I was invited along to a recently opened restaurant in St Paul’s called The Spectator. Having opened just the week prior to my visit it appeared to have already become a popular haunt for locals and quite rightly so as you will see. We braved the awful wind and rain that evening to take the fortunately short walk from St Paul’s Station to the restaurant. Greeted warmly at the door, my friend and I were shown to our table and given menus to peruse.
The room was airy with some lovely large windows that let in lots of natural light in the day time. The atmosphere was lively, non pretentious and relaxed. It was spotlessly clean and the decor was modern. Prices were reasonable for the location and also the sizes of the dishes which we longingly admired whilst trying to decide what to select. The menu includes British Classics as well as a range of home cooked dishes (made at the restaurant).
Whose up for cocktails!
A range of cocktails are available and some come with potion of something sweet or savoury!
Strawberry Daiquiri with Strawberries and Cream
What a great combination and perfect if you wanted a little nibble of something whilst on a night out with the girls/boys/friends. The Strawberry Daiquiri had a great citrusy tang followed by the sweetness from the strawberries.
Pineapple and Ginger Long with Cheesecake
If I was allocating awards for interesting and original and of course absolutely amazing cocktails this would win one. The combination of the sweetness of the pineapple is perfectly rounded but the warmth from the ginger which takes a backseat in the flavour but its contribution is still vital in this fantastic cocktail. You really should try this! The mini dessert was delicious too.
Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Brie
I was given an option of cheeses to have with my mushrooms and opted for Brie. These arrived at the table nice and hot and were perfectly cooked. The brie goes well with the mushrooms and where the sprig of rosemary was touching on each you get a little burst of additional flavour from that. I squashed the rosemary leaves a little in the juices to release more of its gorgeous flavour and made sure each bite was well coated.
Pint of Prawns
I have in the past ordered this from seafood restaurants and been given a metal bucket style container full of shell on prawns that took forever to peel. This was full of peeled, plump and juicy prawns with a lovely Marie Rose sauce. The lettuce was very fresh and perfectly crisp. This was quite a refreshing dish and reminded me that I hadn’t made it a home in a while. It shall be featuring as a starter for a meal at the Edjourian dinner table sometime soon.
Beef Stew and Dumplings
The beef stew and dumplings, a dish that we were told took 4 hours to reach perfection smelt amazing when it arrived. The dumplings are marinated in the beef stock to add as much flavour as possible. The stock was very tasty and the dumplings added saltiness and a lovely texture to the dish. There was a generous amount of meat in the stew and the bread came in handy to help soak up all the delicious stock. The portion was large and my friend did really try to finish it but frankly didn’t stand a chance.
I had initially decided from the night before that I was going to try the Pan Fried Sea Bass with citrus dressed Broccoli on a bed of Dauphinoise Potatoes and had been looking forward to it all day but when I saw the burger I was torn as to which to choose. I decided on the burger as I had a craving for something meaty.
Great British Burger
The portion was good, within the light and fluffy bun was a nice thick succulent burger that was perfectly pink. I asked to have bacon and mature cheddar as toppings; the flavours contributed well to the overall taste and really helped to satisfy my craving. The gorgeous fresh ingredients combined with a bit of cooking know how make a truly delicious and of course juicy burger. The leaves were still cool and crisp, the bacon added a lovely salty aspect to it and the mature cheddar perfectly rounded the flavour. The chips that accompanied the dish were large and hand cut. I have to admit I was defeated by the burger and had to leave some of the chips and bun behind in the hope that I could squeeze in a dessert. This burger was very popular with the other restaurant goers and I noticed quite a few people had ordered the same.
Room for Dessert?
Barely, but we had to give it a try for research purposes of course.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
I had a half size of the normal portion as I didn’t want to waste cake, as far as I’m concerned it’s a sin to do so!!! This was a yummy rich chocolate fudge that is not sickly sweet alternated with a moist and not excessively dense, springy chocolate sponge. Over this I poured the accompanying warm custard. I was extremely pleased that I had ordered dessert at this point as it was lovely.
This had literally just been made and was brought straight out to us, see I told you, everything is made fresh! This too was served with the yummy warm custard. The tart had just the right amount of pastry and topping and was still warm when it arrived. This is exactly the sort of Bakewell Tart the likes of Mary Berry would be pleased to sample and I was not at all surprised to hear that the chef had worked at the Savoy as sous chef. With spot on dishes such as those we had tried on this visit one would assume a high level of expertise from the chef as I could not find any fault with any of the dishes served.
Wherever possible these guys source locally produced items. There is a lunch menu available with some great sharer dishes that could be washed down easily with some cocktails, beers or one of the numerous wines available. The Spectator offers good, honest food that contains locally sourced/produced ingredients wherever possible. Our waitress, Emily was very helpful and friendly and informative. We discovered there was also a downstairs function room that will be available for a range of events. That evening part of the downstairs bar area had karaoke and seemed very popular with the locals.
I would strongly advise anyone that works in London or is visiting to pop along and give this place a try. Their food and drinks were delicious and their prices very reasonable.