What? Craft beer and pizza. And a few games thrown in – think giant Jenga, draughts and sliders played by a youngish suit-wearing crowd, fresh from the office… well, maybe a few hours of beer drinking in.
New? Tank and Paddle opened back in November, just in time for swarms of Christmas drinkers. Things have now calmed down a bit so we headed along on Friday night to try it out.
Where? Minster Court, 3 Mincing Lane, EC3R 7AA www.tankandpaddle.co.uk
On the Menu: Whilst it’s all about the pizzas here, there is a section dedicated to mac ‘n’ cheese, salads and ‘dough’ (garlic sticks and Nutella dough balls). Pizzas are undoubtedly the star of the show, arriving at the table on impressive wooden boards – paddles – in regular or sharing sizes. That’s the paddle but what about the tank? Served fresh from the tanks, Meantime Brewery Fresh is ‘the freshest beer you can drink’, but if you prefer your brew in a can or a bottle then they have your back there too. Seasonal specials rotate constantly and guest beers on tap change each week. Everything is also really reasonable – a regular pizza is about £7 with a large just £13. And trust me, they are huge.
First Impressions: Quite hard to find, we had to ask a couple of bouncers at a nearby club where we were going – pretty obvious at this point we don’t work in the city. Once located through a fairly quiet courtyard/shopping centre/office block the place was packed – people clearly don’t scarper as quickly as I thought on a Friday night. Again, lack of pinstripes on our part made us the odd ones out but it didn’t matter, everyone was engrossed in their own fun.
The Look: The space is large, with a raised area to the left as you walk in mainly for eating. A group were playing on a huge shuffle board to the right, with a particularly tense game of Jenga nearing its finish at a big table in the centre. We were sat just nearby at a tan leather banquette; perfect to watch the Jenga action unfold. The overall look is quite industrial, with lots of stained wood and leather seating and some interesting lights perfectly ‘dimmed’ for a Friday night. The music was really good too – loud enough to notice, but not so much that you would rather be in a club.
What We Ate: Food is ordered at the bar and brought over to your table – it’s informal and just what you want for somewhere like this that gets quite busy or has you so engrossed in your Jenga that you don’t want to be interrupted by a waiter constantly. We went for two regular pizzas; a Billy Goat’s Stuffed with goat’s cheese, spinach and red onion chutney and a Holy Smokes; pulled chicken, smoked bacon and BBQ sauce. Not the 3 foot sharer size that we could’ve gone for (and that proved popular amongst big groups) but still big and we polished them off nonetheless. A chicken Caesar salad was equally epic in scale – it could’ve easily been a main in its own right – and the chicken breast, crucially, was perfectly cooked. Our toppings sat on thin dough and we could see them being made to order at the pizza oven over in the corner. The food was really good and just what you’d fancy a few pints in when you realise your stomach probably needs lining if things are going to escalate further. Let’s face it, you’ve come this far so it probably will…
What We Drank: It was a Meantime Pale Ale for me and a Brewdog Dead Pony Club for my guest – solid choices and light enough to accompany the food. If beer isn’t your thing it’s not the end of the world; wines, bubbles and cocktails are also available.
Go With: Your team after your Friday afternoon meeting is over.
Final Word: Informal and fun, Tank and Paddle is a great addition to the city where the number of fine dining restaurants seems to grow by the day. Yes, there are plenty of pubs, but this fits a gap somewhere in between bar and pub for when you want a little more than standing on the street with your pint, but loud music and rounds of Jägerbombs seem a little premature…