One of my favourite things about living in London is its rich history. I love the fact that the barbershop down the road from my house is over 100 years old, or that the fact that I work by a 17th century galleried coaching inn, almost directly under the Shard.
So when the team behind The Ship Tavern asked me to drop by, I was intrigued. Tucked away in an alleyway behind the chaos of Holborn station, The Ship Tavern is a 16th century pub filled with a rich and vibrant history. It was used to shelter Catholic priests at the height of the reformation, and was also a masonic lodge at one point, too!
Our important business took place in their upstairs dining room, where we got to sample some of their Valentine’s Day menu.
Although it was my first visit to The Ship Tavern, it wasn’t my boyfriend’s, who had actually arranged a welcome lunch there previously for colleagues who had just moved to the UK. I think it’s a brilliant choice for taking tourists, or people from out of town. It’s steeped in rich history, and the oak panelled room and decor means you can get the full pub experience without compromising on ambience or the quality of the food.
We kicked the meal off with two starters – the scallops with rabbit and the deep-fried soft shell crab served with caviar. I preferred the former – the scallops were beautifully done, and the rabbit was such an unusual addition, and was really delicious. This was actually the first time I had soft shell crab dish that wasn’t tempura, and while I enjoyed the combination of flavours with the caviar, I missed the light crispiness of the Japanese batter.
My boyfriend went for the Beef Wellington, which came with truffle mash and kale in a red wine jus. The truffle mash was incredible – the portions were extremely generous. It was the ultimate comfort food dish for someone nursing a particularly brutal hangover!
I went for the venison steak au poivre, which was served with a haggis and potato pithivier and buttered green beans.
The portions were unbelievably generous, and I couldn’t manage the entire thing, but the venison was perfectly cooked – just the right amount of pink.
Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly manage any more, the chef popped out to convince us otherwise – and a chocolate creme brulee with raspberry sorbet, and a passionfruit pannacotta magically appeared before us.
Both items were part of the Valentine’s menu, although I think they need to seriously consider adding the latter to the a la carte menu – pannacotta is my favourite dessert, and passionfruit is one of my favourite fruits, so I was a massive fan of this (and I’m not a dessert person usually).
The service was wonderful – the staff were all very friendly and attentive in the dining room, and we had a really lovely meal.
On our way out we left through the pub – which, compared to the dining room upstairs, was much more familiar. Match of the day, pints, old men – the works, but in a really charming and rustic setting.
I had a really wonderful meal at The Ship Tavern. While it’s a higher price point than the usual pub fare, I think you do get what you pay for regarding the atmosphere and the quality of the food. It’s not necessarily a place I’d recommend to go with little kids, but for visitors to London and history buffs I would definitely recommend it.
Have you ever been to The Ship Tavern? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!
I was invited to The Ship Tavern for a fair and honest review – I wouldn’t blog about it if I didn’t like it!