British produce, focusing on game and wild food.
The menu is made up of an à la carte and a set-price offering, as well as classic Sunday roasts on the weekend. Regularly changing, expect dishes like Sladesdown farm duck with turnip, naked oats and rapeseed; sea bream tartare; and slow cooked lamb shoulder with truffled potato butter, roscoff onion and broccoli.
The Camberwell Arms
Brought to you by the team behind Frank’s and Mike’s, The Camberwell Arms is the neighbourhood restaurant tucked inside a 19th century pub. Offering informal service and seasonal, produce-first dishes, it’s the perfect place to head for a mid-week lunch or epic Sunday lunch.
The interiors are simple and unfussy, with the restaurant really coming into its own through the food. Menu highlights include fried mullet with vesuvio tomato and anchovy; grilled mackerel with San Marzano tomatoes and butter beans; and Old Spot pork chop with fried potatoes, cicoria and aioli to share.
The Tamil Prince
A brand new pub has landed in Islington, bringing Londoners a taste of South Asian cuisine. It’s been brought to life from ex-Roti King chef, Prince Durairaj who has created a menu centred around the speciality dishes he grew up enjoying in Tamil Nadu, Southern India.
Expect a mix of small and large plates, sides and Indian desserts inspired by his upbringing. You can look forward to tucking into small plates of okra fries; potato chaat; crab soup; dal makhani; and pulled beef uttapam. As well as larger plates of lamb chops; giant grilled tiger prawns; butter chicken masala; and channa bhatura, all paired alongside roti and coconut rice.
Seal the experience with a mango lassi for pud – delicious.
Another new Islington destination, The Baring is the work of Adam Symonds and Rob Tecwyn, ex-head chef of Dabbous and The Henrietta Hotel. Taking over the Islington establishment, it will promote humble ingredients and seasonal produce, with sustainability playing a big role in their output.
The menu will feature the likes of bar snacks, starters, mains and desserts. Expect smoked eel and pig’s head terrine with horseradish and daikon; roast gurnard with roscoff onion and taramasalata; ricotta gnudi with broad beans and nasturtium; and warm almond cake served with chantilly cream.
The Guinea Grill
A Mayfair institution, The Guinea has been serving up the best of British beef since opening in 1952.
With two locations – one just behind the pub and the other at number 23 – the food menu features a range of classic British dishes, from pimped up prawn cocktail to devilled kidneys or sweetbreads on toast; beef, oyster and horseradish pie to prime fillet of steaks and more.
30 Bruton Place, Mayfair, W1J 6NL
The Princess of Shoreditch
Situated on the City/Shoreditch border, The Princess of Shoreditch is headed by Ruth Hansom. The first female winner of Young National Chef of the Year, she’s quickly becoming one of the UK’s most talented chefs and just one peek at the menu at The Princess and it’s easy to see why.
A traditional pub at heart, the menu has been elevated to focus on British provenance, with the menu changing with the seasons.
In the upstairs dining room expect a 5- or 8-course menu, featuring the likes of Prince squash and goat’s curd ravioli; Swaledale lamb with courgette flower, broad bean and grelotte onion; and Kentish strawberry with buttermilk, sorrel and buckwheat. While downstairs at the bar, expect a more relaxed atmosphere with equally as exciting dishes as upstairs.
Great Portland Street’s The George has been given a reinvention. The second pub from the JKS Group, the team behind the likes of Gymkhana and the two-starred Kitchen Table, this pub-turned-restaurant offers the best of both worlds.
Downstairs expect a traditional pub setting serving up cask ales, craft beers, pub fare and live sport. While Upstairs at the George is its own thing featuring timeless pub classics and seasonal dishes from James Knappett.
Check out our full review here for the full low-down.
Another Islington joint, the Smokehouse is famed for its smoked and grilled dishes. A traditional pub with contemporary elements, the menu reflects their modern flare offering a new take on British classics.
Think smoked bone marrow with pickled shallots and sourdough; and smoked poached egg with smoked ratatouille and sun dried tomato oil to start, and smoked rare breed pork ribeye with lyonnaise potatoes and caper vinaigrette; and half smoked beer-brined chicken with wild garlic pesto and lemon dressing for mains. Finish the meal with a classic sticky toffee pud and vanilla ice cream.
63-69 Canonbury Road, Islington, N1 2DG
Rewriting the rules of what a classic British pub should be, The Eagle is Farringdon’s hidden little secret.
Expect the best of the pub experience – think chalkboards lined with the daily specials, beer on draft and beaten up antique furniture – but taken up a notch. The food is where they really come into their own, offering a daily changing menu.
159 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3AL
The Cadogan Arms
Chelsea’s Cadogan Arms finally reopened its doors in 2021 and we’re so glad it did. It’s been restored to its former glory, offering delicious fare centred around provenance, seasonality and traceability.
Expect traditional pub classics elevated to the nines, from ham, egg and chips with spiced pineapple ketchup to beer battered fish and chips with tartare sauce, mushy peas and lemon. Their individual strawberry sherry trifle topped with almond crumble is an order staple.
View this post on Instagram
298 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UG
View this post on Instagram
Lady Abercorn’s Pub & Kitchen
Hidden inside Andaz London, Lady Abercorn’s Pub & Kitchen is a destination for the curious. It’s interiors and food nods to an iconic sassy and caring landlady from the neighbourhood and its menu is inspired by her travels from across the globe. Expect local craft beers, fruity IPAs and traditional pub grub, including a great Sunday roast.
Andaz London, 40 Liverpool Street, EC2M 7QN