Lucie Loves... Food // Step back in time with dinner at the Ship Tavern, Holborn
After a lovely stroll around Camden on Thursday afternoon, my friend and I went for dinner at The Ship Tavern in Holborn. I’d been invited along to review their menu and really had no idea what to expect.
Sometimes, when visiting a new city, you crave a good British pub. One that offers decent ale and decent food. I’m a huge fan of The Good Pub Guide - having purchased their app back in 2013. Note to self: Do yourself a favour and buy The Good Pub Guide 2016. It’s £4.99 well spent.
I had a search of the app and was surprised to see that The Ship Tavern isn’t listed? It should be. I’ve been blogging for a good 7+ years now and integrity means a lot to me. Therefore, I am alway honest in my reviews - especially when it comes to food.
I hate paying good money for shit food.
Although, I will *shamefully* admit to eating a McChicken sandwich at 2:30am on Sunday morning… the first in probably more than 7 years. 🙈
(Shame face below)
I blame the number of bourbon-laced cocktails swishing around in my belly. I spent Saturday night, with some of my closest friends, celebrating Patrick Waggett’s 30th birthday party in a Roaring Twenties, Gatsby-esq fashion. So I’d worked up quite the appetite.
Anyway, back to The Ship Tavern…
Obviously, when you’re invited to review somewhere, the meal is free - one of the many perks of being a blogger or food critic.
However, free meal or no free meal - I would never suggest that my readers visit anywhere that I felt was below bar. Life’s too short to do stuff like eat crap food, read rubbish books or waste your life with people who aren’t worth your time of day. FACT.
And so, before our meal, I barely glanced at The Ship Tavern’s menu or their website, apart from to find out their postcode, so not to get any preconceptions…
We arrived for our 7pm dinner reservation, and made our way up the narrow stairs to a booth in the Oak Dining room. The dining room is dark, cosy and intimate, with romantic ambient lighting. Candelabra’s, little table lamps and oil burners cast a warm glow about the room. Knowing that this place is steeped in over 500 years of history really adds to the atmosphere.
We were guided through some of their best dishes by a very friendly waitress, and ordered a large glass of Malbec for me and a bottle of Old Mout Cider for Kelle.
To start we ordered a couple of dishes to share: pan-fried monkfish tail, roast beetroot purée, salsa verdi & quail egg and the rabbit & tarragon meatball, soba noodles with spring onion, ginger & chilli, red wine jus. Starters are priced from £6 - £11.
Initially, we thought that the rabbit meatballs with noodles might be too heavy and that the monkfish dish was a bit small, but actually the portion sizes were just right. Dishes were well presented and extremely flavoursome. The combination of the meatiness of the monkfish and the earthiness of beetroot was quite unique. I kind of wish the quail egg had had a runny yolk though…
They pride themselves on pies and real ale. Proper British fare. The Beef Wellington served with truffle mash, curly kale and red wine jus, is also one of their menu staples. I knew what I wanted immediately! Main dishes range from £13 to £35 for a butcher’s board of slow-roasted, Old Spot pork bely to share. Mmm!
About a year ago I visited the Madame Gautier cookery school and learnt how to make my own Boeuf en Croute (Beef Wellington). It was a very cool new experience.
Ok, so I know that foie gras isn’t for everyone - it’s quite an acquired taste and kind of controversial in terms of where it comes from - but in a dish like Beef Wellington, it just adds that extra richness of flavour.
Kelle ordered the pan-fried halibut served on a bed of basil mash potato, poached duck egg, with a lovely runny yolk and blood orange hollandaise. It was the perfect summer dish. A light alternative – and a complete coin-flip contrast – to the Beef Wellington I’d ordered.
However, when it came to the pudding… I made the mistake of opting for the teeny-weeny petit fours. Although cute and tasty, they paled in comparison to the doorstop-sized sticky toffee pudding and ice cream that Kelle had chosen. I immediately had dessert-envy. Damn!
Total cost for 2 people: approximately £110 (excluding tip)
Would I recommend it?
Yes! Definitely. The food, service and atmosphere was excellent. It attracts an older crowd - I think we may have been the youngest in there… The other diners looked to be a mix of business men and women. But there’s a lively pub downstairs too, for those wishing to grab a few post-work drinks beforehand. Give a go!
For more info or to make a reservation check out: The Ship Tavern in Holborn
Photography © Lucie Kerley