Wednesday 11 November 2015

The Admiralty, Trafalgar Square

The Admiralty Trafalgar Square Fuller's Ale Pie House
Over the years my family have kept a close eye on the comings and goings of 66 Trafalgar Square. The reason for this is this building used to the bank where my mother worked. I remember visiting it as a child and entering through the revolving doors and fearing I would get trapped in them. Gone are the revolving doors but the heavy, crested doors still remain and they they are now the entrance to The Admiralty.

Since the bank closed the site has become something of a white elephant with several restaurants opening and closing quite quickly. In theory with its location overlooking Trafalgar Square it should be an easy spot to fill but until now no one has worked out a winning formula. Fuller's may have now cracked it with one of their Ale and Pie Houses. It's gone back to basics with its selection of traditional British pub grub mixed in with a few modern classics.

On the ground floor is the pub part which is for both drinking and eating. You've also got a choice of going upstairs to the mezzanine floor or downstairs. I remember the mezzanine floor as it had a glass front on it. My mother says the design of the glass etching was the winning entry of a competition for students at the nearby Saint Martin's School of Art. I wonder what happened to it. If you go downstairs you can sit in what was the original bank vaults still complete with the arched, tiled ceiling.

With the name of The Admiralty you immediately get a clue as to the current theme of the pub. With Lord Nelson looking down on the building from his column and Admiralty Arch just around the corner it is quite fitting that the three levels are styled in the theme of Nelson's ship the HMS Victory. I've eaten both upstairs and downstairs but I would advise that if you want to eat on the mezzanine floor or Quarter Deck then do book first.

So enough about the building and onto the food. As this is a Fuller's Ale and Pie House the pies are the main feature on the menu. I went for the vegetarian option of Sweet Potato, Spinach and Goat's Cheese Pie in a tarragon cream sauce. (£11.25). The pies are served whole encased in shortcrust pastry with a choice of mash or chips, buttered greens and jug of gravy. The sweet potato is a good, bulky filler while the goat cheese gives just the right amount of tang without overpowering the dish.

If you're not sure as to what pie to choose then you can go for the Ale and Pie Tasting Board (£16.00). This option was picked by Mr and Brother JibberJabber. You get three individual pies – the Steak & ESB, Chicken, Ham Hock and Honey Dew and also the Sweet Potato, Spinach and Goat's Cheese pie. To go with each of these pies you get a third of a pint of the matching beer. For the veggie pie it is London Pride. This has turned into a bit of a favourite for my two menfolk. Not only do you get the variety of the pie flavours but considering the cost of a pint of beer in central London it also represents very good value.

No self-respecting pub menu would be without a burger these days. Miss JibberJabber went for the Chalcroft Farm Beef Burger with Bacon and Smoked Cheddar (£11.95). Instead of the now ubiquitous brioche bun it is served in a cholla bun. It's a mighty big burger especially since it is served with a bucket of chips. It's no wonder Miss JibberJabber couldn't finish the chips. Master JibberJabber had the Chicken and Ham Pie from the children's menu. I did try to get a photograph of it but half of it had already been devoured by my son before I could get round to it!

If you do find yourself in this most central of London locations and in need food then do seek out The Admiralty and soak in the atmosphere. Pubs don't get much more British than this and for once it has food to be proud of rather than embarrassed about it.

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