July 07, 2014

Food Review: The Happenstance

I decided to momentarily ignore the fact that central London was confirmed today to be the worst for toxic pollutant nitrogen dioxide in the world, apparently. I thought I should go out into the sun and take my doomed lungs for a walk. (PS. sort it out London. Don’t black my heart with your gross petrol fumes.)

Anyway, I digress, tonight I went to St Paul’s to review The Happenstance, a bar slash restaurant in the middle of central London, right next to the lovely setting of St Paul’s Cathedral. (In this weather, it was such a joy to see all those old buildings up against the blue sky, London is beaut in the sun). I hadn’t heard of it before I received the invite, but after checking the website I learned it is the same team behind the Drift, The Folly, The Anthologist, the Parlour and the Refinery. All of which are lovely, upmarket, good strong cocktail venues. Already off to a good start.

On first impression: It’s really light and airy inside, with really nice modern furnishings. Think light wood, big candles on tables, statement chandeliers, decorative champagne bottles and large open windows with the sun shining in. There are big long dining tables, perfect for a large group of people, as well as little tables-for-two looking out onto the courtyard. 

The food was really really good; I wasn’t expecting anything in particular, but was pleasantly surprised by the variety on the menu. It was really fresh, really tasty, the right balance between healthy and that extra “something” that gave everything a deeper, more interesting flavour, even on the simpler dishes. 

My favourite cocktail was called “White Wine and Grapes” which was essentially a really good mix of Snow Queen vodka, elderflower and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Really summery. We also tried out another cocktail with Tequila, fresh blueberries, plum bitters, tonic, sage and citrus. This one was more of an acquired taste, bit too strong and bitter for us. I prefer the elderflower route for a cocktail based bev. The white wine was lush, went for a Chablis with notes of peach and nectarine. Love anything light and fruity basically….

However If I’d known there would be so much of it I would have worn slightly looser fitting trousers. The starter was quite big: we shared the peking duck flatbread, with crispy duck, hoisin sauce, cucumber ribbons & spring onions. Then I had the grilled swordfish (which always reminds me of holidaying in Portugal with the fam) and butternut squash with pine nuts for a side. Paul had the roasted salmon fillet, with asparagus, poached egg and hollandaise sauce, with a side of mac & cheese. The dessert was pretty spesh too, we went for the three part dessert, raspberry sorbet, choc brownie and ice cream and then a biscuit meringue.  Delish.

I definitely recommend going here a) if you’re hungry b) don’t want any messing around c) up for a big, yummy, comforting treat.

Food: 8.5/10
Wine: 9/10
Cocktails: 7.5/10
Location: 8.5/10

Loo selfie mirrors: 10/10

No.1a Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7AA


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