Even by Bankside Gym’s pretty low standards, the stuff they were playing over the stereo today was utter garbage. I can handle hearing So Solid Crew, Kylie and even Body Rockers’ ‘I Like The Way You Move’ on EVERY SINGLE VISIT but today’s picks were a step too far. Mostly, I think, because they were ripping apart some classic tunes.
Messing with sacred things is a risky business; if you’re going to do it, you gotta do it well. The Mall Tavern screwed with a stone cold classic on my last visit: the meat pie. Using the Dandy-esque moniker “cow pie’ they’ve not only replaced the pastry walls with ceramic and stuck it in a pot (a common but nonetheless cardinal sin) they’ve also speared the roof with a huge, bracelet-sized bone full of marrow and herb mix. A dangerous game, but one they just about come out victorious from. While I’m not a fan of scraping pastry off a hard surface (I prefer it when it is a hard surface) their buttery flakes were worth the effort, and the cow chunks inside were hefty and quality while the bone marrow was totally addictive up until the point I’d eaten about 200 grams of it.
The place specialises in posh pub grub, reinventions of old school dishes that have been de rigeur for years, and they’re pretty proud of them. Rightly so – the chicken kiev on hash brown was a field of crunch as moreish as it was unhealthy and their arctic roll gave us Proustian shivers. Chocolate pudding with some kind of homemade Mars Bar ice cream was the star though, and lasted all of twenty seconds between us.
The Mall Tavern was textbook gastropub, full of those retro posters that remind us how times have changed but ailments haven’t (Victorian cures for baldness and their hilarious ilk) and the vintage radio playing in the gents was a nice touch – even if it was playing 6Music. As we slide gracefully into autumnal gorging this place might become a regular fixture.
Price per head: Skirting twenty quid
Soundtrack: Unobtrusive noises
Clientele: A large contingent of music industry types fortifying themselves against their impending descent into hell (also known as the Notting Hill Arts Club)