When you find a good gastropub that does it all, and does it all well, you want to hold on to that badboy. The Abbeville is a sweet spot - plenty of comfy seating inside, an actual open fire for toasting the old buns, some potent cocktails...it's all good. We were pleasantly surprised by the menu too - it was a slicker than a lot of other gastropubs we've been in. The sautéed forest mushrooms on toast with crispy egg and garlic sauce was lush, and they do a good range of pudding wines to polish things off. It's kid-friendly here too.
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A pub with a dart board seems to be a rare thing these days in London, let alone one in a gastropub. The Bobbin has this and more: board games, a tidy ale selection, beer garden and open fire...can you see why we like it so much? It's got more tricks up its smart little sleeve though - the menu has been given some Italian boosts, so it's got none of standard gastropub predictability. There's some amazing pappardelle with rabbit ragú, made with sage, red wine & parmesan, and even the pub burger uses mozzarella instead of cheddar. There's a sweet little conservatory too, which you don't see often.
The Lion & Unicorn
Instead of shlepping to the West End to see a show, how good would it be to just see one down your local? The Lion & Unicorn combines theatre and boozing in one tidy package that won't leave you broke and cursing Andrew Lloyd Webber. Downstairs it's a comfy gastropub with all the usual good grub and daily specials, and upstairs it's a small theatre run by the Giant Olive Theatre company. Culture and Carlsberg rolled into one.
The Lady Ottoline
This Lady has seen something of a mid-00s-style teen-movie makeover. After a sudden closure, it was bought by Market Taverns and given a swish revamp before it reopened its doors in 2018. Downstairs it's all elegant dark wood, with a sweet little fireplace that people fight over in the winter. The bar serves some quality ales and a tidy selection of cocktails if you're feeling fancy. They're also well-known in the neighbourhood for their extensive gin collection, which they update frequently with different varieties from independent UK distilleries. Upstairs is the restaurant area, which features an upmarket menu of seasonal dishes that elevate pub grub to a more dignified affair. We had a creamy burrata to start, followed by a buttery pork belly and mash, and rounded off with a rich chocolate nemesis paired with burnt orange and vanilla ice cream. Overall, a very decent pub dinner - just watch out for that bill. Their two-course set lunch for £16 or three-course for £20 should go down a treat for worker bees in the area, and we have it on good authority that their Sunday lunch is a banger.
The Jam Tree
*Unpublished 11.18* What do you do when your mouth feels like an old rug and the thought of food makes you shudder? Start tearing your way through this ridiculous 9-Bloody Mary cocktail menu. We dare you to try every single one.